I was dazed as the train ground to a halt at the station. It was 4:40 AM. I had slept on and off since we pulled out of Margao, Goa at 2200. Once off the rail platform I was assaulted by cab drivers – even at this ungodly hour. They were all attempting to undercut the pre-paid taxi service. I appreciated their enterprising nature, but I still wasn’t interested in the rates they were offering.
I left the Victoria Terminus compound walking and emerged onto the quiet street. Rats scuttling in the shadows were the only signs of life. A cab driver pulled up and I agreed to a discounted fare.
He dropped me at the Salvation Army guesthouse in the heart of Colaba, kittycorner to the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. As I rapped on the wooden door, the disgruntled night ji informed me that I wasn’t welcome inside the guesthouse doors for another four hours. Hmmmm…
To pass the time, I laid out my multi-purpose yoga mat out on the Marine Dr promenade in front of the Taj and dozed.
Towards 0600 I winced as a bamboo stick thumped my unassuming hamstring. I craned my neck to see two police officers in cream uniforms. I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was. Sleeping on the curb in front of a landmark hotel and site of past terrorist attacks isn’t the brightest idea.