We are at the Le-Grande hotel in Andheri Mumbai and are tired to travel today. Gopu inspected the toilet and bathroom and indicated his approval on using it. He is very peculiar for hygiene and does everything in a systematic way. He jumped on to the bed like undertaker in WWE and registered the cushion perfect for the sleep. He scrolled onto the floor with the unique skills he learnt from the game “soldier of fortune”, opened the cupboard and placed the blazers we had to wear the next day for the meeting. I saw the remote control dancing on his hands and the television changing channels according to his gesture. He left the television “ON” and went for the bath, which he enjoyed for 1 and a half hours. I was busy unpacking the entire luggage and watching the news for the decision day on Ayodhya verdict. A decision will come after two days that was what I heard from the lady-speaking non-stop like a tamatar wali bai in the market.
Gopu was fresh by now and it was my turn so we could go outside and have our dinner. I wore the as usual blue shirt and blue jeans while Gopu wearing a white-Tshirt and blue track pants and we started our search for a good hotel. I saw a hotel named Sai Bhojnalay and pointed my finger indicating Gopu my desire to have the dinner. Gopu rejected my offer as he was a perfect carnivorous and he said he requires at least fish or Chicken in his meal. I broke my never worn Brahmin-strand (poo nool) and enetered a Punjabi hotel. We were thinking what to order for the dinner and then Sushma Mallya’s(writer of Authentic Food delights blog) paneer recipes hit my mind and I ordered a panner tikka masala with tandoor roti whereas Gopu ordered butter naan and some chicken dash dash. We finished the dinner with lassi.
The next day started with the alarm tone from the mobile phone and we went outside to have a coffee and withdraw some cash from the ATM. I asked the “chai-wala” to prepare a half-cup coffee and a full cup of coffee. We were standing in front of the tea-stall in JP Nagar Andheri, opposite to the ATM counter when Gopu turned my head forcibly, pointing towards the footpath next to Amul ice-Cream shop. I could see women walking on the footpath wearing small Bermudas that appeared like the ones their parents purchased when they were in fifth standard. Gopu kept watching them for few minutes until he could get rid of his astonishment. It was hard to explain him that some People in Mumbai wear the dress they feel comfortable and that make others uncomfortable.
Gopu has a desire to travel by Mumbai’s Local train and thus we decided to make our travel until in Mumbai through trains. I downloaded the “Aamchi Mumbai” application and installed it on my Nokia n97 mini. It tells me the timing of each train and its route. We could see a long lasting queue in front of the railway station waiting for the Auto rickshaw. People were here, there and everywhere. It would resemble as ants moving when seen from top. Everyone was busy, rushing without a smile on his or her face but anxiety; I do not know about what.
The ticket counter was on the right side of the entrance that had the route passing below the bridge. I went to the ticket counter and got a ticket back and forth, for two people for Andheri and CST. The woman at the ticket counter appeared like Priyanka Chopra, adding 50 kgs to her weight wearing a red striped sari, big bindi, round earings, thin gold chain and glass bangles. She took 34 rupees from me in exchange of the tickets and a cute smile. We took the staircase leading towards the bridge to the platform where the train is expected to arrive. Men were wearing shirts tucked in with trousers and shoes, T-shirts with jeans and sports shoes whearas wemen were seen in T- shirts and jeans with sandals small and long healed.
The train arrived at the station and the crowd took us into the compartments. It was more or less like a “kumbh ka mela” with people filling every space available. Gopu and I were sweating like pigs, exchanging glances for joy and sorrow, cleaning each droplet wasted from the body. A fellow passenger who says he works for CID (Criminal Investigation Department) gave me training on whom to trust and whom not to trust in Mumbai. He thought I am here for the first time watching Gopu and I converse in Malayalam. We took some pictures in the train and people kept watching us like foreigners capturing the unknown wealth of the world.
(Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
We reached CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and then took a taxi to Nariman point where we had the meeting. On the way, we could see Traffic police officers with new Enticer bikes and people walking on the roads listening to iPod and mobile music. Nariman point is a clean area with buildings from the British era. Things have changed a lot from the last time I visited here.
We attended the meeting and were back by 4 PM. The first day went fine. However, this was not the case for the next day.
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