Sunday Morning - August 01 - picture perfect day for a chilled Sunday - picture this - cool breeze, sunny skies…..a loving dog wrapped around your feet, the wavering yells of two happy kids filtering through the curtains, bundles of Sunday papers that promise to keep you engaged for two hours - bliss ..bliss…bliss ???? Nope not for me …I am shaved ( hate on Sundays) and on my way to catch a plane to Mumbai…Duty calls over domestic bliss. So off I took a 9 am flight - uneventful, standard Jet air meals and then we land in Mumbai.
The approach to Mumbai is not the world’s most pleasant sight even on the brightest of days - clusters of habitats strangulate the boundary wall of the airport almost choking the life out of it and now replace that bright Sunny Sunday with a muggy, brownish gray rain lashing the hell out of the city. Puh! Ugly huh? However, I always loved Mumbai - Bombay - I kicked off my career hereand as with all first loves, I just cherish the city for couple of unique Bombay phenomena - nice urban mix ( mostly), “bindaas” ( carefree) feel in people, tolerant and some great manglorean/goan/konkan cuisine.
Stepping out of the airport saw me whisked into a large hotel car. After the polite (in English) welcome, offer of a cold towel etc the chauffeur broke into the local language realizing probably that I wasn’t too “there” to deserve an English language treatment ..fine by me …..so ambled through narrow roads and even narrower bridges - jostling between handcarts, three wheeled rickshaws ..etc etc ..the usual traffic and some rather large pot holes ( monsoon impact - an annual feature) into the marriot at Juhu. I had a horrible experience at the Marriott on a previous occassion but decided to give them a go one last time just to see if there was a trend. The property otherwise looks nice—high ceiling, well done interiors, rather smallish rooms though ( guess it’s the Bombay premium on space)….the food is not complainable and they have a decent gym ( pulled a back muscle though- they don't have back support belts - weird!!!!)..the only thing that you have to careful about are the bathroom fittings - they have this awful habit to popping out into your hands or just jamming up at their whim and fancy - the rest of the stay at the Marriott was much less eventful as compared to the last time.
For those who travel to Bombay suburbs realize that the suburbs are a different world. In some cases roads cease to exist, so with a back that has a strained muscle a 10 km ride did to me what a WWF wrestler would probably land doing in one round….is someone who matters listening??? That’s not the Bombay I’d like to remember. The evening saw me in south Bombay that is a different world - glitter, fashion, cleaner and more what a city should resemble. Popped into the intercontinental bar - decent place, plays decent world music..what was even better was catching up with old friends and laughing our hearts out. So for a while the pain, the squishy roads and the rains faded into the remnants of memory. But Bombay bars even on working day are fun - they have more animated people worried about the world or just having fun. It was nice .
The next morning ( August 3rd) saw a groggy me crawl into a plane for Bangalore. It was such a welcome change - 20 degrees (Celsius), a nice breeze and sunny skies - felt good till I hit the traffic- If you are there for the Ist time, be prepared for a 5 kmph speed and make sure you master the urge to get out of the car and run to your appointment - am sure that’s faster any day. Bangalore’s always short of Hotel space and for the ist time stayed over at The St. mark’s Hotel and that my friend is on…..you guessed it right ……St.Mark’s road ( Creative genius named the place). Average hotel, paranoid staff but very helpful who make it a point to explain all details ( switches, exits , how to operate air-conditioning, how to switch between hot and cold on the same tap --) until I thrust a tenner into his palm and thanked him for all the help. Did some pubbing - but I guess folks in bangalore are not as adventurous as the ones in Mumbai—the pubs were kinda empty. So there…
Bangalore has a lot of geeky crowd - so its different. The music in the pubs wasn’t that great and food was average. Didn’t impress me too much though….
On the way back popped into Sankar’s at the airport—stores some decent books and other trivia. The guy who manages the store is one of the more affable book storeowners I have seen - participates in your choice and has a word or two for you and that makes the difference…
Gotto sign off now ..the flight into Delhi was kinda ok ..all that I can recollect was the stewardess had a really B-I-G smile …..so long…ciao!!
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