Janta Ka feedback on India Travel, Lifestyle, Food, Shopping and more
Monday July 24th 2017

The Spirit of Mumbai

The first thing that hits you when you get to Bombay, or rather Mumbai is how vibrant the city actually is. I took a flight from Kolkata and arrived at Chatrapati Shivaji Airport in the morning. The Indian Airlines Industry is going through a revolution these days, they have excellent service, very affordable tickets, helpful customer service , mostly new planes and the flights run on schedule.

I hadn’t booked into a hotel in Mumbai, instead had decided to crash in with a friend in the IIT campus and bull-doze him and his friends to show me in and around Mumbai. The plan worked, I managed to weasel my way into the sprawling IIT campus and miraculously did not get kicked out or get any of my friends kicked out during my entire stay. However, I take no responsibility for what happened after I left.

Mumbai being dusty and hot I decided to wear my cheap rip-off-of-Paris-Hilton-sunglasses, much to the embarrassment of my friend, and set off on the sightseeing tour. We first took the local train to Bombay VT station, or rather Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus as it is now called, following the historic renaming of Bombay to Mumbai. From there we took a cab to Marine Drive, where we walked along the path with the awesome skyline behind us. In fact I witnessed a shooting going on for a TV show, but much to my chagrin, I couldn’t remember the TV star’s name, besides the fact that he looked familiar I had nothing to go on, so I didn’t approach him for an autograph.. thankfully. The walk towards the Taj and Gateway of India was tiring and by the time we made it, it was already dark so I couldn’t take any pictures. The structures were all historical and very British colonial looking of course, all massive and uniquely impressive.

Mumbai Skyline - Marine Drive
Mumbai Skyline – Marine Drive

The next couple of days were spent in roaming around in Bandra and Colaba areas. The malls and shopping complexes were very striking and I was surprised after I spent more than half a day shuttling between real shopping and window shopping. We visited the Haji Ali Mosque on a Friday and were totally mobbed, but the experience was enriching and the fruit crème shops right outside were a blessing after the long walk to and fro from the mosque. The beaches of Worli were quiet and unassuming butI discovered that the gentle breeze felt great and one could actually sit there for hours .

Among the eating joints my first dinner in Mumbai was at Leopold and it was highly entertaining. The food and drinks were just one part of it, the atmosphere and uniqueness of the place can only be experienced and best be described as eclectic and spirited. I tried out some local places like Karim adjacent to the IIT gates, which was strictly ok at best. Another restaurant Utsav in Powai is great for Punjabi food. For the best samosas in Mumbai, you have to go to Guru Kripa sion. Its is very well known for its chaats too. Also ate at a few restaurants in the Bandra area which were good, but not extraordinary. The problem with Mumbai is that it is probably the most expensive city in India and eating out is definitely included. The only city comparable is probably Delhi, which is another expensive-to-eat-out -but-we-eat-out-anyway-place. I think I preferred the IIT campus canteen and the idlis and vadas they served, probably due to the simple non greasy and non spicy aspect of the meals.

In my few days I was able to squeeze into my schedule a movie show (a boring bollywood fantasy thriller); an intellectual stage play (I am still trying to grasp at the inner meaning of the show, or if there was any); drives and walks along the beaches; shopping and most of all quality time with some old and new friends.

My trip to Mumbai was before the recent acts of terror and I still picture the city as I left it.. strong, spirited and pulsating. I don’t think any dastardly act will bring down its art, culture or friendliness. Mumbai and the people of Mumbai are brave and will rise above this. Hopefully, I’ll witness another homecoming soon.

Posted by vojha; V. Ojha is a guest author for JantaReview Blog. She resides in Michgan, USA

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