Monday, 22 May 2017

Ah! Mumbai

It is difficult to see beyond the harsh reality of Mumbai and its stark disparity and the ruthless power centers. The Mumbai slums and footpath dwellers particularly in the backdrop of the rather grotesque Antila and the daunting Taj Mahal Palace Hotel makes one sad and angry at the same time.

And yet, this time, during my visit to Mumbai I simply decided to wander about and click whatever drew my attention.

I share some photos of the mega-city as I saw it this time around.

Close to Regal Cinema.

View from YWCA, Madam Cama Road.

  I would recommend that women travelling by themselves stay at Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) guest house which is housed in a heritage building. Centrally located, YWCA is within five minutes walk from Gateway of India. YWCA with its distinct features is very different from a hotel. One can also meet fellow travelers from all over the world here particularly at dinner time. The charges too are reasonable considering how beautifully located the place is. All of this makes YWCA interesting.

Heritage building of YWCA

Just at a stones throw from YWCA is located the Sahakari Bhandar Restaurat. Even today, sumptuous dosas, idlis and variety of other dishes at very reasonable prices, with its down to earth ambiance is very attractive. 

Closed cotton textile mill at Mahalakshmi

 It was rather sad to see that the lands and buildings of cotton textile mills in Mahalaxmi have now been converted into posh clubs,  high end art gallerias, plush restaurants, discotheques, so on. I recall the time when thousands of retrenched workers of the cotton  mills lay claim to these lands where they once toiled day and night. I wonder if their claims have been met even in part. 

The new and the old

Many such old buildings still remain and have not fallen to redevelopment yet.

Aye Dil Hey Mushkil Jina Yaha, Zara Hatke, Zara Bachke, Yeh Hei Bombay Meri Jaan...

Some of the many mosques

Bhindi Bazar it is said is slated for redevelopment too.I hope at least some of the original character will be preserved. 

Bhindi Bazar at night.

Evening market at Bhindi Bazar.

Olympiad restaurant near Regal cinema.

For non vegetarians as well as for vegetarians, I would recommend food at simple restaurants, Irani joints where the food is not only reasonably priced but delicious too. Importantly, it is fresh,  served with fresh pudina / mint leaves or pudina chatni. I enjoyed the distinct-Indian ambiance too. 

 Attar shop near Regal Cinema

Forget Ola and Uber, to travel around Mumbai, kali-pili taxi is the way to go. The taxi drivers, grounded in the local customs, traditions and history, double up as excellent guides. I would not have discovered the many sights, sounds and tastes of Mumbai but for the kali-pili taxi drivers. 

 Enjoying cold lassi at the gates of Aarey Milk Dairy opposite Worli Sea Face with a very well informed and proud taxi driver.

Worli Sea Face opposite Aarey Milk Dairy.

Mumbai it seems is all about land these days. There is a talk about taking over the lands of Aarey milk dairy for redevelopment too. But for me, Mumbai is all about the sea.

Sea opposite the Taj Hotel.

Even during the sweltering month of May, a walk by the sea side is refreshing. 

Hope to see you soon, Mumbai!