WHY DO I LOVE BOMBAY? PART II

mumbai-love

There is an intangible charm about Bombay. Everybody who lives in and loves the city, has their reasons but if you ask them what is so great about their city, their first answer would be “Everything!” followed by their list of city-loves. 

This is my list of those reasons. For Part I click here

4. For Your Convenience

 

_R6H1954

Mumbai Dabbawallahs

Most people in this city are on the run. It’s very fast paced and it’s easy to fall short of time. This is why the services that help people save time and more hardship, have thrived here. I say conveniences but I mean door step delivery. After living here, getting things delivered to my workplace and home had become such a regular thing that when I went to visit my parents for a couple of days, I found the lack of convenience difficult and annoying. Here you can get home-cooked meals, restaurant food, groceries, fresh baked bread, potted plants, alcohol, fish and meats, vegetables, makeup, jewellery and even medicines delivered home, and not just by popular websites that take 3-5 working days but also local shops and stores that take less than an hour. How do others do without it?

5. For the Foodies

 

kebabs-at-mohammad-ali-road

Mohammad Ali Road serves Iftari food till 4am

 

If you’re a foodie like me, you will love this city. There is no street in Bombay where you wont find a restaurant or food stall! That’s no exaggeration. People here love to eat. A foodie knows that hunger can strike anywhere and at any time of the day. Which is why this city is your stomach’s best friend. You don’t even have to take a taxi, rickshaw or your car out- there will always be some place at walking distance to calm satisfy your munchies, a chips stand, vada-pav seller or a pani-puri walla, if nothing else. There are dabbawalas who will deliver meals to your office every day and home every evening. There are also ‘Maushis’ who sell their home-cooked food by the street, a full plate of healthy, home-y food, and they feed you with love. But my absolute favourite thing about the Bombay food scene is that, even if hunger strikes at 3am and you go food hunting, you will always find a place or two, that serves delectable food, you will never be disappointed.

P.s. Food is one of my favourite things in the world and I can talk about it endlessly, but maybe I’ll save that for another post!

6. This is where I found my soul mate.

30love-in-bombay1

A 1974 Bollywood Movie title that says it for me

 

There’s a lot to love about this city. A lot of people who judge it by it’s superficiality, don’t understand it. And that’s okay. As for me, every time I return to Bombay after a break, it feels like I’m home again.

 

Advertisements

Why do I Love Bombay? Part I

image1

Mumbai (or Bombay, as many of us like to call it) is known by its many names. It’s the city that never sleeps, the city of dreams.

Even though I wasn’t born or brought up here, Bombay has been home to me and over 11 million people, for a long time. I am what they would call an “outsider”, but Bombay is made of “outsiders”, it’s a city that accepts anybody brave enough to survive it- no questions asked, no prerogatives.

No place is perfect, they all have their flaws. This city does too, maybe too many, but I, and millions of people from around the world who live here, love it despite those shortcomings.

Here’s why I do-

  1. The People
_b742bba2-c0f5-11e5-b65a-c4d36a19bd7a

CST at anytime of the day

If you’ve ever been to this city, you know how over-crowded it is. From local trains to restaurants, there are one too many people occupying every little space and corner. I’m not saying that I love the number of people here but the kind. Mumbaikars will smile back at you. Even a rickshaw-walla will lend you his phone to call somebody if you’ve lost yours (like I once did). Very few people will cheat you here and even if they do, there will be 10 others on the street to help you. It doesn’t matter here how much money you have, what cars you drive or who your “connections” are. People of Bombay have heart. There are no judgments here. And if you’re lonely, you can be sure of making friends in this city, no matter who you are or what you like or where you come from.

  1. You’re Safe Here
mumbai-by-night-013

Girgaon Chowpatty at night

If you’re and Indian and have ever been told that it’s not safe to stay out after dark, there are only two possibilities- one, you’re a girl/woman and two, you don’t live in Bombay. I have lived in quite a few cities, and I can say that Bombay is the only city that doesn’t scare me if I’m out at 2am. There might be a guy or two who annoys you by being a little too friendly but nothing happens that makes you worry about your safety. This is one of the positives about there being too many people around, you’re never alone, nobody could dare to do anything wrong to you in sight of 50 other people and get away with it. You could be out at midnight and see college kids goofing about, young couples taking a stroll by the sea, dog owners and new parents spending some alone time outside, joggers and old and new lovers, all out, just like you, enjoying some calm before their day ends.

  1. You’ll Never be Bored
khanna-2_072812053836

One of the many graffiti walls in Bandra

Bombay is brimming with creativity and life. No matter what part of the city you’re in, there’s always something to do, see, take part in, and experience. We have sea-views, lakes, hills if you’re a nature lover; epic street shopping hubs if you’re indulgent; famous street food selling opposite five star restaurants; museums and heritage buildings for history buffs; art galleries and tasteful graffiti for art lovers; stand up comedy and low-budget plays for those who love theatre; from celebrity spotting to being a movie extra. The list is endless and the choice is yours. You’ll never be bored here. All you have to do is step out and explore!

More reasons why I love Bombay in my next post ( :

(Disclaimer: The last three images aren’t mine)

 

 

Matheran: Abandoned Homes- A Testimony to Time

70e97ab8c9b4e4ce611752dec84c2ea1

Sometimes when I travel, there a certain moments when I have an amazing experience that is hard to describe. I come across certain things that make me feel a lot of emotions without any rational reason. These experiences are not something that I can portray while recounting the stories about my trips with my friends, but are secret memories that are recalled every so often in the privacy of my thoughts.

During my trip to Matheran, I experienced one of those moments when I was hiking with my travel partner, with no objective of getting anywhere, but just exploring the areas beyond the points where the paths ended. We came across two or three abandoned houses. It looked like these houses were abandoned a long, long time ago. These homes looked loving and comforting, from whatever was left of them, but they weren’t cared for; there was an air of melancholy around them. These bungalows weren’t creepy like most abandoned places are doomed to be. They felt sincere, resilient and that had they been given a chance, they would be a doting home to a happy family.

If you would let your imagination run free, you could almost see kids running around in a large front yard, wearing bright raincoats and wellington boots, building mountains and digging wells in the wet mud. You could picture the parents sitting on the beautifully tiled front porch, drinking hot tea and watching over the kids. You could almost hear the calming music drifting from inside as it floats through the cold, moist air. With nothing but trees and clouds around, nobody disturbs the dream that this, now broken down, home lets you live in. 

SarahSays 1473

To some these houses are just walls covered in moss; or maybe even an eyesore in a picturesque wilderness; they could be perceived as a consequence of the hardships of inconvenience because maintenance in a no-vehicle ecosystem is hard. To me, these houses stand as a testimony to time- houses that have perhaps known love and lost, lived through centuries. They are now destined to wear out and be forgotten, except in the minds of the few who will still choose to see them through the eyes of a dream.  

 

Matheran: From Taxis to Horses

I, like everybody else in Mumbai, am in dire need of a break come weekends.

Traffic-Mumbai

The fast life takes a toll on you. Even five days of commuting to work, slogging in a heavily air-conditioned workspace, breathing in the occasionally mysteriously stinking polluted air, sweating and walking shoulder to shoulder with millions of people trying to make ends meet, just like you… Just five days of this are overwhelming enough to make you scamper away for a while, just to gain perspective on life.

There are several tiny weekend getaway places around Mumbai. The more popular ones get so crowded that you find yourself right in the middle of the chaos you ran away from. But that doesn’t mean that these places aren’t beautiful. The only thing is, timing is essential to enjoying and soaking in the richness of these places.

SarahSays 1350Matheran is one such place, a popular little hill-station just a local train-ride and a cab-hire away. It’s so close to the city and yet such a contrast, that you forget about the city you’ve been calling ‘Home’ as soon as you reach. One of the most noteworthy things about Matheran is its No-Vehicles Policy. There are no vehicles allowed in Matheran beyond Dasturi Point. In Mumbai, sometimes I wear my headphones even without music, just to cut out the traffic noises. In Matheran, wearing headphones feels like a sin because the only sounds you will be drowning out would be the wind and birds and the clip-clop of the horses passing by.

There are two means of reaching Matheran from Dasturi Car Park- walking or horse ride. Alternately, there are also hand-carts for older people or those with a lot of luggage. SarahSays 1357 I have never ridden a horse before for more than ten minutes, so I jumped at the idea of riding one for almost 4 kilometers, to the hotel. D, my travel partner, and I found a guy with two horses and started our journey through the mulch and trees. During the horse ride, the horse-owner talked all the way to our destination. He talked about how people like him, from the mountains, feel suffocated in cities. He told us about about the prices of the horses, how they are traded in Nagpur, how they are brought all the way to Matheran and trained… My horse, named Abhimanyu, was a favourite amongst tourists, he told us. D’s was called Mowgli who was a little stubborn but was liked by kids because of his name.  

The horse ride was one of my favourite things about Matheran. There was a nip in the air and I could smell the trees and the wet, red mud. These smells are hard to describe but those who know how a forest smells in the monsoons, know how precious these little things are.

SarahSays 1359

Travels

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a puddle. A puddle that suddenly makes you realize that you’re in a monotonous looIMG-20150411-WA0030p. It brings you down. It’s not that something’s wrong, it’s the absence of anything new that frustrates you.

What do you do then? You try to find something real, something beautiful to bring your soul back to life. You run away, even if for a little while, in search of new experiences, new sights, smells and sounds. You want to jumpstart your heart and mind by escaping to whatever they’re drawn to.

This is what travelling does to us.

I travel to see the world in its truest sense. I seek places and experiences that bring me face to face with the purity of the world that was created. These places at these times, still undefiled. I travel to escape the noise, pollution, unkindness and capitalism. I travel to find beauty in places in a world that has long lost it.

I travel to keep the faith.