Monday, January 30, 2012

Mumbai Memories

It had been a long time since I wrote something, the main reason being the scarcity of ideas, so I decided to go on a trip to Mumbai. It was an unplanned trip, my sister arranged accommodation for me with her friends and I booked ticket in tatkal and everything was well. 
Journey from Bangalore to Mumbai takes almost 24 hours by train. My train left Bangalore around 8 pm. I had the company of a couple with their cute 3 year old son Ankush and a chatterbox and his girlfriend, whenever he took a pause he was hugging and kissing his girl friend. Ankush and the chatterbox kept me occupied throughout the night and soon I was off to sleep. As a traveler I had come in terms to myself to get up early in the morning as any place looked beautiful in the morning sun. I woke up at 6 30 am, even as everyone near my berth was asleep, I moved to the next compartment. I asked the young women over there to give me the side seat, so that I can enjoy the morning sun. But as hindi was the medium of communication she didn’t understand a word so I had to enact it for her.( an advantage of travelling alone is that all the stupid things that u do won’t come out as blogs). The morning view was great, the mighty sun at the end of the vast corn field was a splendid view indeed. Later I moved to my berth and got entertained by Ankush. Soon they got down and the chatter box had resumed his duty. The sight from pune to Mumbai was gorgeous. We were travelling through mountain ridges and tunnels, finally at 8 in the night I reached Mumbai CST, took a ticket to “Govendi” place where TISS is located (Tata Institute of Social Service) were my sister was doing her PHD. My sister and her roommate had prepared dinner for me. Her friend joined us for dinner whose room I would be sharing during my stay in Mumbai..

Pune- Bombay Route
Back in room, I was getting acquainted with my sisters friend “Goldy”. He turned out to be my senior in REC. Actually an REC dropout. HE walked out when he was in second year protesting against the educational reforms taken by incumbent communist party. Now he is working for the emancipation of dalits in Jharkhand. It took some time for me to understand his level. Then later he explained the electoral reform campaign he is taking part now and finally something made sense to me. During the conversation his roommate entered. Anand gave me a good idea about the itinerary to be followed next day and was kind enough to lend me his small collection of maps of Mumbai city. 

Side View of Victoria terminus

Flora fountain
For a person who usually woke up at 10, 6 30 can be considered as midnight. So I woke up at midnight and freshened up to begin my journey. My first stop was CST/ Victoria Terminus. I admired the beauty of that marvelous British architecture. Similar kind of buildings were lined on both sides of the road which lead to Gateway of India. Every single step in this walk was worth the effort. On the way I crossed flora fountain, then to the gateway of India. I took many snaps of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal hotel. That was a very happening place. From there I went to Prince of Wales museum. Mumbai authorities had this weird behavior in which they change the name of almost all the historic monuments to some sivaji related name. Soon after taking the ticket I realized that I did not belong there, but as I had taken a ticket I went inside. The view there brought pleasure to both eyes and heart. There were some 50 plus children who I assume were from some daycare with their ayahs. Ayahs wouldn’t be apt enough description as they looked like they were models of Pepe Jeans. I followed them during my entire journey inside museum. Meanwhile I took a photo with a crown on my head for which I had to pay 10 Rs. Next destination was marine drive. Marine drive was a virgin beauty. Spent a little time there and took a different route to Gateway of India and took a ticket to elephanta caves. Soon a bachelor and a boat full of couples set sail to elephanta caves. Elephanta cave is a trekking spot for girls as there was nothing worth watching other than a little walk which girls might consider adventurous. The elephant caves boasted sculptural beauty made during mauryan empire. For me appreciation of art was limited to ogling and as I was already late for my duty at marine drive I returned to the boat. On my return journey I had a series of unsuccessful attempts at taking photographs of a Sea gull. When I reached back at gateway of india I had this urge to go inside the taj mahal hotel. But my bank balance held me back.

Gateway Of India

Taj Mahal Hotel

Marine Drive

Sculptures in Elephanta caves
I was a little late for my duty in marine drive. All those stupid reformers who work against women discrimination, I say they have never been to marine drive. Tears will flow through their eyes if they had seen the princely treatment every girl received from guys. I took off my sunglass as my eyes thrived for freedom. After the long walk through the marine drive I went to Wankhede stadium. I gave a salute and put my hands on my heart and remembered all those warriors especially sachin and dhoni. I was done for the day and went back to TISS.

Inside Tajmahal Hotel
 Next day I woke up little earlier than midnight (6 15 am) and resumed my journey. As my salary was credited last night, I convinced my friend (challi/ Vivek) to have breakfast at the famous TAJ MAHAL hotel. We were stopped at the entrance by the security and when I told their manager that I was there for my breakfast in a hotel inside tajmahal hotel he let us in. There we were in Hotel Shamiana inside the famous taj mahal hotel. A beautiful lady butler received us, and had a casual talk. My friend and I freshened up in tajmahal hotel and soon we were ready for our buffet breakfast. After the enormous breakfast we left for some epic photo sessions in front of gateway of india. From there we left to haji ali dargah and from there through the newly built Bandra worli sea link to bandra. We visited few churches there and went to have a look at “Mannet” King khan’s abode. We took train from bandra to churchgate to the famous Leopold cafĂ© in colaba. It was the famous pub in colaba causeway built in 1871 where we filled ourselves with “erbe”. It was near to sunset so we left to marine drive to view the sunset. We watched the sun hiding under the waters of Arabian sea. Thus my impromptu journey was coming to an end. As we were waiting for the taxi, my mind itched to visit one mischievous place “Kamatipura”, the red street of Bombay.
Sunset from Marine Drive

I wanted to visit this place, but when the moment came when the taxi driver asked us where to go I didn’t had the guts to say it. My friend rose to the occasion and asked the driver to roam around kamatipura and leave us in CST. As we approached kamatipura, I rolled up the window, It was a busy street and was around 7:00 pm. The whole lane was about 100m in length and was very crowded. There was as many as 50 women in the bright dress with maximum make up in their face. To be frank many of the ladies were beautiful. Our driver drove slowly while he explained us the money range for these ladies. The cheaper one were for 500 and the luxurious reached 2500. I wondered what he meant by luxury. Finally we drove past the final girl, I was being paranoid about this place. There was no problem in walking through that street and having a good look at all those ladies and get canvassed by many.   

The second day was different from the first and I enjoyed both the days in its own way. Chali’s company was a bonus for me and thanked him and hugged him as we parted our ways from CST. I catched the suburban train, the experience about which deserves a complete blog. I saw only the rich areas and met many people every one was friendly and helpful. Mumbai gave me very good memories which I will cherish for my life. . I was feeling sad as my train left CST, all good things need to come to an end, so did my trip and so does my blog.

PS: If u r into the art appreciation Monday won’t be the right day as it’s a holiday for most of the historic place in Mumbai.