Day 15 of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge and the letter M for the AtoZ Blogging Challenge
M is for .... Mumbai
After posting a very serious post for L I thought I would lighten up a bit and write about my memories of Mumbai. So here goes ...
I would get a rupee a day as pocket money. I usually spent it on a choc-cream ice cream and peanuts. And I still had a bit left over at the end of the week that went into my trusty piggy bank. Over the 5 years at Senior School the peanut packet got progressively smaller exemplifying the law of diminishing returns.
A plate of Bhelpuri or 5 dahi puris cost one rupee. I remember many years later when I asked for a rupee plate of dahi puri, the bhaiya (vendor) looked at me like I was completely insane. He was too polite to say it in words and as he was the gully (lane) bhaiya for many years he handed me one puri on a plate as a gesture of goodwill for past custom.
Coca-cola gave way to Thums up - I never liked Coca-cola again. Chiclets were our favourite chewing gum and the phantom candy cigarettes were the only cigarettes I ever "smoked".
The Mumbai sandwich is a unique culinary delight that has to be experienced as it cannot be described. The sandwich bhaiya outside our University college would often call me Indira. It was a handy name as each time he made that blunder, he awarded me a free sandwich! I marvelled at how among hundreds of students who flocked to the stand, he remembered the orders - hot for D, very hot for S, medium hot for R and bland for Indira!
Cassata ice-cream and chicken sandwiches at the Kwality restaurant at Kemps Corner - the most Divine chicken sandwiches ever eaten.
Studying late into the night for exams and rewarding our hard work for the day with midnight jaunts to Chowpatty to have "blotting paper" kulfi was as exciting as opening up the birthday gifts.
Emphasising "special" chai when ordering from the chaiwalla at work - this was to ensure that the chai was made in a separate pot from coffee and that it was sweetened with sugar and not jaggery.
Sitaphal (Custard Apple), Chikoo, Lychee, Ratnagiri Alfonso mangoes - how I miss those fruits.
As teenagers, we learned the art of getting on and off the BEST buses and perfected it over time but for this, the umbrella was a compulsory piece of equipment. I got very good at using it effectively on the bus. And getting a seat upstairs on the double decker bus was a treat.
The 11am Saturday matinee show at the Empire Cinema (opposite the Sterling Cinema) was a regular haunt after boring Accounting lectures. I've lost count of how many times I watched Romeo and Juliet. Leonard Whiting was heavenly reprieve for surviving a class full of assets and liabilities that fell off the balance sheet into oblivion.
I lived through 2 Indo-Pak wars clutching my dog Snoopy under the dining table in darkened rooms (black chart paper taped on all the windows) when the air raid sirens went off.
Gully cricket - this was even more riveting than any televised cricket match and far more entertaining than any available Doordarshan TV programme.
Dandiya Ras during Navratri - the "dhanta ta ta" beat that will forever be stuck in my head.
The annual Hindi movie at Diwali projected on a white bedsheet in the gully - rich, poor, old, young - we all came together for 3 hours of entertainment.
The 1000+ cracker salute at Diwali that went on through the night and scared both my dogs Snoopy and Fuji to death.
Govinda, Ganpati visarjan, Holi - If you have to celebrate festivals, do it in Mumbai!
These and many more are memories of my days in Mumbai that are etched in my mind and will live forever.
And instead of posting the usual iconic stuff you see in Mumbai, I will try and show the Mumbai that makes it so special for me.
bazaar at Linking Road, Bandra
Hanuman Ghanteshwar (Bell) Temple, Khar
Wherever you go in Mumbai you are sure to bump into a temple, mosque or church.
At the Gateway of India - Victoria rides
Someone's wedding - The weddings in India are something to be seen and experienced
Coconuts - being brought down from the tree
Sharpening knives - Churi Dharwalla
Palm trees - my favourite trees. Palm trees look so elegant.
Shoe at Kamala Nehru Park
Sunset from Joggers Park - The sunsets in Mumbai are spectacular
I am so grateful for the chance to have been born in and lived in such an exciting city - Mumbai meri jaan.