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Around the World in 80 Days Revisited

Mumbai 14 October 2008

The Rajput toute de suite 
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My all-too-brief stay in the Rajput Suite at the Taj Hotel, Mumbai.
Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days RevisitedFrom the BBC files, we know the name of the ship brokers who chartered Al Shama, Dewkaran Moorjee and Sons. At first we draw a blank. The phone numbers have all had extra digits added to cope with Mumbai's growing population, which has increased from around 10 to around 18 million since we were last here. The new number puts us through to a company called Damodar Dharamshi and Co, which inherited Dewkaran Moorjee's business. It's run by a man called Digant Joshi, who sounds busy but agrees to look in his files for us.

I spend next day reacquainting myself with Mumbai in the company of a knowledgeable lady called Jyoti Namaste. We meet up at Churchgate Station. With only four platforms, two in and two out, this unprepossessing terminus performs minor miracles, managing to process six or seven million passengers every day. At rush-hour the trains come in and out every one minute, thirty-eight seconds. Two of them are reserved for ladies only. Jyoti says it only works because punctuality is near-perfect and the rolling stock, ancient and battle-scarred, completely dependable. Mind you, they don't have any doors on the coaches, which must help speed things up.
The Mahalaxmi dhobi ghats 
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With Jyoti, watching my well-whacked trousers getting a rinse at the Mahalaxmi dhobi ghats, Mumbai.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days Revisited
  • Chapter: Mumbai 14 October 2008
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Mumbai
  • Book page no: 236

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