Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Trip To Mumbai (Bombay) - Part One

In case the news has not traveled - - Amy's trip to the U.S. was more than just a little successful.  After her trip to Orlando for some training with Deloitte - - she made her way to the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland.  This was an extremely important horse show for her...she was leading in the National points standings for the World Champion Hunter Rider overall title since just before we left for Hyderabad - - and her lead held-up even after four months of living in India - and not riding a decent hunter the entire time!!  The biggest problem in her mind was that she was completely out of practice.  She got to Maryland and did her best to get tuned-up in a hurry for the show.  If she was going to win this year (she was the defending champion and nobody expected her to show up all the way from Hyderabad!) it was going to take a lot of skill, a good horse to borrow, a little luck, and the stars were going to have to be aligned just right!

Well....she did it....she rode just as well as she could and kept her lead throughout the show - - and was once again the World Hunter Rider series champion!!  Here is the  link to the news... In a nutshell - here is what it says:

"Amy Brubaker, who now resides in India, returned to the Capital Challenge to collect the WCHR Adult Amateur National title."  and.... "Adult Amateur 36-50 division reserve champion in the division was El Raymond, ridden by Amy Brubaker for Jamie Donovan."

It was time to come home.  As she usually does, ASB "hit the ground running" just as soon as she returned to Hyderabad...I literally had to talk her out of going straight to the office when we picked her up at the airport at around midnight on the morning of the 12th!!  During the next week-or-so, (as the jet-lag slowly subsided) - she asked me if I wanted to go to Delhi along with her on a Deloitte recruiting trip.  While that trip fell-through - - we did schedule a three-day-two-night trip to Bombay for the same purpose.

The story of that trip follows:

We were due to fly out on Monday afternoon at around 3:00 P.M. Keeping me happy by actually arriving an hour early for the flight...Suzanne and I did some poking around the Hyderabad International Airport and the shops inside. We were flying on "JetLite" airlines - - and - as it turns out...there is only one class of seats on this type of flight: "Economy". Think "Southwest Airlines" on a 737 - - with even LESS leg-room!!!

We got on the plane...and Amy drew the short straw.  Not only tight-quarters - - but the dreaded "middle seat" was hers as well!  Before we even got started complaining about the lack of leg-room....the people in front of us crank their seats back and begin crushing our knees.  Before I could get adjusted to the pain and the cramped seating loving wife said, fairly loudly (she was in no mood, I can tell you!): "Would you please not put your seats're smashing my husband's knees!! don't need to have been living in India for very long to notice (and, believe me, this will come as NO surprise to my Indian readers...) that there is no concept of "personal space" in this culture.  Other corollaries to this law of the land to are to be found in Indian auto traffic ("If you hesitate, you will never move!") personal favorite: the concept of "standing politely in line" is virtually unknown here ("If you don't watch your spot or hold your place with aggression - you will lose!!")

Amy was ignored just long enough for her to grab the back of the lady's seat ahead forcibly push her forward!!  I did not know that this was even possible.  The lady looked back and Amy said to her: "Your seat is not supposed to be reclined at takeoff anyway (we were taxiing toward runway along the tarmac by this time...) Hey. it's not my to the airline!"

There was a tentative truce until we got off the ground.  The lady put her seat back again...but adjusted it forward about an inch.  Her male travelling companion turned around and asked if this was O.K. - and Amy didn't really answer him...she just glowered at him...

We had picked up a copy of The Times of India (one of the actually decent newspapers here) at the bookstore...Amy began to read it...but not without some malice aforethought.  With the lady's head tipped back toward her extended newspaper...Amy made sure that - every time she needed to fold the paper back or turn pages...she would thwack the woman on her head 3-4 times!!  It was a thing of beauty!!

The flight was without incident - except for when the flight attendants announced it was time to "return our seat backs and tray tables to their upright and locked position" once again...Suzanne gave the lady's seat back a good, solid and purposeful shove with her knees.  She folded her newspaper (with a quick thwack-thwack, just for emphasis!!) and we landed in Mumbai.

As we were leaving the plane...the Indian "no personal space allowance" became even more (violently?) evident...the man in the window seat literally began to climb over Suzanne's legs to get to the aisle where I was standing...  The plane unloads from both the front and the - I announced that we'd be heading out the back-way and that I would see her on the tarmac.  It's the kind of airport without board a bus that takes you to the terminal - - the personal space on the bus is's indeed very "personal"...but with absolutely no "space"!!

As the people in front of me began to slowly make their way toward the door...I had to pause to let a very small girl, wrestling with her over sized backpack, get into the aisle in front of me.  All of a sudden, I get two hard shoves in the back from this squat little Indian fellow who was evidently in too big of a hurry to make his connecting-flight to offer any common human courtesy.  The little girl struggled in front of my knees, drag her backpack, and was beginning to head for the door.  And I get another hard shove in the middle of my back.

My reaction was instantaneous - and - perhaps a little bit louder than I wanted it to be.  Suzanne said she even heard me, back in our seats about ten rows up from where I was.

I turned around and bent slightly at the waist so I was eye-to-eye with the man.


He just looked down and mumbled, "I am sorry sir!"

Amy was still a while getting off the plane...and - by the time she got onto the tarmac, the first bus had left.  This was O.K. with us - - because the final bus was much less crowded...and the people traveling in the seats in front of us...and the sawed-off little man who was shoving me...made a mad dash to the crush of people who were sardined-onto the first bus!

Amy decided that a cappuccino would help the - we walked over to a small coffee-stand in the terminal.  There was one man in front of me in line.  As he left...another man came along my left side and began to order and pushed his money toward the coffee cashier.  I calmly (but forcefully) cut the guy off by putting my left elbow and forearm across his ribcage and gave him a bit of a hip-check.  When in India....act like an Indian, I guess!!


  1. part one: that was a very interesting read. I hope you also write a part two. I will wait for new one.
    Best Regards
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