My recent (first) trip to Bombay was one of the coolest trips I’ve been on. I haven’t been on that many, of course.
Our flight was slated to take off at 6.15 PM… and Air Deccan, well, being Air Deccan, was an hour and a half late. The ‘beauty’ in flying with this airline is that the seats are not numbered or reserved. Their mantra is “First come first serve”. We had to rush to the plane to get our seats. We wanted 3 in a row. My friend rushed ahead of the 2 of us and caught good seats. My friend kept murmuring “I’m never flying this airline again!” - I had to agree with her!
We reached Bombay (sounds better than Mumbai) at around 10.15 PM. By the time we collected our bags and got into a cab, it was 10.45. We were going to stay over at my friend’s aunt’s place in Colaba. The drive takes almost an hour from the airport. I think Bombay is the only city in which 3 girls can travel by taxi after 11 PM. We reached Colaba by 12, had dinner and went to bed.
Mumbai has an old world charm to it that is so overwhelming. The old Victorian – style buildings are so picturesque that my friend and I took more pictures of the buildings and roads than of each other.
Since our shopping was confined to mostly Colaba and the surrounding places, we narrowed our focus down to Colaba Causeway. The place consists of a steady stream of road-side stalls along with stores housing some of the biggest brands in the business. Name a brand and you’ll find it in Causeway. It also houses the famous Parsi colony – Cursow Baug. The Gateway of India was a 10 minute walk from the place we were staying in. It’s funny that we never got to see the Gateway up close. We were too busy eating – out and shopping. :)
Matunga was our next target. The place is full of South – Indians, especially Tamilians. With a temple, a few dosa – idli eateries and Nalli surrounding it, Matunga looks a lot like Mylapore (if you’re a Chennaiite).
One of the most beautiful sights I saw in Bombay was of Haji Ali bang in the middle of the Arabian Sea. There is a 500-yard long causeway that leads to the shrine. With sea on both the sides and no railings for support, it’s quite an exciting as well as nerve racking walk down to the dargah.
I have one grouse, though - Mumbai is quite dirty and smelly. I guess with millions of people waltzing in and out of the place every year, its bound to get crowded and dirty.
Our trip was coming to an end and we did not want to get back; but did so with a heavy heart and an arm full of shopping bags. Our flight back home was late, as usual (thanks yet again to AD). Nevertheless, the trip was worth the wait and I would kill to go back. As they say, “Maut aur Mumbai se koi vapis nahi aata”.