Friday, August 10, 2007

Some more Bombay bits

I guess it's natural for one to be madly in love with the city they grew up in- [even more so if it's Bombay ;)]. Here's a list of things I really relished when I went back after living in Hydie for two months .. some of these are, indeed, associations and memories I have with the city (that anyone could form with most any place), while others are true Bombay-isms, that make Bombay what it is.

1. Autorickshaws: They are (mostly) always willing to take on a passenger even if it'll get them minimum fare. They charge by meter, and not a paisa more. They have (mostly) zero attitude (Yeah, two months in hydie and you will really start appreciating this). But most of all, I love that you can hop into a rick and strike up a conversation with the auto wallah about Shiv sena, current affairs, rain, or an impending World War. (Yeah, I have covered all these issues with autowallahs). A priceless snippet of one such conversation from this trip..

Me: Public aur press ne usko fukat ka chadhake rakha hai...(Sanju baba, of course)

Auto driver: Arre! aap jaisi hi-fi madam koi ro rahi thi usko jail hua iskeliye. Kayko roneka? Usko apni kiye ki saza mil rahi hai bas.

Note the words "hi-fi madam", yes, they made my day. :)

2. Bindaas Bombay: It was pouring cats and dogs. Bombay now presses the panic button every time it rains longer than 10 - 12 hours at a stretch. I got on a bus to go to Siddhivinayak, and we were in one of those low-lying areas in waist-deep water, the bus had stalled. Everyone seemed tired, hassled and worried. A man got on the bus and slipped. Some stranger helped him regain balance. He thanked the man, a joke was made, and an entire bunch of drenched and hassled people who didn't know each other broke into peals of laughter.
I was smiling too, even though I didn't hear the joke. :)

3. Help is always forthcoming: The first thing I had to do when I landed in the city, was to close my old bank account. So I went straight to the bank, bag and baggage, wet and umbrella-less. I put forth my best marathi (quite rusty now) and explained to the security guard at the bank what I needed to do. He offered to watch my bags for me, explained me the procedure to close my account, brought me a blank sheet of paper to write my letter, pointed me in the direction of who to see and essentially made it a breeze! Also made small chit-chat with me while I was waiting and told me where I could get some nice hot chai near by. :)

Since I didn't have a cellphone, the P.C.O machines and my little book of numbers were my lifeline for those 5 days. Not once did the shop manning the P.C.O refuse to give me change for a ten-rupee note so I could make my calls.
[Yes, this has happened umpteen times in hydie. I don't know why]

4. Food: I ate duniya bhar ka kachra when I was there, and it tastes best when enjoyed from the street-side vendors. For the wusses there are several new joints that serve all this kachra made from mineral water. Then there's Monginis, Naturals Ice cream, Gaylords, K Rustoms, Swastik, Shiv sagar and a host of other places I didn't even get my fill of.

5. The sense of purpose: Everyone strides about in urgency and hurry. I loved the crowds and the hectic current running through the city, wherever I went. I loved waking up with the city, and sleeping late, watching it still awake and abuzz.

6. The public transport system: The local train network and the BEST bus system can pretty much take you from any point to any point. To fill the gaps, there are rickshaws and taxis always. It felt so good to navigate myself in familiar territory, get from one end of the city to another without too much trouble and make it in good time too.

7. The sea: Nothing beats sitting along Marine Drive, watching the traffic, hawkers, couples, and assorted joggers and tourists, or just watching the sea and the Mumbai skyline. Complete bliss in the middle of chaos.

Yes, it will take me a while to stop fawning, I have been Mumbai deprived for two years and was living in hyderabad for the past two months! :p


Sakshi said...

Sigh! As if the last post was not enough, this one made me just more gloomy.

now going off to sulk in my corner.. hmph..

Neihal said...

I am loving these posts..and the fact they make Sakshi sulk has nothing to do with it. :D

in my short stay in Mumbai I think I spent more time at Marine drive than anyone can in six months. I am totally mesmerised by that place.

Amit said...

No one claimed ... so GOLLLLDD it is for me! hah to the sistahs. :D

And yep, Bombay is a very nice place! Onto my fourth year here now.. May/May not leave after another year here. :)

sd said...

Yup. Thats Mumbai for you. I may write a post about Marine drive one of these days!

Harish Suryanarayana said...

Cribbing about the autos in Hyderabad ?!! You must come to Chennai miss !

Sumit Tada said...

Updated my blog :)
tho m afraid u wont one particular post :P

Sumit Tada said...

and ur post makes me feel a bit bad abt Gurgaon :(
Good public transport and sea are two things that I will like to see in Gurgaon :)
And beleive me,both are equally far fetched!

Janefield said...

you're making me wanna get to bombay all the more! :-)

Rebellion said...

I sooooooooooooo love you Lajjo. What a post man! As much as I love you for this, we sure know someone's gonna hate this, heheehe.

Jane, come over and i'll make sure you don't miss the stuff she missed. And lajjo ma'am, idiot stupid, shiv sagar was on our way to where I dropped you! We could have had our fill of pav bhaji yaar!

ferret said...

same to same as jane,, i so want to live in mumbai, and alone at that. and speaking of that i want to live in Chandigarh and New York and Boston and Singapore and some more places too :)

Sayesha said...

Arre o hi-fi madam, apun fultu agreement mein hai... pani puri type ka cheez sadap chhap na ho toh no maza! :D

Anurag Srivastava said...

I have been to Bombay only for a month but somehow I could see a life in that city. It looks full of vitality and energy which is much more fascinating than the dullness of many others.

Though I appreciate the autowallas most :)

Tachyoson said...

this post made me appreciate how blessed i am ... never mind the flooding and the other gripes , this city is great.

shub said...

hehe hi-fi meydum! :D Love making small talk with cabbies here and in Malaysia. Well, used to atleast. Until a lecherous old cab driver pissed me off!

Coco Captive said...

Oiye ladki.. its time we see a Hydie-praising post now..

Hi-Fi madum it seems.. :P:P

Prashanth said...

Would you believe I have never been outside of TN, AP and Karnataka in India?

Sakshi said...

You back in US???

Then A) where is my token parcel full of sweets?
And B) more importantly - UPDATE!!!

Janefield said...

kahaan ho? :(

GuNs said...

Another post on Mumbai!
OMG, what's happening? I have been randomly blog hopping and this is the third post on Mumbai that I've seen after writing one on my blog myself!

Long time since I last read your blog.


qsg said...

Welcome back to the land of opportunities! ;)

der Bergwind said...

the maximum city.. bombay.. the use of 'bombay' just added the dash of flavor in the post ..'mumbai' somehow never resonates with the spirit of the city..
it has a way of extremes... most importantly amidst all the hardships of life.. bombay never fails to tickle ur dreamz... nice post... made me miss the city again :)

satish said...

bombay bombay hai. baaki sab gaon hain.

Pri said...

come out come out wherever you are

Crazy Dhakkan said...


I so want to go and explore bombay now! :)