Back after a brief holiday – took some time off to visit Mumbai with my hubby.
Mumbai – as the cliché goes – is the city of dreams! The hip, hop and happening city, the city that never sleeps. Dunno about the others – but the last adage definitely rings true – no matter what time of the day or night it is, the city is awake and bustling. The streets at 1 AM after a late night movie show look like the Bangalore streets at 10 PM! 6 AM on a Sunday morning and there are people going about their business as if nothing can be more natural!
This was my second visit to the city, the first time being a couple of years back when the rather infamous Tsunami decided to strike the Indian coastlines. My parents, being my parents, then decided that we were not to be anywhere close to certain several kilometres circumventing the sea. While me and my friends, with whom I’d gone on my first ever trip alone, logically tried convincing them that the Tsunami had struck on the East coast while Bombay was on the Western coast, it was to be of no avail. As a result, we had to drop quite a few plans which involved sea-travel, but nevertheless that trip was fun.
That apart, my first visit to Bombay will stand out in my memory for other reasons which are best forgotten, but woefully will continue to haunt me for years. You see, the moment I landed there and got into a local, I lost my baggage – the only one which contained all my clothes for the trip, apart from some good money too. Even now I have uninvited stabs of fury and frustration when I think about those favourite dresses of mine, which someone else might be wearing with glee or worse still sold for money! Sigh! One should let bygones be bygones, but I tell you, it’s never easy!!
Getting back to the present, the second visit was not so notoriously incident-prone as the first, thankfully! I more or less donned the role of a typical good housewife, staying at home while the man of the house worked, cooking, cleaning and waiting patiently for him to return in the evenings 😀 Though nothing as dramatic as what I just described, it was a relaxing time I got to spend by myself, doing nothing much of significance, sleeping and reading a bit as well. The evenings and weekends were earmarked for Mumbai darshan – exploring the various nooks and corners of the city, thanks to a colleague’s bike that my hubby had borrowed.
As we went around the city one aspect that hit me was the distances one had to travel to reach any place of significance! It was long and coupled with the traffic and pollution, it took hours and was an arduous task. And what was even more intriguing was people there didn’t mind traveling these distances every day to get to work or to even just eat out sometimes. Phew! And here we go complaining about the distances to be traveled in Bangalore!
That apart, with the local train tracks being the heartlines of the city, every locality is divided into an East and a West on either side of the station – so you have an Andheri (E) and a Andheri (W), SantaCruz (E) and a SantaCruz and so on and so forth… quite confusing really, especially with the areas being quite wide-spread too. Also, my husband was telling me that the West is where all the action happens – all the hotspots and the happening places are located in the West and so there’s always a rush of people going back and forth between these divides, which only adds to the rush hour traffic.
Another speciality of Mumbai is the number of malls in the city. While we here in Bangalore already feel that the four malls we have is too much and only worsening the traffic, malls in Mumbai are numerous, there’s one or more for every locality and there are more springing up. We visited a couple of them – one of which was InOrbit in Malad. This is a h-u-g-e mall and very well designed I must say, I really liked it.
Apart from the above mentioned, my stay’s highlight was the sheer number of pani puris that I have eaten in a week – I have had at least one plate on an average each day! But, but, but… sad to say, I have been disappointed, none of them tasted like the gol gappas that’re available in every street corner here. Everytime I would go, expectations high, mouth watering, taste buds yearning, only to find that either the puris were not the crisp and melt-in-the-mouth kind or the pani was tasteless – with that right combination of the sweet, salt, sour and spice missing. Also the filling there is quite different – it is either the ragda made from hot baked peas masala or it is the plain bundi that they use, none of them used the aalu kneaded and mixed with the chatpata masalas that I like so much. Anyway, I guess one’s got to eat it thinking that the difference in taste is the speciality of the place!
Well, all in all, it was a good trip, a week well spent, doing almost nothing and still everything I liked. We even managed to catch up with OSO during the week, about which I have bravely decided to write a review! Ahem! 😀