Mumbai Travelogue : Withstanding pepper spray and rescuing Canadians


It all began with a whispered excited discussion at work, while everyone else was busy typing away feverishly, me and DV were making plans for the next long weekend of Diwali. ‘Mumbai’ that’s the place to go!, as neither of us had seen Mumbai we were quite intrigued by the idea. Immediately we were surfing Makemytrip, luckily the tickets were available cheap, our first ever solo trip, but of course our parents had no idea that we had already made the bookings when we asked for their permission wearing the foolproof puppy face.

21st of October: The much awaited day had finally arrived, 2 months of waiting and looking at the tickets lying in my drawer with longing, we were going to the land of dreams as they call it. We met at the airport early morning literally jumping and hugging each other, proud of our first salary trip. The airport staff grinned at us, two young girls skipping with joy as they handed over our boarding passes. After an array of selfie sessions and facebook check in’s, we heard the announcement for our flight. Once inside the aircraft, only one thing was going through our heads, ‘who gets the window seat’.

We both looked at each other and immediately understanding the others’ intention, made a dash for it, running, pulling each other by the bags, literally wrestling our way to the seats and falling with a loud crash in the aisle, getting rude and disgusted glances for our less than elegant entry. It was her who got the window seat. (Sigh).

I opened up a book while she glued herself to the window, reminding me of a gecko.

A little while after when the snacks were being given out, DV spotted her inflight eyecandy, a young attractive flight steward pouring out tea.

‘I want tea!’ she said instantly, ‘you never have tea’, I said, ‘so what, one can always start’. Gesturing the steward she called him, he put on his brightest smile for her and vice-versa, while I sat there rolling my eyes.

 Some two hours later and 3 rounds of tea, we landed in Mumbai.

The humid air of Mumbai could not dampen our spirits while we looked around ardently like two kids inside a zoo. The ride to our accommodation was a long one as we were staying in Worli. I thought of texting my dad only to find that my phone was dead.

 After settling in, we decided to take a walk down to Worli Naka and hunt for a mobile repair shop. After several failed attempts, my phone could not be fixed and stayed dead for the rest of the trip. If you ask me it was bliss, disconnecting yourself from technology.

The day was spent in sightseeing, walking down the crowded lanes of Dadar and snacking on roadside vada pav.

22nd of October: WAKE UP! WAKE UP! LETS GO OUT!

DV shook me awake the next morning. ‘I’m on a holiday’, I mumbled and pulled the covers over my head. ‘Have you come here to sleep dude!’, she said, and pulled me out of bed.

As we made our way to Juhu Beach, we decided to go via sealink, it was an exquisite drive, you feel like you’re zooming on the Manhattan Bridge until ofcourse Bandra starts and you’re rudely brought back to the here and now.

Juhu beach was eventful, after experimenting with the various street foods of Mumbai (I am officially in love with Mumbai Ka kala khatta) and a couple of encounters with sleazy eve teasers. We went to Versova, chai coffi. There was a secluded beach right behind and we decided to explore it a little only to find it was not a beach worthy of taking a walk, unless you want cigarette stubs and wrappers stuck to your sole, and also not to mention numerous couples getting cozy on the sly behind the large rocks.

We decided to meet up with a couple of friends at Boveda in Andheri. The evening was spent in enthusiastic chatter, when a friend noticed a can of pepper spray which DV was carrying. Being a Delhiite, she was always well equipped. Intrigued our friend asked to have a look at it. Observing it like a thingamajig, he blatantly sprayed a little bit of it right at the main door. The other three of us ran inside abandoning him. Any of you who have not had the misfortune of experiencing pepper spray, let me tell you, the feeling is quite similar to when your mom adds that dreadful 'tadka' to the dal, it burns like crazy! You cant breathe or open your eyes.

It didn’t take long for the effect of the spray to spread throughout the club, soon everyone was coughing and sneezing, the waiters rubbing their eyes, looked around desperately to find the source of this chaos.

While the four of us were not spared by the evil of the pepper spray, we could not stop laughing hysterically on how a tiny looking object could create such a ruckus. Three very suspicious waiters pointed toward us, we slowly made our way out before anyone called the cops.

We went inside The Little Door, which is right around the corner, as the name says it, the door was actually very little, we had to climb inside, (little cumbersome if you’re wearing a skirt). The night went by in club hopping and dancing.

23rd of October: Today the tourist in us awakened and we decided to explore the city. We went to Candies in Pali for breakfast and got a pack of red velvet cupcakes.

Mumbai trip would be incomplete without a visit to the Gateway of India. It was very crowded, perhaps due to the long weekend.

We spotted a large group of people surrounding two foreigners, posing for pictures with everyone, we waited for the crowd to disperse before we asked them whether they were famous or something. They both chuckled and said ‘oh no’, they were students of a film school in Vancouver. Apparently they had been stuck here posing for pictures with random people for the past 40 minutes. The local photographers that roam the area were using them as a prop to attract the crowd for a picture, ‘aayiye firangiyon ke saath photo khichayiye!’ (come get clicked with the foreigners). We felt ashamed wondering what these two guests of our country must be thinking. After a short argument with the photographers we managed to pull them away from the crowd and told them, next time something like this happens, you just have to say NO.

Delighted to be away from the madness, they both thanked us for rescuing them and offered to treat us to a coffee. Having our own agenda we respectfully declined and bid them farewell, much to DV’s dismay, (‘coffee toh pee lete yaar!’) :-P

We took the local train (which was thankfully not crowded). Standing by the door with the wind blowing through our hair we were reminded of the ample amount of bollywood movies we grew up watching.

We went to a tiny pub in Pali, where they asked for our ID’s, the manager with a no nonsense attitude said, sorry you are underage and we cant serve you alcohol. DV in a performance worthy of an oscar said, sir, please, thoda adjust karlo, hum Dilli se aaye hain (Kindly adjust a little, we have come all the way from Delhi). He snorted and finally agreed.

We decided to dine in style and headed to Olive Bar and Kitchen, dressed in tshirts and shorts, we looked out of place among the classy people that were there, the manager probably thought we had lost our way. Depositing our Bisleri bottle (which was not allowed in) at the door we went inside.

We sat across each other with a single candle lit in between browsing through the menu, we hoped to see at least one film star as this was a celebrity spotting point. DV’s phone rang, it was her brother, he hooted with laughter at the fact that we were expecting celebrities at 8pm, ‘they come around after 11pm, go home’, we both wondered what to do, it felt rude to just leave like this. As the waiter looked away we both slowly got up from our seats and briskly walked out. ‘I am not going back there again after this stunt’, I said. ‘Wait I forgot something’, DV ran back. Moments later she came back holding that Bisleri bottle. (SERIOUSLY!?).

We sat at Marine Drive in the meantime waiting for the clock to strike 11. A group of people were sitting there playing guitars and singing songs of Kishore Kumar and O.P Nayyar. They were really good, soon a crowd gathered around to hear them. Its nice to see that these golden classic songs are still alive among the youth.

 As the clock stuck 11, we both had become really hungry and made our way back to the restaurant we had very conspicuously sneaked out of. The managers and the waiters were delighted to see us back (Sarcasm). Putting on their most forced smile they said ‘Welcome back ma’am!’

Browsing through the menu yet again, the same waiter shows up (groans!), ‘Welcome back ma’am’ he said with the sunniest smile ‘aap wahi hain na jo thodi der pehele chale gaye the?’ (you are the same person who left a while ago?)

‘We’d like to order now if you please’, I said with all the attitude I could gather.

24th of October: This was our last day in the city of dreams, and we wanted to make the most of it. We made our way to the beach and spent the afternoon splashing around in the muddy water, (for people deprived of beaches, this is actually bliss).

Meeting another friend over lunch somewhere in Powai, we were so engrossed in talking, we hadn’t realized how horribly late we were, our friend drove us in a way I had only seen in Fast and Furious. We managed to reach just in time for the final announcement, an airport staff member, looking like he had developed blood pressure problems by waiting for us, ushered us in the bus.

Since it was around the festive time of Diwali, the view from above was breathtaking. It was the icing on the cake and a beautiful end to this trip. Mumbai, you will always have a special place in my heart!