24 November, 2020

Let's Just Say, Extreme Ambivalence

Outlook visits Aamby Valley, and comes back 'home' to the mess of Mumbai

Let's Just Say, Extreme Ambivalence
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
The people at Aamby Valley talk funny. "Sahara pranaam!" says the pretty lady at the reception. I can’t think of an appropriate response, so I back up, almost stepping upon the bellboy waiting discreetly behind me. "Good Sahara, madam!" he says, singing it almost, like a mantra. The two of them have got me spooked enough to want to run back to the valet, retrieve my car keys, and drive the hell out of here.

But I hold my ground, allowing the bellboy to steer me to a golf buggy waiting outside. The driver smiles at me with the same cheerful lunacy. "I shall be taking you to your chalet, madam," he says. I marvel at the unselfconscious ease with which he says it, considering we are not in Switzerland but in the middle of Maharashtra.

Just about an hour ago, my geographical coordinates were quite clear to me. I was inching my way through central Lonavla on a typical monsoon weekend: the pot-holed roads, the klaxons sounding, the reckless Sumos blaring loud music; the taporis from Mumbai doing a rain dance at Bhushi Dam. It all felt...

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