The title is not a highly thought-of, intellectually charged metaphor. It literally means the story of how I, and my long time buddy SVJ, walked across Bombay.
Now, there have been more than many occasions in which I have found myself in the middle of an extremely funtastic(deliberate spelling) adventure with this guy, and almost every time, unplanned.
Anyway, I’m going to write the rest of the post in a continuous mode, please bear the stupendously detailed details. But its all true. Starting from, Gokul rolls.
As we neared the popular Gokul bar/restaurant,(which is oh-so-magically gigantic ) we see a dog bark at a police inspector who just stepped out of the place. Well well, all the people around are amused like us, not by the dog, but by what the inspector was doing. He put his hands on his waist and gave a look cross between “seriously?”…and…”oh-god-how-did-you-know-what-I-just-did-inside?”.
We order our Grill Paneer and Falafel rolls and observe around. It was 10:30pm. The scene was deceptive. There were people in cars eating their Mayonnaise dripping rolls and Juicy kebabs, with occasional sips of alcohol-harboring-drink, and not so far were, homeless women and children just walking around.
“Why do the homeless hang around here?” I ask.
“For the food leftovers, ofcourse.”- SVJ said.
And almost instantly I regretted asking that question.
We grab our completely packed rumali roti rolls, and start walking only to bump into Le Pain Quotidien. We lust after the beautiful looking breads, olive oils, and patisseries(Food Porn) . We continue the walk to the front of Taj hotel. There was an eerie stench of sadness.
A cycle-bearing chai wallah feeds us nice coffee. We head back to LPQ, fueled by our man minds to definitely buy something. The choice between a face-sized cookie and a foot-an-half long baguette was too hard, so we bought both.
Then we start our walk, an event which was supposed to end at marine drive, to catch the last train back, but well, did not.
We contemplated about walking… home, which is at, Santacruz. And after approximately 45 seconds of discussion, we went “Hell yeah!!”
We realise that we already have snacks for our journey, and awesome will power but, we needed water. We start our journey at Marine drive, towards Babulnath.
The worst part about that night was, the humidity and temperature. 31 degrees to be precise. And the good part was the wind. The waves thrashed the walls with majestic sounds, and men and women stood at at the edge waiting for some splashes. One interesting find was a guy wearing a helmet as he waited.￼￼
We took a break as we neared the end of the drive, and consumed our cookie. It was 1:30 am and we realised that we had underestimated the real distance of our path. We left with an aim to reach Haji Ali by 2:30. We walked on Babulnath-Kemps Corner-Peddar road, which looked awfully dingy compared to its peak evening look.
Haji Ali was interesting for two reasons. The innovative beds that the underprivileged had built on the boulders meant to protect from the waves, and the dudes walking around making some sound with a stone in their hand.
SVJ inquired and we learn that these are Massage-wallahs. Offering head and hand massage at 40 bucks, and 40 for legs. Now, this is something totally new that we both did not know existed.
Turned out, the laborers and other hard working people often hung out at the seaside in the night, and these masseuses would help them relax. No really, no pun intended. Another Mumbai specific phenomenon.
This was 2:30 am and to no surprise, cars were still bludgeoning the concrete crevices of the border to south Bombay. We crossed over to Worli, seaface to be specific. Now now, this has to be the most deceptively long part of our entire journey. There wasn’t nearly anyone on road. Part of it maybe ‘cus it was 3am, so we walked, and walked and walked.
The wind was beautiful, but our legs needed more than that. Anyway, we kept embracing the challenge and walking.
We also discovered two more places worth a mention. A house named “Doctor House”, and Doctor Homi Bhabha’s birth place.
By the time we reached Century bazaar, our feet were screaming for us to stop, and so we took a 5 minute breaker. It was 4am, so we had no choice but to reduce our destination to Mahim, in order to finish walking before morning crowd.
We crossed prabhadevi, Kirti College and then reach Shivaji park
At Shivaji park, we sat completely drained, when a cat decided to fall in love with SVJ. It literally ate his floater.
(Why would we wear floaters for a walking night? WE DIDNT KNOW we were going to walk!)
The place was now full of early morning walkers, and we were on the brink of collapsing.
At mahim we bought more water from the 24hr chemist, and saw the first light of the sun from a park at 5am. It was magical, as all sky views are.
We reached mahim at around 6am, and crashed on the bus stop waiting for our bus. I still wasn’t sleepy, so I observed the passersby. A bare-feet woman going to-and-fro between a grocery store and her home, an old lady waiting for a bus, a hunky tattooed man, too big for his own Tshirt…
Soon, the rain Gods decided to commend our feat by dropping the first showers of the season. As we tried to save our baguette( yes, we saved it for breakfast. And also ‘cus it was as hard as a brick by now)
At approximately 6:30 am we got a bus, and no, the fun isn’t over yet.
On the highway near Bandra, as we sat sleeping, a sudden THRASH sound woke me up. A large tourist bus had just grazed us on the left side, and within few seconds, a big tempo bumps into us on the right, and again, within another few seconds, 2 bikes go skidding on the highway.
Trying to rub of the possibilities of this being a dream from my eyes, I ask around.
Turns out the first showers makes the road really bad. So the bus halts on the left, and we watch more bikes and cars and tempos skid. It seemed like a scene out of a video game. Amusing virtually, and not at all in reality.
6 hours later, I get up and make a black tea. Greeted by an amazing weather, it was time for music. SVJ only wakes up to the delicious looking baguette sub that I conjured.
The only thing remaining of the night being, our rock hard calves.
I would say an amazing day/night/day+night :P
ps- NO, we did not get a massage. Nor did we get looted. Nor did we pee on the streets(damn).