I am walking through the streets, where the smell of puri bhaaji, vada paav, samosas, bhel puri, chaat, Pani Puri, dhokla, gulab jamun, cachori, sev; all seems familiar. The place that has changed the life of many and that has made people learn the importance of shelter, food and money. Yes I was at Mumbai, aamchi Mumbai where destiny took me again after my last visit 2 years ago. I landed at thane and saw many people who came to welcome me, a crowd uncountable and moving that appeared murmuring; “Govinda aala re aala”. Mumbai and people in Mumbai do not have much change except the advancement of lifestyle. High class Showoff’s and middle class concealing is still prevailing in Mumbai, however the active and energetic lifestyle switch the negatives to positive.
I thought to refresh old memories by travelling in Mumbai’s auto rickshaw. I asked my colleague to wait at Powai who was supposed to receive us at the railway station. We took an auto and travelled all the way to Powai from Thane chatting with the driver, exchanging marathi conversations. He started narrating stories of Thakre and Shahrukh khan, the changes in Mumbai, climate, his family and this went long until we reached Powai police station. I asked my colleague to bring the car.
I and Jinu decided to have tea and bhajiya from a nearby “tapri” (thelas that serve food and tea). Tea was poured in a small plastic cup and bhajiyas in a thali along with home made tomato ketchup. My taste buds have a direct link with the brain and they detected the lost taste.
The next day started with the aim to travel and see maximum places possible. We travelled by car crossing the Bandra-worli sea link. The bridge was a 1600 crore project and depicts the marvelous engineering miracle. This bridge is said to have reduced the travelling time from an hour to 7 minutes. The buildings across the sea make me remember the tall and short elevations in America. The bridge adds value to the sea like an ornament in its collection.
Travelling by car was boring and we left its use at Anne basant Marg. We took a bus and continued until we feel tired. In Mumbai you never feel life is boring. Bangalore, Hyderabad or any city in India cannot be compared to Mumbai. We were dropped near the Atria shopping mall where we waited in the shelter of the bus platform making ourselves comfortable and rest for the journey.
At the bus station, Jinu saw a couple kissing each other in public. He moved my face like a small child to catch my attention and see them. It is his first time in Mumbai and things like this appear shocking. Mumbai or people in Mumbai do not worry about the public but they always try to live the way they feel comfortable; at least the majority try.
I can notice the craze for brands in Mumbai with respect to clothes and consumables. Girls appear the same everywhere with similar hairstyle and way of dressing that is not different from their fellow travelers. They lack the originality and the “wow” feeling. This is not a comment from the majority but something I feel personally.
We entered Atria mall for a small shopping. Jinu bought some clothes for his nephew and I purchased some for me. We moved from one shop to another searching the best we could purchase. The top floor was meant for food and the 2 Pm alarm gave the indications, “empty stomach, please refill”. We went and ordered fast food, but it came late due to the unending requirements from the crowd gathered in the floor. The eatables and even water were for double the rates we could get from outside. We took a bus and reached the flat in Royal palms. We waited there for evening and finally moved towards Goregaon to see the market.
We crossed the bridge connecting Goregaon east and west that ended in a market selling consumables and non-consumables with priority to the customer’s choice. In Mumbai you can even bargain for a BMW at your proposed rates. I used the skills that I acquired during my lifetime in North India. I bargained for a trouser worth 650 rupees and purchased at 200 rupees. This impressed Jinu and he started asking the shopkeeper for gold coins in exchange for copper coins. Though not successful but he was able to learn the range for bargaining.
This marks the end of the day. I always hate the wordings that appear with cartoons in the newspapers. But this time I am forced to say… “will continue…”
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