Sunday, 17 July 2016

City of Dreams: SoBo in a Day

While many debate over the authenticity of its name, and even more argue if it's the ‘City of dreams’ or the ‘City of Night Life’, the silent spectator in me wanted to live what Mumbai is in it’s packed trains, stall laden stations, bustling streets, and jam packed food joints.

As said, one often ignores what’s at hand. Living in Delhi, I’ve flown down to Mumbai in many domestic airlines for academic and professional pursuits. While the glamorous airports, high rises, posh food, and magnificent night life have encapsulate most such visits, this time I decided to take a detour of the coveted SoBo (South Bombay) circuit on a Saturday. Yes, you read it right. One extra day forced into plan to accommodate a trip through Mumbai’s day life. So, here’s the itinerary:

Churchgate Station

Mode: Mumbai slow local

The hub of the world renowned Mumbai dabbawalas distribution network and the cornerstone of Mumbai locals, you’ll feel the rush in the air irrespective of when you get there. Long quick strides all around and even longer queues told me I maybe in for something quirkily different.

Cannon Pav Bhaji

Credits: Zomato

There’s food, roadside savories, the Mumbaiya street food, and then there’s Cannon. A humble shop with small menu of thirst quenchers, chaas (butter-milk), vada-paos and an assortment of pav bhaji, the cleanliness and service levels of the place amazed even a cleanliness freak like me. You are served water in clean glasses, freshly made food in gloves, and chaas in recycled milk bottles. There may have been moments when you said cheese and made great memories, but you say that here, and you’ll get sensuous food laced with cheese that’ll leave your taste buds tickled with a taste to savor.

RBI Monetary Museum

Mode: On-foot

Source: Wannabemaven

An epitome of India’s monetary history, the museum amazed me with it’s minimalistic staffing, deftly crafted explanations, amazing infrared viewers, and well designed flow. Go there, come out, and the first thing you’ll think is, ‘How in the world did they manage to house so much history in such little space?’. Well, you’re talking of real estate in Mumbai and the best economists of the nation. Go figure!

Bombay High Court

Mode: On-foot
A gothic architecture on the outside and the feeling of being in a British Residency on the inside, this marvel of public infrastructure is highly frequented. My day of visit coincided with a celebration in the court premises. For a change, visitors to the court were handed prasadam instead of sentences and pardons!

K. Rustom

Source: Zomato

You’ve not experienced the real charm of Mumbai until you’ve had the super-spicy kokum sherbat of K Rustom followed by their renowned wafer ice-cream. Those delicious cubes of ice-creams sandwiched in crispy orange wafers far supersede the otherwise humble outlook of this outlet.

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

Mode: Train to Mahalaxmi
It’s right next to the Mahalaxmi station. The administrative gesture of erecting 50 feet tall walls to ensure zero visibility of the establishment even from the footbridge didn’t prevent me from finding my way through. Be advised, this is the place all your luxury brands come for fabric cleansing.

Mahalaxmi Temple

Mode: Kaali-Peeli

Source: TripAdvisor

Can a Mumbai outing ever be complete without a Kaali Peeli? But, be advised, you’ll have to pass through a temple, and then another temple, and then at least a swarm of another 500 people to finally stand at the feet of the temple. It is one of the holiest shrines of India, and true to the core, I prayed for positive cash flows in the future.

Haji Ali Dargah

Mode: On-foot

Source: Wikipedia

The walk to the Dargah though laced with polluted water and unkempt surroundings somehow forms the perfect serene closure to a effortful day of touring the country’s favorite city. Sitting on the rocks behind the Dargah and watching the sunset was definitely ‘the’ moment of the day.

And with scores of joyful memories, hundreds of faces etched in mind, de volta para casa...back home we came.


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