Two full days and one full night merrily spent in Bombay to experience and revisit old times, places and friends !
Like a true Punekar , I prefer keeping my contact with Bombay purely for business purpose and more for the Sahar Airport connection , keeping it as short as possible. I had been a Mumbaikar for two years from 1996 to 1998. I must say that it was a good time ,enjoying the diverse Bombay culture , mostly for good varied food.Hence, decided to revisit Bombay “Only for a vacation” for two complete days and a full night ! Fortunately, I did find a good reason for this too.. a concert of Vidushi Seema Shirodkar , Pt Vishwanath Kanhere and Pt Jayteerth Mevundi on the evening of Sunday 28th Dec 2014.
1. Deccan Queen breakfast of Omlette , Cutlet , coffee
2. Pancham purivala lunch
3. Stroll in the VT area with a nice “Banarasi paan in mouth” !
4. Enjoying the mesmerizing architecture of South Mumbai area
5. Leopold cafe and Colaba area stroll
6. Regal , Eros Cinema , Oval maidaan .. glimpse at various cricket matches..Cafe Oval !
7. Metro cinema area stroll , Stadium Cafe breakfast in the morning
6. A Walk along the Queen’s necklace
7. A walk across the marine lines flyover to Kalbadevi , “Parsi Area” towards Xavier
8. Furtados and THE Kyani’s confectioners
9. A walk along the Lokmanya Tilak marg towards Mohammad Ali Road
10. A long walk along Mohmamad Ali road , Manish market ,Crawford market, Mandavi , Bhendi Bazar towards JJ Hospital
11. Getting awed at the transformed Lower Parel area .. to see the tall corporate buildings, top class malls sprawling on the compounds of abandoned “mills” and “chawls” .. corporate slaves in tie and suits replacing the “mill workers” ! The Phoenix mall , numerous pubs , bars and watering holes like Blue frog, Irish Pub. Barking Deer Brewery is one good thing there !
12. The Worli seaface road (my former residence from 1996-98) overlooking the Worli Sea Link (toll) road bridge
13. The Mumbai Metro ride from Versova to Ghatkopar !
14. The Vile Parle area to experience some “marathi” culture nestled and packed with the “Bombay marketing” cover
My intention of this visit was to revisit and experience those Bombay local train sounds , those smells , those Parsi areas , Girgaav and Kalbadevi, JJ Hospital area , CST (which I still prefer to call VT ), KEM , Tata memorial , The Worli seaface ( my old residence near Flora chinese), The sea link , the Mumbai (Reliance) Metro, and Vile Parle
The trip started with an early morning ride to the Pune Railway station … Travel by the Deccan Queen. The good old style breakfast of Deccan Queen (for which I was almost fasting since previous evening ) , arriving at VT station. After a nice photo session and stroll in CST area, had a sumptuous lunch at Pancham Puriwala. A quick ride to Colaba for rest and then a visit to Leopold to chat with old friends !
A stroll along Regal , Metro , Oval … towards Churchgate.
I wanted to travel from Churchgate station to Vile Parle for the concert. So , after buying a ticket , I boarded a train quickly where I could get a nice window seat. As the train started getting packed , I did keep in mind that I need to get down after the “Andheri” station. The announcement after Andheri station however was that “the next stop is Borivali” .. alas this local train was not stopping at Vile Parle ! I had to wait for next 15-20 mins for the train to stop at Borivali ! Fortunately , as I de-boarded the train on platform 2 , a next train in opposite direction was waiting on platform 3 , for me to walk in ! To my good luck that this new train was a slow train that did stop at Vile Parle ! This was a good investment for me where I could get full returns of travel by local from Churchgate to Vile Parle via Borivali only in Rs 10 !
The concert venue was a walking distance from the train station and I could easily catch up in time. The concert of Vidushi Seema Shirodkar , Pt Vishwanath Kanhere and Pt Jayteerth Mevundi on the evening of Sunday 28th started at around 5pm and ended by 10 pm.Thanks to Suman Divakar for organizing this “Anubhuti” concert. It was a good small “mehfil” type mileu that made the day ! As usual all three enthralled the audience. For me , it was more pleasurable, in the company of very knowledgeable and hence humble Swanand Datar.
My next target was to catch the “Mumbai-Metro” experience. For that I had to take a local train to Andheri , go east. Andheri to Ghatkopar was a nice, pleasant experience with Mumbai Metro. At Ghatkopar , after alighting the Metro, the difficult task was to find the ticket counter to buy a local train ticket to CST (VT) which I overcame successfully at 11pm. A night local travel to VT was enjoyable in relatively empty local train. A quick visit to South Bombay restaurant bar at mid-night, for grub and drink was earned before retiring for the day in Colaba !
Early morning Monday was planned for a walk on empty South Bombay – Colaba roads leading to Gateway. I wanted to capture the Gateway of India before it gets too crowded , after an early tea by 5am . The problem this time was that Gateway of India area is cordoned off till 7am for public (unlike those good old days ! )
Some good observations and discussions at Gateway : ( here are some of the clicks )
1. Gateway of India doesnt face west , it faces east.
2. The majestic arch that was installed to welcome the imperial majesty – the Queen to India in 1911 , saw the last British battalion leave India in 1948 !
3. Gateway is a good example combined Hindu and Muslim architecture. ( Gwalior style)
4. Exactly in front of Gateway , is installed a statue of Chatrapati Shivaji on horse that is looking side ways !
5. On the left of Gateway is a statue of Vivekanand and on the right is the Tajmahal hotel !
After a walk to Churchgate , had a nice breakfast and coffee at Stadium Cafe and a stroll along the Queen’s necklace taking me to the Marine Lines , Kalbadevi “Parsi area” … Metro cinema area … the Furtados and Kayani’s cafe for Vegetable Potato Pattice , Ice-cream Pudding with fruit cake , Watermelon juice with Vanilla ice-cream !
A walk along the Lokmanya Tilak Road towards Mohmmad Ali Road was essential to ease the calories. With Manish Market and other stores on road , some shopping was done in almost reflex manner ! The Mohammad Ali road , Bhendi bazar road is always bustling with traffic since eternity ..even the flyover has not helped congestion !
The last stop in Bombay visit was the Lower Parel Malls and finally the Barking Deer Brewery , which I really liked.
Taking the last Shivneri coach from Dadar to Pune was relaxing to body and also mind. The more I see Bombay , the more I realize how lucky I am , born as a Punekar in Pune. Bombay is good , for short time and only for visit to certain places. It is NO Pune ( this ..I would never try to explain to a Mumbaikar nor wish to ! )
Glad to be back in Pune
Like everything else , Bombay has changed and still many things are still the same (fortunately).