Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tales from the Streets of Mumbai - II

Last Sunday night I was with a school friend, who was visiting, at Marine Drive and we were to return to my place (30 kms away) by the local train from Churchgate station.

“Wait, let’s take the train on platform 4. That’s the last train and leaves in 10 minutes,” I said.

My friend looked quizzically at me.

“That’s the 1 AM train. No train after that until 4.15 AM- the first train in the morning. So this would be an adventure!” I exclaimed. (Yeah, it's not ek-chaalis ki last local)

What if we miss that train? What if the train breaks down mid-way? Weird and random thoughts crossed my mind. I felt ecstatic. These little ‘adventures’ define life for me.

And the day had been quite eventful already.
Taking the last local- 1 AM- train from Churchgate Station

Rewind>>> 18 hours.


I took the local train at 7 AM to South Bombay (took me a few months to realise what people meant when they said they were going to ‘SoBo’). I was to join a Heritage Walk with my colleagues from work and shoot the entire walk. The walk was being conducted by a local group called Khaki Tours- they claim to be the only group in Mumbai which conducts heritage walks across the lesser known places of the city.

The walk went on for a good 4 hours within an area of less than half a kilometre but the discoveries we made were quite amazing. We spotted the narrowest restaurant in the city ‘Narayan Dosa’ which BharGo, our guide, described as ‘You will have to enter the place rubbing your back against the chef because that’s how little space there is’. The shop owners clearly weren’t amused by the attention they were getting from our group, and brought the shutter down on our face!

My face when I got to know that a category like 'Narrowest/Thinnest Restaurant' exists!

We spotted some of the finest heritage bungalows where several generations of families have lived and have preserved the properties well. These are the people who haven’t given in to the financial boom and amidst tall skyscrapers; the 3-4 floor high bungalows stand intact.

The biggest surprise came in Bhendi Lane (the narrowest gali to have an actual postal address) and the structure that we found inside it- another Gateway of India!

Yes!

Before the construction of the Gateway of India, the architect had designed a small scale model of the planned structure. This model in its original state is preserved inside Bhendi Lane and hardly anyone knows about it!

Check out this video I made at work showcasing these interesting heritage facts from the streets of Mumbai:


Later that evening, with my friend I was headed to Prithvi CafĂ© in Juhu. As we were passing Jalsa (Amitabh Bachchan’s residence), we saw a huge crowd gathered. We realised it was a Sunday and the reason for the crowd. We got down from the auto and headed to join the crowd to ‘get a glimpse of the superstar when he comes out for a few seconds and waves at his fans’. This was on my original to-do-in-Mumbai checklist made 2 years ago and I had never actually taken the pain of visiting the place on a Sunday evening.

Screengrab from the video I shot. It is amazing how one man is so highly respected and has been waving at his fans every Sunday since 1982!

We waited there for a few minutes and at 6 PM, the gates opened and BigB waved at the crowd. There was a sense of achievement in my head- an aura that no other city can provide one with. (Except, L.A. may be?)

These are tales from the streets of the Mayanagri and only someone who has lived here can understand these little adventures.

Tales from the Streets of Mumbai- the first part (Read here) came up when I visited the city for the very first time in May 2014 and was discovering new and amusing facets of the Mayanagri. Two years have passed, the city doesn't stop to amuse.

2 comments :

  1. That was amazing!! Was a learning experience for me too, a veteran Mumbaikar!! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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