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March 22nd, 2005

13 th March 2005


I am rushing to claim my baggage.

I am confused because I am not sure if I am at the right place to collect my baggage.

The confused Indian in the business class is there.

I ask him, “Is this where luggage for flight 4672 will arrive?”

“Yes,” he replies. “Where did you board your flight from?”

“From Mumbai,” I answer.

“That means we were on the same flight all along and we did not interact!!!” he exclaims surprised.

I smile.

“This is my business card. My Bombay mobile is functional here. Do give a call if you need anything. We must meet in Mumbai,” he says courteously.

Wishes are horses … hobby horses … urban researchers can ride!

(I am condemned to a life of eternal research!!!)


Paul and me take a train from the airport and proceed to the city. Glass and steel buildings line up the ‘edge city’. Then, as the train enters the city, there are traditional buildings. That’s the specialty of Amsterdam I am told.


We are passing China Town which leads the way to my apartment. It seems China Towns exist all over the world. Then may be it is true that one in every five persons is Chinese.


We enter my apartment building.

It is quiet, dark and silent inside.

There is no noise at all.

How do I make out who the other residents in the building are?

For now, the only cue I have is about the residents of the flat next door. There are two pairs of shoes outside. If I ever encounter these shoes in the city streets, I would know that ‘maybe’ this stranger is actually my next-door neighbour. But I see the shoes everyday and simultaneously forget about them when I am out in the streets.




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