Reminiscing life in Mumbai


It started on 15th August 2010 when I joined Morgan Stanley after campus. I wasn’t very new to Mumbai. I had done my internships in IIT Bombay. So I was pretty much acquainted with the skills you need to travel in the local trains.

Mumbai Local. Source : Reuters

The first two things I noticed were the traffic and the rains. So much has already been said about the Mumbai rains. And yes, they stood true to their reputation.

© Sephi Bergerson Archive http://sephi.photoshelter.com/

Panipuri at Juhu Chowpaty. © Sephi Bergerson Archive http://sephi.photoshelter.com/

Next in line was the cultural shock when we started going around seeing Mumbai. Rarely did we visit any of typical tourist destinations like Ajanta caves, Gateway of India et al. Our hangouts were places like Juhu Beach, Carter Road, Marine Drive, Lokhandwala and the numerous restaurants and pubs in Mumbai. I think you can spend a lifetime and a fortune if you want to cover all the hangout places in Mumbai. You wouldn’t want to go out to these places in the day, the traffic won’t let you reach there and it is too hot and humid to actually enjoy being out. After 9 is when the nightlife starts.

Diwali Lights at Inorbit Mall

Diwali Lights at Inorbit Mall

What was more shocking for me was amount of money people have/spend in Mumbai. All the expensive and imported cars, bikes, houses; ridiculously expensive brands actually selling their stuff makes you think that wealth is really distributed every unevenly in our country; it is certainly concentrated in some pockets. You would need to be earning ridiculous amounts of money to be able to afford a house in a decent locality. Sure you can get good and affordable food in Mumbai, but if you want to buy a house, settle down and have a decent standard of living you’d need to earn/inherit a fortune.

Slums in Malad at Sunrise

Slums in Malad at Sunrise

© Sephi Bergerson Archive http://sephi.photoshelter.com/

Ganesh Chaturthi © Sephi Bergerson Archive http://sephi.photoshelter.com/

Saifee Hospital beautifully lit in the night.

Saifee Hospital beautifully lit in the night.

The city is full of surprises, specially for someone who has spent four years of his college life in Trichy. Ever thought people hanging out with their kids at the Swings and people showing off their expensive cars and bikes till 1-2 AM and awesome eateries ranging from cafe to yogurt to Mughlai cuisine in the same place? Carter road happens to be just the place! Ever imagined an eating joint with 99 varieties of Dosa? See it in Malad. Ever imagined auto-rickshaws actually charging according to the meter! I think the autos in Mumbai are the most economical amongst the tier 1 and 2 cities.

Ever imagined people in the most expensive of cars line up for kebabs from a street side eatery till 4 in the morning? Bade Miyan at Colaba is where you need to go. The place opens up at 7 PM. Ever imagined a class Sea bridge in India? Bandra-Worli Sea link is certainly class! Ever imagined a tiffin distribution company with an error margin of 1 in 1 Million running without any sophisticated IT system? We present to you The Dabbawalas. Ever Imagined a city were people celebrated almost all of the major festivals ,even the regional ones, with unfathomable fervor and joy? Be it Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid, Durga Puja, Navratri, Holi, Diwali, Pongal, Chirstmas? You name it, they celebrate it!

Ever thought of a local train network with a train in every 3 minutes? The local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai. Ever imagined an international airport and Asia’s biggest slum (nothing to be proud of) to be adjacent to each other? Dharavi happens to be the place. Ever imagined people lining up to half a kilometer just to eat pav bhaji at a particular joint? You’ve got to see Sardar Pav Bhaji! You can get anything to eat round the clock in this place! You just got to know the spots!

Bade Miya : THE street side kebab joint which opens form 7 PM till 4 AM and makes people go crazy for it's kebabs.

Bade Miya : THE street side kebab joint which opens from 7 PM till 4 AM and makes people go crazy for its kebabs.

One of the many things I like about Mumbai is the police is pretty accommodation for the nightlife, but maintains pretty awesome security in the city. Sure there are some instances you’d hear about sometimes, but compared to other cities it is still much better. More on that later.

A view of Inorbit mall from my place in Mumbai.

A view of Inorbit mall from my place in Mumbai.

You have so much variety in life there. The overstuffed local trains and buses to the numerous and economic auto-rickshaws, biggest slums to the most

expensive hotels and houses, the awesome street food joints to the most happening discos and pubs, the soothing and happening sea sides to beautiful hill stations around the city, the friendly neighbourhood shops to the most happening malls, the financial industry to Bollywood; the list can go on.

Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers match at Vankhede Stadium

Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers match at Vankhede Stadium

Makar Sankranti, a Kite Flying Festival, celebrated mainly in Rajasthan and Gujrat

Makar Sankranti at Aksa Beach.

I guess as with anyone who has spent substantial amount of time in Mumbai I too am in Love with the city, more so because of the awesome friends I have there. Even after moving to Bangalore, I love it when I get to travel there and hangout with the friends.

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First weekend-out of the season.


The post-terror-attacks-fear kept us locked inside the IITB campus for 11 days except for a small visit to the Hiranandani Township.
But on last Saturday we decided that we’ll go out on the Sunday. After watching Chak-De-India till 3 in the night (which someone had shared with the label DVD Rip, while it was actually the hall print and I am still searching for the *#@&*@ %&*!@ who did that) we decided to leave for Bandra at 12 noon.
I was not surprised to see the clock proudly showing 12:10 when I woke up.
Anyways we waited for bus no 422 which is the direct bus to Bandra and I was in full mood to do some good shopping. Only I and Arpit were able to board the Bus, thanks to the racing instinct of the BEST Bus drivers. Pauli and Bansal were left behind.
After some 45 mins we got a call from Pauli. They were heading towards the hostel after waiting that long for the bus !!
Anyways I was determined to do some shopping, for which someone had recommended Linking Road.
The buses here retard to zero velocity at a stop but instantaneously start accelerating, as if they are doing a favour by stopping at the STOP.
We reached linking Road and i got off from the Bus, but here again Arpit was not able to get off. Luckily the Bus stopped at a traffic signal at some distance.
Anyways while roaming around in the market i wished i had a camera as we came cross this peculiar Chuski stall (chuski aka barf ka gola is made by compacting crushed ice around a stick into a tumbler shaped mould and immersing it into any flavour(s) of sharbat) named “Gogola” and its logo was very similar to that of the search giant. It even had a banner showing a internet explorer showing the home page of gogola.com and with the name of flavours it served in the place where Google lists the languages on its home page.
It claimed that it used “Mineral water Ice”, so we were tempted to trying out one. We had the trademark flavour of Mumbai – Kaala Khatta and the so called Blue Lagoon.
After 3 hours of window shopping, bird-watching and trying out different brands of clothes and discovering that 70 percent of all Showrooms on Linking Road were Footwear shops all I could manage to buy was two pair of socks!! I am so very confused when it comes to buying clothes.
Anyway Pauli and Bansal had managed to reach Linking Road by that time. So we went to Bandstand only to discover that the beach was closed because of “security reasons”.
So we had some chaat there and after seeing Shahrukh’s home Mannat and Rekha’s home Basera (well all we could see were the huge fort-like gates and crazy chicks having photo session outside them, hmmm… okeh we would have done the same if we had a camera) we decided to go to Mumbai Times Cafe.
The menu card there goes well with the name. It was like Sunday news paper supplement.
Now this place is just awesome, one of the coolest places to hangout in case you have a hefty wallet (not from credit bills of course :P) and are ready to spend 5 times the amount for the same thing u get outside.
Anyways we ordered a Veg Kabab Platter for all four of us. After 2 hours of looking from one TV screen to the other (there were 10 of them there tunes into different sports channels except one which had news), so that we could get a glimpse of the “greenery” there opposite to the desert in Trichy, we went to McD to have a Burger each.
While returning we all somehow managed to jump into the Bus, I wondered are they the representatives of the “fast” lifestyle of Mumbai !!
We watched the first elimination of the Gala round of Indian Idol 4 and went to sleep.

60 hours of chaos and carnage.


At the time the country was recovering from the scars left by series of blasts that have rocked up almost all big cities in India, the unfortunate incidents in Orrisa, the clash in Chennai and many more, Mumbai attacks came up as one of the biggest terror attacks in India.
Where is Raj Thakrey and his rogues?? None of them showed up in the whole scene. It was the NSG commandos from DELHI and MARCOS were the ones who came to rescue MUMBAI and Mumbaikars.
Good thing is that none of the politicians except Narendra Modi have started playing their dirty politics of accuses and blames.
I really appreciate FM stations of Mumbai. They did a great job in the whole span of 60 hours and are still doing that. At the time the TV shrewd TV news channels were spreading rumours of new firings in CST just to hike up their TRP, it were these FM stations which continuously poured in correct and exact information about the happenings. The radio jockeys’ and their teams deserve a big hand for keeping a communication among the common people so as to keep rumours under control, even at the time when news channels and news websites were blocked.
It was really sad seeing the media acting so irresponsibly and ridiculously in the time of emergency. When the cops barred them from progressing too close to the ground zero, they shouted slogans cursing the cops.
Everybody salutes the spirit of Mumbai and Mumbaikars, but there are questions unanswered.
“kab tak aisa chalega??”
“Kab tak ye terrorists , ye politicians, dharm ke thekedaar apni rotiyan sekne ke liye common man ki bajate rahenge??”
“why our intelligence agencies fail every time to prevent such attacks??”
I was there in Jaipur at the time of bomb basts. I saw the terror in the eyes of the residents of the areas near the explosion points. Call it co-incident or anything, i am in Mumbai right now.
The ones who really suffer in all this is the common man, the people who lose their dear ones. Others discuss how lucky they were to be still alive, while they passed by that spot some time or some days back, or while they skipped going to that very place due to some reason that day.
For some days we discuss these unfortunate incidents but then slowly in the name of spirit of people we become complacent and forget these things.
All this reminds me of the movie “A Wednesday” and the feelings of a common man showed in that movie.