Make every moment count: Are you ready for it?!


Golden rules often serve as a grim reminder and hammer us on the head now and then. It takes the form of a precious stone and a close chum that we have neglected and long forgotten as we snuggle in our personal comfort and busy in the routine existence.  A simple question: Have we forgotten how to live every second of life?

It’s my home truth, I am not pushing myself out of my comfort zone to stand on the cliff’s edge. I don’t know about you. But, aware I am of not being alone and hold your breath, this post is not a personal rant. I dare you not to avoid reading this post calling off the bullshit or gyaan yours truly is doling out. First, he should practice what he preach. Indeed, it’s what I am doing right now.

There has been a slew of terrible news in my surrounding since last week and I couldn’t buckle my mind to do stuff. It’s a question that has occupied my grey cell and couldn’t evade the thoughts raging in the mind like steamy water in the kettle.

Image credit: Google.

There was someone whom I knew during my school days and who succumbed to a brain tumor last week. He was an accomplished lawyer and still remember the triumphant face when he was a topper in his 12th standard. On Saturday, another bad news came where my aunt (Chachi) died at 78. What saddened me the most is the fact that she was pushed off the staircase by some thief who robbed her gold necklace and when she tripped on the stairs, her head took a hit.  She stayed in the coma for 15 days. And to think that the ever smiling and gentle lady didn’t die of illness and was an independent someone who actively took care of her house and grandchildren. It makes me shudder. Just today, I hear that a 26-year-old doctor suffered a massive heart attack in the bathroom and collapsed.

There is no certainty to life. Being 37 or 26 is no age to die, so many of us would concur. At the same time, no death can be justified, young or old. But, destiny doesn’t thrive on our reasoning. Are we doing enough or living life, taking care of every single moment or breathing free? We can never know what will happen tomorrow. Slogging our ass has become an art nowadays to pay bills, procreate or settle this home or car loan. Honestly speaking, I cannot claim that I make every moment count in life.

It’s on rare occasion that I meet friends, forget about partying or going on an adventure trek. It’s been ages that I haven’t gone on a date that I have forgotten how it looks.  The birthday is no reason to cheer and serves an ugly reminder, ‘You are aging and not doing enough.’ Honestly, I freak out when the birthday comes. I don’t get BPL…Bump pe Laath, anymore. My hair and beard have grown grey. The way I’ve seen the past decade, from the blissful college days, to love and break up, amazing friends, job, frustration, idleness, out of work and again an amazing job has flitted right in front of my eye. Who knows? I may not live in the next second. Tears of regret before I breathe my last. I again ask, Are you living every moment of life, claiming to be in the present and doing things that you are passionate about or it’s a drab existence? Be honest.

Facebook, selfie or Instagram uploads is no proof of happiness that someone is making the most of life. We live in the la-la-land of likes and indulge in gratification to boost our self-esteem as individuals and it’s in itself a flawed way of telling how happy or fulfilled we are. It’s a lie. There is always an issue of perception, holding the mirror to see ourselves and compare to others. The mirror boosts our ego. It’s the biggest illusion that we carry on our shoulders.

The story is classic. Study, earn money, get married, bear children and then what? We are stuck in a rut. Our sad reality! We are the product of two-faced symbolism that stands in conflict between what we desire and end up doing. Zilch! Life is a bitch. One day our tears will not compensate the missed opportunity or skip the train of wondrous life, experimenting with everything that society says No to and going on an adventure thrill with the best pals.

Just do it now. Wear this Reebok shoes, climb the muddy terrain, go on a sports adventure or fearlessly walk to this super hot woman and ask her out. Fine! You may be rejected but at least try. Go and pursue your dreams for it’s never too late. Stop thinking and go on a fling with someone or have the most amazing sex without wearing a guilty conscience. Ok! I am exaggerating here and not saying to be rambunctious. You may not want to do bungee jumpee, sleep with someone out of the blue or do sports adventure but dare to live in every moment, bring joy and do things you’ve always inspired to.

For me it is being back to India, write the novel and make a short film.

It’s never too late but a day will come when it will be too late.

Love

V

 

Tale in the sky and cloud


Glistening sky and cloud

Dribble of rain,

cool waves seeping in

Silent night,

streaming tears of happiness

sparkle of peace,

soothing energy,

sitting in the dark,

letting tenderness and gentleness flow in

harking to childhood days of love,

gentleness of our elders,

unspoken lesson of kindness and wisdom

Halcyon epoch,

trekking the mountains,

soiling the trousers and dancing in the mud

a long and forgotten era

where race, caste or class belonging didn’t matter

reclaim this innocence

let the air flow in to capture our undying spirit

time for the child to reclaim us

Time vanish like thin air

make every moment worth it

be glorious

may love always win

Love

V

Left Right Romance Chowk: Chapter 1


Hey, people! I am writing a brand new rom-com and campus romance novella on the blog, ‘Left Right Romance Chowk.’ It’s the first chapter, ‘Blueberry kiss.’ Hope you will like this fresh romance outing that I am doing after a long time.

Chapter 1: Blueberry kiss

The knotted silky long hair and black curly tresses decked on Sejal’s hair like the Pharaoh perched on its crown. The brightly painted yellow room shimmered in the sunny afternoon as sunlight percolated inside the room. The curtain was pulled out and the sea breeze blew inside. She wore a plain white tee and a black short.

The soft music, Kabhie Kabhie mere dil mein khayal aata hai aired on Radio Mirchi felt like the fresh dew inside the modest apartment standing tall in the outskirt of Mumbai and four legs separated by a thin distance. He wore a pink short. Their legs touched each other as they sat on the bed. He was wearing Sejal’s short. The smoke billowed inside the room that metamorphosed with the sunlight flowing inside. The joint was passed between both hands. Her voice chirped to the sound of a bird cooing insanely in his ear. He was already high on ganja. She was zonked.

A bottle of wine, lays chips and birthday cake was splattered on the wooden table. Her voice blurred in his ear, “Your name is too long…I am calling you Mann. Fuck this Manendra. It sounds like an orgy gone wrong.” There were no reasons to celebrate. Just like that toh party karo nahin toh bhalu ayenge humein lene was Sejal’s swan song. It rang an echo in Mann’s ear as if it has become their love anthem.

She slowly perched her body backward, oscillating from a sitting position to spread herself on the bed in a playful mood.  The peachy eyes started intensely at his green Tantra Tee shirt with the tagline, ‘Tell your boob to stop staring at my eyes.’ “You lecherous man,” she snickered. “It’s the fault of your eyes. Kya karna ka irada hai? Don’t think too much or have high expectations. I ain’t letting your quivering lip touch me. I’m no chocolate.”

He slowly pushed his body on the bed to rest on his side and grabbed the palm of her hand. The lovelorn man twisted her hair lock with his fingers. “You are a mystic princess,” he whispered. He was trying to find his balance on the small bed and awkwardly moved his body. “How are you feeling inside? Hope it’s not hurting your asset,” she winked.  It was their dare day. Sejal called the shots and challenged him to wear her clothes, pink short and underwear. They exchanged each other’s clothes, were stoned and drank wine to heavenly bliss.

“Nah!” he made a face like a sad pup eyed dog and she mocked him playfully with doe-eyed expression, “Cho chweet…my little puppy…mera bacha handsome ladka aur mein ladki beautiful.”

Mann lashed his tongue out and gravitated his head towards the rotating ceiling fan. She slapped him on the hand, “Pass me the joint na and stop behaving like a guzra zamana ka dejected Aashiq. I am no Meena Kumari, mere Dilip Kumar.”

She took a deep drag and passed to him. Their vision became blurred. “Oh! This shaadi,” he blurted out. Sejal slowly moved away from her position to sit on the bed. “Dude! Why the fuck you get such crazy ideas about shaadi? We are only 18 something. What makes you think that I am going to elope with you? I love thrills but not itna. I don’t have any intention to make history in 2017 and for fuck sake, Laila Majnu or Romeo and Juliet were chutiya.”

“This shit is so fucking good! Waise bhi who is speaking about Shaadi,” he pretended to be under some magic spell. She pulled his hair, “Dude it’s you. Where are you?”

“In your arms,” he pretended to be a coy bride and rested his head on her lap. Sejal grinned, “Yes! Of course. I thought you were selling pani puri outside Salman Khan home in Bandstand.” He laughed loud.

Beaming like a child, Mann longed for a kiss. “Please yaa! Just once,” he pleaded. She shrugged off his demand, “I told you that I am no candy or chocolate and you are no kiddo. It’s my lip. Nah! It doesn’t like your taste today. As it is, your body perfume feels like raita.

He almost belched out what the fuck…when she clung to him and pressed his mouth. Mann was too stunned to react. “Chalo! It’s been bery long time for a blueberry kiss,” she cupped her lip to his face. They kissed again and their lips were pressed together like glue, exploring every line, inch, and angle.  She brutally pulled away from him.

It hit him like an electric jolt. Mann stammered , “Excuse me!” She was unfazed, “You haven’t heard or what! Get out of my house.” He protested. She dragged him out, “Buzz out man.”

 

Love

V

 

Book Review: Love & Vodka is wine to the mind


Christina Strigas is a wonderful friend, based in Montreal and her poems are gems that make sensuality a powerful affair. I’ve been off book reviews for a while but sometimes, you need a friend to kick the lazy bum that you are into action. I took a hell long time to do the review and reading the book but when I did, it flew like gentle breeze of caress. Chrissy words on her blogs can inspire someone to create poetry out of nothing and do subscribe on her space. Apologies for taking so long to put the review. Here you are:

 

 

 

Love and Vodka-a book of poetry for glass hearts

By Christina Strigas

Genre: Poetry

If poetry is sheer madness and exuberance, word is wine to the mind. A dash of emotions, oodles of sensuality gently caressing the mind, sheer passion running through the soul and it tastes like the hurricane force of intimacy. Love and Vodka is the gentle breeze that captures everything aesthetic as the author invites you inside her world and emotions running deep through modern love, resist, love, dirty talks, tug of war and see you anon. The book takes you by storm and doesn’t leave any shred of emotion unturned, flinging right in front of your fate and existence. In one shot, it’s exuberance in all its forms.

Narration:

Christina’s choice of words is fearless and limitless making the soul alive and vibrant in all its forms. There is no limit to anything yet it embraces everything. The ‘conversations with my daughter’ is gentle and removes all burdens of past, present, and future where gap is just a word that society imposes as a stamp. Words that simply cuddle you and snuggle into the arms of an invisible love reaffirm the faith in sheer madness and messy. Be real. Christina sends a gentle but provocative message. Her words provoke and push you to an octane level, whether making love, caress or fuck.

‘If you could fuck just dare

to fuck the art in me.

The kind of sex

That would put us

Both on fire.’

She is unabashedly unapologetic and her words create a stormy furor inside the mind and body. Outrageous would be an understatement yet we love it like the wind shaking our roots violently. The tales of cities be it Brooklyn, New York or Montreal builds a visual image of free spirited soul, unshaken by boundary to embrace love, sorrow or sheer intimacy. At times, the words weaved are poignant and arcane. The writer takes you on the wide roads and cities teemed with the bustling crowd to explore the You with passion. ‘Death’ brings you face to face with the reality that you avoid with comfort but punch you hard. It knocks you down. The world becomes a dreaded existence.

It’s one sentence, simple but pregnant with meaning: ‘You can’t break up with a soul mate’. How many of us reflect on it but shrug it off? It’s the reality, the tale of our lives. The bond is deep and eternal beyond lives.

As she depicts her city or cities she lives in, a flurry of emotions pans out and paralyzes the soul that we were and cherishing the words as if our universe has stopped in an abrupt manner. The moment of joy, craving for lust and breeze that kiss our skin to make it a living experience.

‘Naked before you…snug top…words between us like sand in an ocean…naked and embrace the demons talk to them.’

Isn’t it enticing and mysterious at the same time like the reality of life sounding like a mere illusion?

The segment ‘Dirty Talk’ transgresses the bodies and skins to make it the truth serum for the soul, hardness, stiffness, and sex expressed in art form. Lust can be aesthetic. Words that cover not just the body but the love, craving for a fuck, enslaved but caught in the flurry of intense emotions. It’s a masturbation but of the mind.

‘When you fuck me,

We still make love…Do you want to fuck me?

Like what?

So honestly.

Do I make you wet?’

There is a certain honesty that many of us are shy to ask and it’s a crude form of art that shakes us off our comfort zone. The human identity is given wing and reality told in a blunt manner.  In ‘Lines of Insanity’, Christina explores the shaky existence that we take pride in and reminds us how we stop living to become dead souls.

There is ‘see you anon’ where the author treads on earth, souls and the end of it. Death can be intense and the fallacy of existence is treated in such a powerful manner through prose.

‘It is when the coffin settles, the sculpted wood evaporates, the mud dries on our boots.’

It’s about live life on the edge, tromping dangerously with ‘weeds’ making rhyme and love to make one’s mind dance and swirl to heavenly bliss.

The poem ‘Ticket Train’ is the abstract observation of life and painting of the flow of human emotions depicting love affairs, murder, rape and the death of a cat that pricks the skin and sends shudder down the spine. There is pain that overpowers the soul as we wonder where one stands at the juncture.

Christina’s ‘12 steps to writing is a real gem, one after the other, exploring the nuances of words and is sensual art on canvas to make writing simplistic yet intensely beautiful. The writer has a gift, ‘For You, The Reader’ which tastes like honey, unbridled and mystic sensuality that flow like ink kissing the naked soul. The writer traverses minds to make poetry unabashedly sexy.

Final words:

In short, Christina Strigas through her book, ‘Love and Vodka’ takes her readers on a trance and a journey of illusion. I never know that illusion and imagination could look so beautiful and enticing. A brilliant poetry collection that will stoke your creative bulb and make minds steamy, transgressing barriers.

 

You can the buy the book on Amazon. The author can be contacted on her website. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Love

V

 

My city, my heart and limitless heights


Glittering lights,

soaring to limitless heights,

Chaos is thy name,

obsession,

pride,

identity,

home to the homeless,

dash of rainbow,

sprinkle of rain,

mad rush,

where hope is worn on the sleeve,

I wear my city on my heart,

for it doesn’t know how to stop

it’s our universe,

giving us opportunity in abundance

love can be an obsession

my city shows how

it has a place and space for everyone,

doing things off limit

the slowest gathers pace in the city

it runs in our veins.

Love

V

 

Tales in cramped boxes


Hiding thousand stories behind closed doors,

Decrepit houses and worn out emotions,

as the car swirls off the flyover,

leaving lives behind

Clothes dried on window panel

Various tales in cramped boxes

Untold life

happiness, bruise, scars and struggles

Lesser mortals we chose to ignore at the highway,

sheltered inside as the door bangs open every monsoon

yelp of a baby,

cry of a battered wife

a father’s prayer to feed mouths

Starving inside

the world may choose to ignore,

stark reality of lives

sordid affairs in maximum city

siren of pressure cooker

rains washing away emotions and sins

Love

V

 

SoBo: When time never stops (II)


Mumbai is a religion. South Bombay (SoBo) is a sacred prayer for its aficionados and loyalists for it adds zing to lives, adorning the city like sweet and pure desi ghee. I bring the second part of SoBo, narrating places for its larger than life character and appeal that never stops growing on us. South Mumbai is an obsession, right from shopping like crazy at Colaba to trawling for novelty at VT, cozying at Churchgate, gliding through Peddar Road or Kemps Corner and the trilled notes of waves at Chowpatty Beach. The dock of life just never stops in Mumbai and more so in our SoBo. It’s an obsession that never halts. It forms such a potent character in our lives and jaunty existence. We may carp about pot holes but we love the city to death.

  1. Colaba

 

 

A second view of Colaba.

There is no second thought about it: Colaba is one, if not, the most frequented place in South Mumbai where people living in the western part or outskirts of the city make it a point to throng in droves every single day or week. You name it, you get it! It’s a haven for everything where you haggle among the swarm of crowd at the Colaba Causeway for a steal.

It’s the destination where branded shops snuggle with street hawkers who haven’t left any space left or stone unturned to give wind to their imaginations. Fake Gucci bags, chains, fancy wrist watch with decorations or cover, perfect imitation of designer shirts or tees, lockets or bracelets where you can scribble the name of the special someone, colourful  bangles in all hues and size, wristband, clocks, beads, fancy bells, lamps, goggles, unique toys, belts, bracelets, handcraft made elephants and Goddesses and Kohlapuri chappals for women. The list is endless.

It’s the place to shop ‘cheaply’ for your favorite items as you are transported in a fancy world and lanes of the extraordinary and magnificent items to cherish over time. Your eyes and mouth want to scoop up everything as if it’s the last plate of yum biryani. Strolling leisurely at the Causeway and shopping for small items was one of my favorite activities where I would visit Colaba every two days to whine time or gape at everything ‘marvellous’. It feels like an invisibly mysterious force that sucks you inside some Chamber of Secret. I remember bagging my prized toy, the iconic black, and white taxi for 70 bucks after much haggling.

 

Image credit: http://www.travenix.com
Olympia Cafe at Colaba serves one of the most amazing cakes.

There is no dearth of eateries such as Picadilly, Cafe Churchill, New Apollo or Sahakari Bhandar that serves one of the best vegetarian foods, be it Pulao, Biryani or Pav Bhaji. One of my best places for breakfast was Olympia to gorge on the caramel custard and flavored cake, decorated in various colors, green, yellow, Orange, and pink coated with cream exuding a flavor of exquisite ice cream. I call it the cheap man breakfast served with amazing Indian chai or coffee. Of course, bread and Kheema are always something to die for. It’s delectable.

In the mood for yummy and mouth-watering non-veg food at an affordable price, Baghdadi which is behind Colaba Causeway and minutes away from Gateway of India and the grand Taj Mahal Hotel is the place to be. Beef and mutton fry masala were priced between 25 to 30 bucks in those days with a jumbo naan worth 5 bucks that fill the stomach to perfection. Of course, Bade Miyan serves a multitude of legendary food such as Seekh Kabab, Mutton Seekh roll, and Chicken Reshmi Tikka. The tables are set and spread on the bustling street as you relish your food with cars zooming behind you. It’s truly a jewel in South Mumbai.

There are so much to do and see in South Mumbai, stretching your legs at length wading past Regal cinema and entering the world of Colaba Causeway where you can spot small jewelry shop. Believe it or not, once I landed myself a decent room for 100 bucks in 2004/05. The room was enough to move luggage, legs and sleep with two beds, a small table, and chair.  It’s no shady place but was quite cozy which translates the spirit of Mumbai finding expressing and giving an identity in cramped space showing seamless happiness.

Waltzing at the Gateway of India for the first time becomes an enthralling affair where you set on a path of discovery and indulge in a squinting exercise. It’s marvelous, the deep water at the bridge, admiring the boats on all four sides and taking a walk where visitors and couples strike a pose.  Be wary of photographers who hound you and pressing for money in advance for hunting them may be quite a task. Not quite so in today’s times where everyone has a smartphone with camera. Monsoon is one of the best times to visit Gateway of India and the waves crashing and water splashing behind your back as you stand with your back firmly entrenched to the bridge propel you to jump or feel the cold waves with the wind blowing in your direction. One of my favorite past time was to bend my body on the bridge and watch the deep water, spritzing walk, the caress of the sea waves, breeze, and water accompanying me as a protective force. The Taj Hotel is one of the city’s monuments and an architectural marvel that your eyes doesn’t want to leave since it’s a tale of glittery gold. I enjoyed walking in the concrete pathway where Taj is housed, admiring the branded shops on the ground floor and the marbles where the bricks are done with an aesthetic taste that makes it a blissful moment in life.

Drinking in Colaba and clubbing finds echo the spirit with much-frequented places like Leopold, catching a cricket or football match at Sports Express Bar and guzzling beer at Cafe Monde. Of course, Gokul is always a cheap option but worth visiting in a lifetime.

One of my best places at Colaba is Barista off Hanuman Mandir. You can reach there either by walking through the Gateway and Taj Pathway or on the main road at Colaba Cause where you take a left just after the Hanuman Mandir. It’s quite big and spacious. There are two sides to the coffee bar, one is the AC room and the other compartment gives a colonial ambience since it’s an open-air shelter made of mortar bricks and spacious with wooden structure where you can enjoy your thick cappuccino, smoke and watch the traffic swirling outside with the cars and buses screeching their way. In short, it’s cozy, comfortable and super friendly.

2. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

 

Originally and famous as Victoria Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is one of the biggest central railways in SoBo for the Central Lines and translates into the culture enshrined by Mumbaikars. Trains are our lifelines chugged to thrust us on our feet.   Every single day, 6.3 lakhs commuters travel on the iconic station that was built in 1887 and bearing the imprint of British architects Frederick William Stevens and Axel Heig. The Gothic structure and the huge clock make it a very thematic and aesthetic marvel that finds its way among the gems in South Mumbai. It has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage which is never shy in attracting tourists in drove.

The iconic station was earlier named Bori Bunder before it was christened VT and now CST, has two main lines, one is local Central Railway and the second is, Indian railway traveling from one destination in India to the other. The booking counter for traveling outside Mumbai is enshrined in a large, spacious and amazingly done Gothic structure adorned with huge steel pillars.  The window and dome structure is crafted in a half circle, circumference form coupled with dotted and shiny window structure which bears its signature design, owing to the Raj era. The booking is super efficient with the token system as you sit and admire the delightful structures and in no time, the job is done. At night, the station shines in iridescent colorful lighting that sparkles in all corners and forms where the place becomes truly alive.

The CST area is one place which is no short on entertainment, be it the nonveg food on the street stalls, cheap restaurants and semi-luxury or comfort for foodies. You name it, you get! There was a small, dingy non-veg place as one get out of CST station and scything past the bus terminus which was the place to be for me.  It’s a small and cramped place but bearing a homely feeling where the mutton curry or Biryani was available during those times for 15 bucks.

 

 

Taking a detour, the bus terminus at CST was always a favorite for the fruit salad, Bombay sandwich, bananas, Vada Pav for cheap and the delectable taste quenched the hunger raging in the growling stomach.

Off you walk past CST towards the JJ school of Arts which is one of the landmarks to your right and keep walking at a stretch and sweating it out in the heat, you come face-to-face with the Maharashtra Police Department which is not far away from Crawford Market. It’s another iconic and colonial building made of brick in the hustle-bustle of city life. There is more to the entire sprawling space when I had a chance to zoom my way inside to see the numerous police chowki and police quarters.  Trust me, you can zigzag and lose your way if you don’t ask for directions from the cops stationed inside their vans. There are the north and south wings, grand entrance floor where the panel teak ceiling will grab your attention. It’s called the nerve centre where major decisions and planning are taken to ensure Mumbaikars sleep peacefully at night and the city breath.

 

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View of Crawford market. Image credit:@ dnaindia.com

Time to get a peek into the crowded and popular Crawford Market nestled between CST station and the Mohamed Ali Road. The market was built during the British Raj and has been renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandi but is still apparently known by its iconic name. The market has a charm of both the old and new world, boasting of its old colonial structure, cone building that reminds one of the traditional Bombay at a time where every city is losing its spark to the new, superficial structure and every old legacy is being razed off. The Crawford Market stands tall as you enter the world of birds, parrots, fresh fruits, imported chocolates, cosmetics, dry food, spices and goodies, garments and every imaginable thing under one single roof where you will never be tired of shopping and visiting. It brings to the mind the ubiquitous charm and simplicity of the old Bombay days at Mohammed Ali Road.

 

View from JJ Flyover.

Everything vintage Bombay is sprawled in this part of the city merging branded and small, modest shops, old flats in the buildings dating back to ages. Taking a ride on JJ Fly is a wondrous trip snuggled between the old, decrepit buildings and apartments. Of course, Eid is one festival where this part of the city sparkle with the best food, deserts, and delicacies cooked spicy hot on the streets, restaurants serving unique dishes and shopping for garments, kurtas and salwar. The uniquely amazing crowd throng during Eid showcases the cosmopolitan culture of Mumbai. Tootle your way below the JJ flyover and you are chaperoned by a line-up of hotels and restaurants where you should absolutely try the Chicken Sanju Baba at Noor Mohammadi Hotel on Mohammed Ali Road. The recipe was given by superstar Sanjay Dutt who visited the place late at night and entered the kitchen to concoct this amazing dish.

Of course, CST boasts of several cinema theaters right from Sterling, New Excelsior, and New Empire. One of my favorite hang-out was at Barista which is minutes away from Mc Donald and New Empire Theatre where I was a regular almost every day sitting with the gang outside, having coffee, chatting and smoking.

3. Chowpatty Beach

 

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Image credit: http://footage.framepool.com Chowpatty Beach.

Girgaum Chaupati our famous Chowpatty beach off Marine lines is one of the biggest city attractions with the crystal clear white sand and various food outlets, Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Pani Puri, Bombay Sandwich, Masala Dosa, Bhel Puri, Papdi Chaat steamily cooked right in front of your eyes and the Bombay Falooda or Gola sipping at the beach. It takes the Mumbai spirit to a whole new level. The beach always teems with children running and prancing, lovers stealing a silent intimate moment at dawn to watch the magnificent sunset. There are balloon sellers set to make a killing to the children’s delight and you can sit on the beach and plod the naked feet watching the waves crash. It celebrates the spirit of Mumbai in all its forms and colors.

There are numerous coffee shops such as CCD opposite to the beach, popular branded shops such as Levis but also Wilson College just opposite the sea. As you walk towards the beach, you can spot the restaurant owned by actor Sunil Shetty H20 and of the course, the beach is walking distance from Nariman Point and Marine Drive which makes for good 20 to 25 minutes exercise. But, you also get the BEST buses from Marine Drive that ferries passengers to Chowpatty beach. Of course, the Taraporewala Aquarium and the Savitri Phule Girls Hostel are very near to the beach and keep walking off Girgaun Chowpatty, there is a sea of discovery that awaits you. One of the best place to visit is during the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi to witness how Mumbaikar come together, singing Ganpati Bappa Morya and immersing the idols of Ganpati in the sea.

Whether it’s the Marine Line flyover where vehicles storm the way in a rush as you make your way to Bombay Hospital or Liberty cinema at Marine Line or Inox Metro, it gives a feel of life moving at blistering pace.

There are a couple of landmarks very near to Chowpatty and one of them is Walkeshwar Road which you can reach by turning right after Wilson Collge and keep driving. There are several interesting spots such as Walkeshwar temple and the Hanging Gardens as well as St Elizabeth and Kemp Hospital. Aditya was one friend who stayed at Mumbai Central with whom I would initially stay in my earlier days and at night, he would drive me on his bike. The night drive is dazzling with the lights adorning the city. Of course, Dhobi Ghat which is the spot of washer men cannot be missed in the city to get a feel of the real Mumbai.

4.Kemps Corner, Nepansea Road and Cuffe Parade

The posh, high flyer and most expensive localities in the suburbs boast of city heavens like Kemps Corner, Peddar Road and Nepeansea Road that lie at the crossroad, offering breathing taking views.  High-end shops, hair parlors, upmarket shopping outlets, banks, coffee shops frequented by the creamy crowd have found a place in the frame of filmmakers capturing the city to perfection on celluloid with the wide roads amid fanfare, frenzy, and chaos of a city life. Make no mistake, property prices of sea facing ostentatious flats and bungalows start above Rs 8 to 10 crores. The sloppy roads are a treat to walk in the monsoon and admiring the vehicles swarming their way and honking can blow your ears like splitting glasses.

 

Kemps corner.
Image credit: http://d131n82dij7gxv.cloudfront.net

It makes the city life a tale worth captured in your memory box. Of course, Cuffe Parade makes for a joyous outing to one’s aesthetic senses, appreciating everything grand and marvelous in an opulent fashion.  It wouldn’t be ludicrous to state that Cuffe Parade bears the great divide in the city where on one hand you have the rich and famous snuggled in palatial sky rises and swearing by obnoxious wealth but on the other hand, slums dwellers of Ambedkar Nagar surviving on morsels and living in match box, which was partially demolished this year.

No wonder Mumbai is a city where folks crave for the extraordinary, opulent, simple and below ordinary in the same fashion. Elphinstone Road is your go getting place for everything electronic be it mobile, laptop or repairs. The world impossible simply doesn’t exist on Elphi and ask it, you get it.

5. Churchgate

Back to sashaying one’s way to Churchgate as promised and you can read the earlier post here. This part of the city has never ceased to fascinate and intrigue me at the same time, be it the fashion street for cheap stuff or Khau Galli off the station. Churchgate station has always remained a favorite spot which I made home eons ago for two years. It seemed like a life time. The Biryani sold outside Churchgate station for a measly 20 bucks, paperback books and the uncle who sells all of the wares from China, be it fancy gas lighter, scissors, newspapers, and magazines, imported cigarettes during those days-aha the Marlboro pack of ten from Malaysia. You will find him under the umbrella near LIC building. Take a walk towards Baroda Bank and there is this shop I call magic, Enkays with its fancy lighters, zippo and imported cigarettes were a luxury in those days off Dinshaw Vacha Road.

Of course, the guy making anda burji at night was the place to visit, and soothing drinks like Mango which was a favorite, rose or chikoo flowing in a huge container. Mango drink was always a favorite for me that soothed and cooled the heels in the hot summer.

Our real treat started past midnight outside Churchgate station gorging on the yummy bun maska and sipping hot tea. It’s one of the road stalls that concocts a delicious serving of bun maska at nightfall as we admired the city, right from the Rajabhai Tower at Fort when the clock struck and Bombay High Court or the last train siren at 1.40 a.m

Strolling around ITC and Ambassador Hotels off Marine Drive is always a pleasurable activity where we would be spending our time in the cafeteria past one in the morning and in those days, a coffee worth 70 bucks came with a refill, enough to keep our body and brain well oiled to study till the wee morning hours.

Discover a fancy world in Asiatic Department that has everything for you as your body temperature sizzles to the ac, flitting your steps from one place to the other, boasting of snobbery, simplicity and jazzy where you get everything in this ‘fairyland’. It was my feeling when I first entered this haven for the first time in 2002 which became my favorite that displayed home wares, spices, dry fruits, food, medicines, footwear, cards, flowers, memorabilia and anything your mind can ever imagine.

Simply Mumbai

Love

V