Sunday, July 27, 2008

the city of dreams

We visited Bombay in the year 2002. It was quite a long period since we had gone on a winding tour. Of course, we were happy about it. Bombay and all the charisma attached to it. I wonder what made me fall for it. Of all the other metros that i've visited, Bombay stands out. Really.

We reached Bombay in the afternoon after about a day's journey from Bengaluru. We alighted, went straight to our place of stay. We had lunch and went about the place. We were led to Linking Road(hope i got the name correctly). This is supposed to be the main shopping area in the city. It is long road lined with shops, which sell clothes, footwear, accessories... what not. Company showrooms were present alongside with small walk-in shops. We were in awe. The road and the shop never seemed to end at all.

We decided to have our dinner at Chowpatty. I had heard of how snacks et al sell there. People flock there, to satisfy their taste buds. The elders rested on the sand, while we kids played on the beach until sundown. The sand was warm, with a pleasant breeze blowing in from the sea. This is the bestest attribute of the sea.

We approached one of the innumerable shops which sold chaats, papads, pakodas, sodas. With or without discretion, every stall appears the same. And we settled for one. Food came, and we put those spoonfuls inside, only to swallow it with difficulty. It is so different, the taste, which seems so unpalatable. Everything, right from pani puri, to pav bhajji. We left the stall, on an unhappy note. Saying that chaats at one's own place would understandably taste better. On coming back to our rooms, we had wholesome south-indian fare.

I don't remember the exact sequence of events.

We visited Water World. A launch takes us from the mainland to that place. It's about an hours journey. It was fun there. There was this water slide at a height. Nobody from our group had tried it. Me, being brave, came down by it. It was almost a free-fall, at the end of which, i was very glad to be on solid-ground. Three girls including me, deviated from the others. Father got worried that we were lost. A huge new place. Mother and another lady were on our lookout. Delight lit their faces, visibly. That we were scolded goes without mention. Another uncle lost his cell-phone and we decided to call it quits. Snacking at McDonald's, we again, gathered our strength.

Returning back to our lodge was tedious. Traffic jams haunted us. At the same time, it was pretty. The lights lining the waterfront. Awesome!

Another day was spent in travelling to the Elephanta Caves. These caves are again, located on an island, and can be reached by a launch. Huge sculptures of the Bodhisattva adorn the gloomy caves. There are about ten caves, which all contain the Buddha in various lights. The inside of these caves is real dank. Resting beside the sea, Bombay is humid enough. But, Elephanta Caves can drain one from all forms of moisture. We, later, drank fruit juices, flavoured milk to out hearts content.

We also saw the Mumba Devi temple, from which the city takes it's name. A flight of steps reach down to the sea. The temple is dirty, and one can avoid the steps. The Siddhi Vinayaka temple with it's gold plated ceiling has a golden idol of Lord Ganesha. This temple in particular is to bring luck to anybody, and her/his wish is said to be granted.

Linking Road beckoned there once again, with all it's shops. And we shopped and shopped.

Charming, one could say. Perhaps, that is that which pulled me tot it.

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