Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simply Mumbai....

Mumbai! The city with the most repetitive set of adjectives… gilts, glamour, spirited and what not? It isn’t necessarily a city that would excite the ardent traveler to a large extent considering the chaotic qualities that any large city has. And yet, for many of us this city holds a special place. An incomprehensive quality that can be phrased as The Mumbai effect!  
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From buying shoes as a little girl, going to the Juhu choupati, slanting noses to the smell of entering Mumbai, to very recently coming here to take interviews and do photoshoots, my affair with this charming city is a long one! We meet on and off but whenever we do, we fit like a glove!
            A journey to India would be incomplete without visiting Mumbai. It has a significance of a pinch of salt in your food… it matters! Mumbai represents on so many levels what modern India is all about. But if you are expecting to see a replica of Slumdog millionaire and just want to get your heart warmed up, Mumbai will throw at your face so much more diversity… This town has a capacity to generate so much more in you… It can leave you astonished one second while at next you may feel completely lost… a little episode can inspire you more than a self-help book and at times the chaos could become too much to handle… you will meet strangers, freaks, amazing friends, inspiring personas, helpless children, warm faces and a lot more… The important thing is to dive in, and the lukewarm tides will take care of the rest.
There is so much about this maximum city that a single article won’t be enough. Following is a daylong schedule on what to do in Mumbai. And an exciting experience is a promise!
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 First of all, start your day early! Mumbai mornings are beautiful and more importantly it’s better to start before the nasty sun starts bothering you too much. A nice breakfast of Bun omelete and Chai at any irani restaurant is good enough to keep you going. After you get some food in your belly take a walk starting from Victoria terminal towards the fort area. The combination of beautiful European architecture and chaotic crowd is stunning. If you are interested in Art, take a stop at Kala Ghoda for a while and Visit the Jahangir art gallery. It’s one of the most acclaimed galleries in India and it’s impossible to remain unaffected by its nostalgic charm.  It was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir at the urging of K. K. Hebbar and Homi Bhabha. It was built in 1952. Managed by the Bombay Art Society, the entire cost of this mansion was donated by Cowasji Jehangir. Along with that it’s a must to Visit the National Gallery of Modern Art. NGMA was established on March 29, 1954 by the Government of India, with a gallery in New Delhi. Its collection of more than 14,000 works includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore,Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.
By the time you are done with this, it may be time for lunch. In case you are tired by all the walking, get a taxi to flora fountain. It will cost you merely 30 bucks. There is a huge variety of restaurants and you can make your pick depending on your mood and budget. When I am in a capacity to splurge, my pick is “Fountain sizzlers” right next to Bombay stock exchange. It’s a little place and could be hard to notice. Look for an orange sign with white lettering and lots of formal attired men and women with tight ties and shiny shoes. Geek chic as we like to call it. It’s a sophisticated place with a lot of Bombay exchange employees coming there for lunch. In fact that’s one of the reasons why I like to go there. A part of me is really excited to hear the heated arguments about Economics and policies. Tired faces and eyes staring at CNBC on the plasma installed. And of course it’s one of the best sizzlers I have tasted so you won’t be disappointed on any level. If you are short on cash but not ready to compromise on the taste buds, the roadside Mumbai sandwiches are sent directly from heaven. The gooey cheese and perfectly grilled bread is a combination to die for. But this recommendation comes with a huge disclaimer sign. Eat at your own risk. Make sure it suits you digestion system.

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The equation of Mumbai and local trains is undeniable. I am sure within your stay in Mumbai you will get plenty of chances to travel by the local. Don’t get intimidated by the aggressive crowd and grab the chance! You won’t regret it! The sheer life dancing inside the tiny space is spell bounding. People cramped in tiniest corners, women arguing over a seat and laughing over a silly joke with the same person within minutes gives you a whole new perspective on human relationships. Random women appearing from nowhere and making convincing sales of rubber bands and earrings, trusting you with the possession of all their stock while they make a visit to the other end of the compartment, it all made me sit up and look… really look! The confident body language of every mumbaikar, from an old women selling fish to a pencil skirt wearing officer… it all somehow fits… they seem like an effortless part of a smooth churning wheel and make you feel like you are too!
            Evenings are booked to be spent at marine drive! It’s nonnegotiable. A crooked line of cement going as far as your eyes can go and joy of just staring at the sea sipping tea is indeed a JOY!
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            A day in Mumbai is peanuts compared to the night life! From going clubbing to taking a quiet walk alongside the mesmerizing queen’s necklace, your options are plenty. My preferred choice is coffee at bandstand. Your can make a pick from Café coffee day or Barista right opposite Shah Rukh Khan’s house, Mannat. Crazy fans taking pictures in front of his house is certainly an entertaining sight. The sound of tides and rare cool breezes can be a topping of your coffee. If you are in the mood of a drive in the middle of the night, you might catch some celebrities too. The cityscapes you see on your way with millions of sparkling lights, is a delight for any photographer.
            No matter how many ornamented words I find to describe this city, the feeling that it generates is something to be experienced first hand! After all, there is nothing minimum about this city!


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