I'm pretty certain my handbag is causing Pernia Qureshi some anguish. I’m sitting on a high-backed sofa, and out the 12th-storey windows, the sun is winding up for the day. Qureshi has only just walked into her sea-facing Mumbai pad, and immediately grimaced at the sight of an out-of-place vase. Polite, uniformed Tia duly fixes the eyesore. My handbag lies slumped over the edge of a chair, and I feel Qureshi’s razor-sharp senses picking up on the seabed of loose change inside. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.
“I’m always on time,” she tells me after a brisk but sufficiently warm greeting, when I ask how she’s managed to fly in from another city and make an entrance at the exact minute of our scheduled meeting. I can see the social media notifications crowding her screen every time her phone lights up, but Qureshi never gives in — I have her full attention. Anyone walking through the door is cast away with a cursory hello, including her parents, who’re visiting from Delhi. It’s only the inconsistencies that jolt Qureshi out of her organised manner: Malfunctioning light bulbs, stray strands on her couch, nettling delays (“Hi, you’re late as usual,” signals the entry of her manager).
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