Published: March 17th 2013March 16th 2013
my very first trip to mumbai was also the first evening flight for me and the thrill of watching twinkling lights both during take off and landing when youre 12 years old was exhilirating. We drove to the Oberoi Towers and checked into two interconnected rooms and saw the queens necklace dazzling from below. It was so beautiful. The next morning I remember our parents ordering room service for us and there were chole batures and I do remember this warm feeling of love I felt for mum n dad as we embarked on our trip to europe and america. for lunch we drove down to malabar hills to visit an ailing relative and the family. I also recollect watching cable tv for the first time at the hotel and also spotting a celebrity in the lobby. enough of excitement for a twelve year old as we inched through loads of traffic on the way to the international airport to catch an air india flight to rome. on the return journey dad was waiting for us at the airport as mom, me and the brothers landed from uk on an air india flight. we checked into the centaur hotel for a
night and i remember ordering coke and there was none. coke wasnt available in india in 1985 so thumbs up it had to be. the next day early morning we left for our home in kolkata.
the second trip to mumbai was under completely different circumstances. three of us from university had been selected to appear for the final interview with an automobile company. we left for mumbai by train and one of the friends uncle met us at dadar station and we walked down to a guest house nearby. we stayed there for a night and moved to cuffe castle the next day. the apartment was neither too big nor too small and all three of us were thrilled to be staying on cuffe parade. we could see the swimming pool of the taj president from our balcony as well as the world trade centre where our interview would be conducted. we walked down to the venue and i slipped up at the final stage, nevertheless, we were asked to complete our medicals and we explored a bit of south mumbai. i do remember apollo bunder, cuffe parade and a nearby shopping destination. this trip didnt leave me
with very good memories and so i will end the narrative here.
in the year 2000 my bro was working in mumbai and it was decided that i would land up to meet him there. we stayed at the ywca international guest house on madame cama road and this would be one of several trips to the ywca. we walked down to the taj for coffee at night and visited my cousin at his home. a short trip but it would lead to me moving to mumbai that year in december.
in december when i landed up at the ywca my nerves were at their very end because i had supposedly moved here to look for a job and settle down. i tried giving some interviews and went about visiting placement consultants. an interesting old gentleman gave me some valuable insight into life in mumbai and his memories of a bygone era in kolkata. eventually my bro would help me find a pg and i would find myself a job with a medical instrumentation company into imports. within a month i would fall in love with bandra and its churches specially because it was christmas and
it was all so quaint and pretty. i moved into a sharing accommodation and settled into a routine job for all of five months before moving into my uncles house in carter road and moving back to kolkata. sometime in december that year i would travel to ahmedabad for the first time to attend a doctors conference and also caught up with my cousin living there with her family. in february i would go to elephanta caves with a friend, they are exquisite rock cut caves but i must mention the monkey menace there. living in mumbai was a bit overwhelming and i now realise i just didnt have it in me to travel by local trains and live in a pg for months at end until i found my groove. during my stay my dad would visit me and my bro in mumbai and we would have the pleasure of his company and good food at the taj mahal, copper chimney and few such exotic locations. we would all stay together at the royal bombay yacht club. my youngest bro would also visit us and we would travel to elephanta caves together. i do recollect the togetherness we all felt although we were dead broke most of the time. i flew back to kolkata in may 2001.
sometime in 2001 october i would visit mumbai again and this time it was the pujas and i remember my bro and me visiting pandals in dadar and town and lokhandwala. was it this time or the last time, i have to jog my memory but i recollect bumping into several known faces from kolkata at the lokhandwala pujo. also met up with cousins and shopped in shoppers stop, andheri, ate at cafe mondigas and mcdonalds. my bro and me also visited the prince of wales museum. on one of these trips i would travel all the way to bandra kurla to catch a train back home.
in 2002 may or june i would visit mumbai to stay by myself at the same oberoi towers. some strange impact and circular life forces would compel me to make this journey and theres not much to write about it.
in 2004 i would visit mumbai to stay with a friend, a dear family and school friend and her family consisting of her daughter and her husband in their apartment in prabhadevi. a delightful small and tidy place overlooking the sea. i was there on work and would be at there place for almost three weeks. i met up again with my bro and cousin and later on mum would join us in mumbai and we would all stay together at the ywca. mum and me strolled down to leopolds and had dinner and we would also go to chowpatty and mum would buy shoes from colaba. i also visited the sidhhi vinayak temple from my friends place and we bid each other a tearful farewell and returned to kolkata. that year in november after putting on some extra kilos following disastrous personal life i would be back in mumbai for a day once again on work and return by the evening flight.
in 2005 february i had joined a different company and was hoping for work culture to change in the new setup only to find that i had slipped into an eerie and gloomy office and very soon i would be out of it. this time i was put up at a hotel in juhu and i remember being cooped up in it for most of the time that i wouldnt spend at work in my training. the hotel was right next to prithvi theatre and i would walk down to it and buy some tuck for folks back home.
in 2006 september i joined an fmcg company to find myself going to mumbai almost 15 times. i would stay athe company guest house for days at end and once the company had almost moved me to mumbai and i managed to ease back home out of homesickness. having an mnc salary guaranteed that we went shopping regularly and having an expense account and a cash rich company to sponsor you we would be eating our hearts out at several fine dining outlets. a conference took us to amby valley and it was all so man-made beautiful. another one took us to orange county, coorg and while all other collegaues left for their home towns i went back to mumbai and the empty guest house. i did manage to build up my shoe collection from aldo and nine west as well as kolhapures from the oberoi mall. j'adore followed and a range of kurtis from a 'w' sale in bandra, anokhi and the westside store at grant road. i would eat little and managed to lose a lot of weight and dressed up for fashion week parties and the grand finale. i remember sleepovers at my boss' place at lokhandwala and bargain shopping for nina ricci lipsticks. the last time i had stayed at lokhandwala was during my pg days when my bro was sharing an apartment with his friends. one of the conferences was at the mariott and though i didnt join my colleagues at the night club i remember dozing off in that luxurious bed after a hard days work and the breakfast buffet. the last trip to mumbai was a conference at our learning centre in gulita specific to our division. we partied at the phoenix mills and i kind of resigned post that and moved to delhi to join my husband there.
after almost 5 years this january i went back to mumbai with my hubby this time to consult doctors as a patient. hubby and me stayed at the ywca and we visited popular landmarks which had meant so much to both of us in our single days and now that we were together we combined our memories. i showed him the learning centre, rode on the sea link and visited starbucks. we ate at delhi durbar, leopolds, walked through the trident and oberoi, took a ferry ride on the ocean and caught a flight back to bengaluru from the new terminal. the next trip we were rushed but found time for cuffe parade while i constantly narrated my interview days and ate at status restaurant, a first time for me. the next day we went back to starbucks and bought my medicines before returning home.
in february this year i would land alone in mumbai, my hubby had a meru cab waiting for me and i came into town and then returned to the airport to collect my parents and we checked into the yacht club at the suite. much negotiations followed with dad over the extra bed and the change of room but we still managed to have a good time. dad treated us at the taj, twice and at the pizza place and jehangir art gallery. we visited siddhi vinayak for a superb darshan and drove through malabar hills to reach the yacht club again. one day we ate at the dining room at the club and everyday breakfast would be laid out at a sun-kissed breakfast room overlooking the taj hotel. we even managed to go to starbucks and the taj president, oberoi and trident hotels. but mom was complaining as usual and we came back. i packed some chocolates from the taj president sugar & spice for dad and they too packed some for home. on the 9th hubby arrived and this time we explored a bit of bandra, pali naka where i used to stay, their home off hill road, sharukh khans bungalow and the rest of it. we also drove down to bandra kurla complex to maker maxity and i gorged on eclairs at le pain quotidien while i waited for hubby. we went to sidhi vinayak but it was a special day and there were hundreds of devotees so there was no way we could enter the temple. on my first trip i shopped for pjs at colaba but this time stayed away from colaba. we visited the phoenix mills and i shopped at mango and marveled at how the shopping complex had evolved over the years. we tried to catch our breath over some salon treatments and towards the end of the visit trooped to our favourite joints, starbucks and sugar n spice at the taj president, where earlier we had had a scrumptious thai meal. we came back to Bengaluru convinced that mumbai had given us back so much.