Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 5 : The Raw Mumbai

As usual, I am here again with more updates about my visit to Mumbai. This city has not disappointed me in anyway till now. The day was totally planned and would have taken a toll on me by the end of it, but something happened and whole planning went for a toss, else I would have been at Marine Drive at this house and writing this post. Anyways, happens.

Today, finally I managed to wake up late. Yesterday was too tiring and I have a peaceful sleep. Honestly saying, I was actually looking forward to today because I was about to meet a person whom I had always wanted to meet since I got in touch with him on twitter. Somehow managed to wake up at 8 A.M and then lazed around a bit. My phone kept constantly ringing since then. People back home are missing my presence and it was very evident. I am sure some mess is waiting for me there.

Since days, I was constantly getting SMSes from the person whom I was about to meet in the noon. It felt like I am going for some business meeting because they were very particular. Finally somehow I managed to drag myself out of the bed, took a shower, had breakfast, got ready and I was all set to leave the house. Sun was too harsh today that gave me a clue, today is gonna be bad bad bad day coz it gonna be too humid.

Today I had to meet another twitter person with the handle ( @oongalbaaz ) and I address him as Adnan bhaijaan. A well educated, well read, opinionated and witty guy who runs his own business in this city of dreams and his goals and fundas about everything are quite clear. We decided to meet up at VT or CST station at dot 1:15 P.M.

Ever since I planned to come to Mumbai, I always thought of traveling in Mumbai Locals. People keep cribbing about how crowded they during office hours and stuff, but let me tell you its same everywhere. When we talk about Delhi Metro, the conditions are exactly same during office hours. You hardly get a place to stand when you go from Kashmeeri Gate to Gurgaon. In my opinion, Delhi Metro is nothing but a sophisticated and more organised version of Mumbai local.

I decided to take a Mumbai Local today to CST station. It was for the first time that I was traveling alone in it. Nervousness, excitement and anxiety was there. I reached Vikhroli station around noon, got my coupons punched for CST and I was all set to board the train. Saw the signages and the digital display boards and figured out from where I will get my train. The moment I reached the platform, train was there, figured out the second class and boarded the train. Quite a cakewalk it was.

After some 40 mins or something, I reached CST station and got out of the station premises on the side where they have this beautiful building which is the BMC (Bombay Municipal Corporation)  office. Made a few calls and after some 10 mins, Adnan bhai dressed in a blue jeans and mustard coloured shirt was there. He is much older, but looked younger than me. :P

After greeting each other, we strolled towards the place where he wanted to take me. Cafe Britannia, its an 89 year old parsi cafe situated at Central Mumbai. We got a cab and it dropped us there in no time. The first impression that you would get after seeing the cafe is that its shabby coz the owners have not renovated it from years. After waiting for some 5-10 mins, we were allowed to sit inside the cafe. I looked around and saw that his place has been awarded with several awards such as Kingfisher's award and Times food award etc. Another thing that I noticed about the cafe is, the owners are obsessed with Queen and the Royal family of the great Britain. You can see their pictures placed on the walls of the cafe. Adnan bhai shared some trivia about the place.

Adnan bhai wanted to show me the raw side of Mumbai, thats why he had brought me to this cafe and I am glad he did. The food was yummy, specially berry pulao. Loved it. Over a scrumptious meal and ice-cold fresh lime soda, we discussed about a lot many things, and specially about our endless arguments and leg pulling on twitter. Off twitter, we get along really well.

For desserts, Adnan bhai had some other plans. He took me to Bhindi Bazaar after that. We took a cab and in some 15 mins, we reached there. Bhindi Bazaar is one place where you would get to see the raw side of Mumbai or I should say Bombay. Bhaijaan told me that the underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim has his house there in the bazaar. Quite intimidating that was. He took me to a sweet shop named Suleman Usman Mithaiwaala and ordered a mithai named "Aflatoon" which is quite funny as the name of a sweet.

Aflatoon is basically this super rich halwa which comes in the form of small cakes. It was yummy. Sugar was just perfect, light as I like it and full of dry fruits. Superb it was. After finishing that he took me to another shop to try something else i.e. Kesari Phirni. Initially I said no for it but when I saw that yellow frozen phirni in a clay dish, I couldn't say no. It looked yummy and tasted even better. Its basically a kheer which is made up of "Sama Chawal" but definitely super rich and creamy. Finishing up that small quantity of Phirni was quite a task for me but I managed it somehow. Both the items are a must try if you have never tried them.

After this, Adnan bhai showed me Taj Publishers, who are known as the largest producers of Quran in India. I have always wanted to read Quran to know what actually Islam preaches because I feel that its always debatable. So, I asked Adnan bhai if I can get a hindi translation of it, he said yes and in no time, he bought me a copy of it. That was one his gifts that he gave me today. The other things were a beautiful bottle of "Itra" ( Natural Scent) and a pen with my name inscribed on it. (The only personalized thing that I posses now) . I am never gonna use both these gifts because they are special in their own way.

That made me feel really special. Thanks bhaijaan, I am sure you are reading this one :)

Very soon, I am gonna start another blog which would be all about my interpretation of Quran. I dont know how good I will be with understanding the things said in it, but I will try my level best.

After that, Adnan bhai showed me a few other places and later texted me their names so that I can include all of them in this post

1. Apollo Bunder
2. Minara Masjid which looked beautiful.
3. Md. Ali Road.

We also crossed Haj House where all the meetings of the Haj Committee of India happens, Musafirkhana and Manish Market on our way back to VT station. We chit chatted a bit before Adnan Bhai left and I felt like someone very close and dear to me was leaving. Felt bad. Wish could spend some more time with him.

From there, I had plans to meet Jatin (@TheSlumDawg) at Girgaum Chowpatty, and post that I had to meet some other twitter friends at Leopold Cafe. I took a cab from VT to Girgaum chowpatty and waited for Jatin to come. Got a call from the person with whom I am here to meet in Mumbai. He called me up at Powai which is quite far from chowpatty b. With an upset mind, I had to cancel all the plans for the evening, called up everyone else but very close to my place including Jatin and apologised for ruining their plans. Straightaway took a cab to Powai that crossed Bandra Worli Sea Link and made it to the meeting. I have almost got what I was here for in Mumbai so I am actually happy and satisfied today. My sole purpose to be in Mumbai got fulfilled today. Came back home, slept for a while. Called up parents and told them everything.

So, that's what I did today. It was surely another memorable day where I think I have earned a person for the rest of my life. Tomorrow I have no plans, so will just roam around here and there or may be a ride in Mumbai Local at peak hours :D

Till the next one, Ciao


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