Friday, November 23, 2007

Mumbai: Life in a Metro

"The future is called 'perhaps', which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you."
~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending, 1957

My trip to Mumbai has been a little life-changing, to put it lightly. Apart from the regular touristy stuff I pulled off when over there, I managed to fit in an interview and landed a job offer. After a couple of days of deep mental unrest and heavy brainstorming, I have decided to move bag, baggage, life and books from Bangalore to Mumbai.Meaning, I am leaving comfortable, tiny, traffic-jammed Bangalore and shifting base to new, intimidating, noisy, fast, big-ass Mumbai.

And now, about the trip itself. Which started the previous Thursday evening, after a harrowing, adventure-filled delay on Bangalore roads [read as horrendous, hair-tearing, inexplicable traffic jam] causing me to miss my flight and force me to purchase a brand new tickety-boo at the airport. Gaaak. The trip hadn't even begun and I was already down a cool 4k.
Anyway. Landed late-nightish at the airport where hostess of the year Shobhanaaaahahaaahaaa was awaiting my arrival. (She had her i-Pod for company so Indian Airlines/Mumbai Airport Authorities were spared her wrath at the landing delay.) During my stay in Mumbai, Shobs acted as a very professional local Raju-guide. She also graciously invited me to move in with her and her roomies [who are both also lovely ladies, and originally from JNC, Bangalore] once I leave Bangalore. This is, not to put too fine a a point upon it, a huge relief. Shobs was full to overflowing with useful advice, funny hair/clothes/Bombay-bimbette stories, amusing work-related anecdotes and personal tales of great intrigue and human-interest. I had much, much fun.
Other than that, spent lovely day catching up with Bones at her digs and loafing around her part of town. We went for Om Shanti Om and laughed our eyeballs out. Loved her apartment. Bones ordered in momos and we had a delicious midnight dinner over gossip and reminiscings. Brad Pitt was discussed in great detail. It has also been decided that in case of any unforeseen emergency or me going financially bust, Bones will have to step up to the plate and mother me till I'm all better.

Shro joined me after her Goa trip on Sunday evening as per precision pre-planning at Mocha, Bangalore. I collected her and we headed towards her mad, mad, mad,mad cousin Mithai's home. Had a great, fun evening, heavenly homemade dinner [salaad, chingdi-maach, masoor dal, mung-sho and bhaat], chatted long into the night and fell asleep happily at the end of it all.
The next day we had planned to hit downtown Mumbai. Dropped off some stuff at Shro's friend's place in the 'burbs, met her gorgeous, cute as hell boxers, and messed around with them for a while. That's the lady D with Shro on the left, and on the right we see her brother K looming in the foreground while she hogs the chewy-ball.

Shobs, Titla and I decided to rendezvous in Bandra, take the local and hit 'town'. This was the first time Titla travelled by local train and she looked like a kid in a candy store. It has to be admitted that there was much to amuse us on our journey, such as this fantastic advert for PRTTY BEAUTY PARLOUR on the wall of our carriage. The most promising service they seem to provide is probably the 'Full Body Blech'. I have take down their number and will be their most ardent patron once I move. Must also try their 'menicur' and 'pedicur'. Sounds like they are dog-lovers. Good.

Anyway, we reached Colaba, had a stopover at Café Mondegar [or 'Mondy's', as they say in Mumbai] and I am totally smitten by the place. Very Bangalore feel from the music, ambience and food. I shall be gong here a lot, inshaAllah.The rest of the evening was spent on heavy shopping along Colaba Causeway for knicks and knacks. When we were almost ready to drop, we decided to 'drop' in at the darling Theo Broma, a Parsi patisserie on the same street, and got some life back into our tired legs. We decided to wind up for the day and cabbed it back to the 'burbs.
Interesting aside: On Colaba Causeway, every evening around sunset, a kind man comes along with a bag full of meats and he distributes this among the waiting street cats AND dogs. Who, by the way, are totally unfazed by each other, never fight and live quietly side-by-side on the roads. It was beautiful to see. Neither species batted an eyelid nor made a sudden, homicidal lunge towards the other. The cats were especially blasé about the whole coexistence thing.
We spent some time post-sunset on breezy Marine Drive watching the hep middle-aged aunties in their micro-shorts and toned legs walking their dogs. Middle-aged hep uncles were power-walking with earphones and a look of earnest intent. Whatte fun.

I'll summarise the next few days now. It's getting bleddy boring.

So, after we were done with town, Shro and I covered the Bandra shopping hotspots [Linking Road, Hill Road, Pali Naaka]. We ate at some nice places like Pop Tate's, Just Around the Corner, 5 Spice and shamelessly crashed a very fancy beach-front lounge bar/restaurant called Aurus for a friend of a friend's Happy Birthday party. I spotted many celebrities, wannabe-celebrities, wannabe-seens and has-beens in only 5 days on the streets. Obviously there's more excitement on the way.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave. And I am back in comfortable, pleasantly cold, tiny, homely Bangalore to pack up my underwear bag and other essentials.

As to what the future holds, who knows. Let's play it by the ear. I trust the Upstairs to look out for me.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

-Corrie Ten Boom


Anonymous said...

Good luck. -AR

ashes said...

Nice narration. All the best!

Don't forget to collect your Umrao Jaan before you leave.

kinkminos said...

o to be young and spirited and free to chase your dreams (or at least your paycheck :)

i envy your willingness and ability to up(root) and leave on a whim and a prayer. us Middle-aged, Power-balking, Hepcat Uncle-auntie Types may actually be able to afford this priceless luxury, but are usually too risk-averse to do so.

having said that, the coming months might just see me doing something radical (most would say silly) like this. inspired (in some small measure at least) by examples such as yours.

good luck, and may you Live Long And Prosper.

backpakker said...

have fun ..mumbai is any day a better place than Bangalore

longblackveil said...

@ Anon, Kink, Backpakker: Thank you for the wishes. Bangalore will always be #1 for me.
@Kink: You're planning a sudden move to Mumbai as well;)? What a kinkidence!
@Ashes: Yes, Ashutosh, Umrao Jaan is on my to-do list. I'll touch base with you today or tomorrow and meet you for the CD somewhere.

Stayingcolors said...

Salam sabby cat! :D
I won't worry too much as long as the blog lives and your numbers stays the same. how ver-very sad that we never had a CIS get-together'chance' meeting. cheh!

Men-Meny duas love:) and may the spirit live forever and inspire many.

longblackveil said...

Dearest StayingColors, ver-very sads indeed. InshaAllah we'll meet yet.
Thank you for the good wishes.

kinkminos said...

@L/B/V: from dumbai to mumbai is a shorter step than you might think, geographically, spiritually, or rhythmically speaking

longblackveil said...

@Kink: This is true. As short as 2 hrs and 30 minutes.

Babur said..., really bad photography skills or a really bad camera.

All the beysht!!

do write chitthis from there. itnay door ja rahay ho, khayal rakhna. khoob pardna aur likhna. kaallege mein furst aana. with medal and all.

kinkminos said...

a litle shorter if you click your heels three times and say "there's no place like bandra"

Apoorv Gawde said...

Longest Blackest Veilest !

Bombay has its own charm, and is abuzz with energy.

Have a wonderful time ! Happy Hunting!

longblackveil said...

Bob: Of course I'll do all that.
And shadduyp about my excellent fotography. I happen to like dark, blurry pics. It's the film noir genre.

Thankee, dear Gawde.

Abodh said...

Hi .. nice post and welcome to Bombay .. am glad that you saw the South Indian gentleman who feeds strays outside Electric House. He used to live at the Cooperage. He is amazing.

You also missed 'Brownie', the Mondys stray who darts off as soon as he sees me. Has a skin problem which we are treating. He used to sit behind their counter.

The WSD office is now at Kala Ghoda. Tried accessing the WSD site now and got thru so may be there was a server problem when you tried to access it.. You can call on 64222838 or e-mail us on and leave your no so that we can call. Would love to have you volunteer and continue with what you did in B'lore.