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The view from my 33rd floor room at Trident, Nariman Point in Mumbai is as good for the soul as the delicious local food is for the appetite. Welcome to The Moodie Davitt Report’s interim Indian bureau, where my team and I are preparing for The Trinity Forum 2016, which kicks off tonight.
This is the first time we’ve brought the event to India and it was about time too. The aviation sector here, like the country in general, has witnessed profound changes in recent years, as witnessed by any delegate who entered via the elegant arrivals hall at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
This afternoon delegates have been taken on a tour of the airport, not just to view its commercial facilities but also its magnificent art programme.
Arriving passengers discover a series of artworks ﬂanking the moving walkways leading towards the baggage claim area. These works reveal the ﬂuid nature of urbanism, its changing landscapes, dreams, memories, and dynamics.
In India every rite of passage, particularly in travel, is marked. So every threshold and doorway is enriched by ritual, thus consecrating the journey through it. Mumbai International Airport Limited brought this concept to the airport, creating one of the world’s most thrilling gateways.
The Jaya He New Musuem, I learned today, was conceived as an introduction to the airport, the city of Mumbai and to India. It is a place of wonder.
The collection, India’s largest public art initiative, has two main sections. The first is in the arrivals corridor, comprising a dazzling array of commissioned artworks that map the city as a story book, unfolding page by page before your eye. The second is a central wall running like a curved spine, designed to direct passengers through the terminal. No-one coming here is any doubt that they are in India. This is an extraordinarily ambitious execution of the concept of Sense of Place, a role model for the world.
One of Mumbai’s most famous attractions is The Gateway of India, not far from my hotel. Maybe the guide books should be changed to say there are now two must-see gateways.
My day, alas, has been spent prepping for the Forum rather than visiting the airport or this great city. Those joys can wait. First there is work, and lots of it, to do. The Trinity Forum is very close to my heart (it was launched when we were just a year old) and its growth into such a key industry event brings me much satisfaction. Bringing it to India is a double delight.