My parents always wanted to visit Mumbai; “Bombay” theycall it so.
They came all the way from Assam to visit Bangalore and decided impromptu to detour and visit Mumbai for a day. I and my husband quickly put our brains together to figure out an itinerary that would showcase Mumbai’s many vibrant moods without leaving my parents exhausted at the end of the day.
Years are not enough to discover Mumbai and here we had just a day.
First Stop: British Brewing Company
We started the day with a brunch at our favorite local gastro-pub, British Brewing Company. Two reasons for taking them there: (1) good food, essentially, (2) a quick glimpse at the mall culture (for the cosmopolitan quotient), since the pub is situated inside Oberoi mall.
Second Stop: Juhu Beach
After the brunch, we hopped in a taxi to the famous Juhu chowpatty where many a film has been shot. There was an-ever-so-slight drizzle that made the beach look better. The crowd, the balloons, the smell of chatpata chats, the professional photographers hovering at the edges of your vision. After taking crazy photographs at the beach, we headed to the chat stalls. That place smelt so “inviting” on a rainy day. Pav Bhaji, Kulfi, Chats… the roasted spices wafting through. Even after a heavy brunch, my parents shared a chat as a symbol/rite of visiting Juhu Chowpatty.
Third Stop: Colaba via Bandra-Worli Sea Link
After Chowpatty, we went to Colaba. Going towards Colaba, we deliberately took the Sea Link so our parents could see the architectural brilliance of the bridge and the cityscape. They totally loved the magnificence of it all.
While driving around, my husband had a running commentary on the history of Mumbai or where which celebrities live. Like, when driving through Juhu, we showed them where Big B lives or when in Worli, he showed them Haji Ali (maybe they can visit it next time around), Ambani’s residence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium, the Porche showroom, Heera-Panna market and such other nooks and crannies of Bombay.
Fourth stop: Gateway of India & Taj Hotel
Finally, we reached the Gateway of India. It was still drizzling lightly but we didn’t mind. We watched the ferries bobbing in the water, we captured moments at the Gateway, acknowledged its history. We didn’t forget the Taj Hotel and the tragedy. We discussed that unfateful, black day. Standing at the stone-walls bordering the pavement, we marveled at the sea, the city’s history, its culture, its humane spirit. My mother was amused seeing the decorated tangas and my father asked about the oil drills seen at a distance. We spent quite some time at the Gateway.
Fifth Stop: Colaba Causeway
When it was dusk, we slowly walked through the ancient, cobbled pavements and reached Colaba Causeway. The lights shone from the stores of the many sellers at the Causeway. I find it very difficult to walk through without getting distracted. Invariably, I end up buying something or the other. The Causeway looks so glittery… just can’t help myself. I saw my mother gaping at some of the wares. Like mother, like daughter!
Sixth Stop: Leopold Cafe
We entered Leopold café for snacks. Leopold Café had already been a legendary place but after 26/11, more so. One can see the numerous bullet holes in the walls and pillars; it’s a reminder of the black day. My parents soaked in the vibrant atmosphere of the café while sipping coffee.
My mother whispered, “Can you take a picture of me with that beer tower in the background; make sure the white gentleman appears? I want to show it to my colleagues back home!”
It was 8PM by the time we were out of Leopold Café. We took a taxi back home. I thought they would be sleeping on our long ride home, but I was wrong. They were looking out of the window as Mumbai city buzzed by. I think they like the city. I think they will be back soon.