Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bombay, Meri Jaan

Suddenly, I am yearning for Bombay. Even the rain and waterlogging. Remembering my first weekend in Bombay, drenched and happy, sitting at Yankee's and singing loudly, chasing away customers. Gokul's tiny pieces of cheese and boiled eggs, served with cheap one-for-one alcohol. Leo's chilli beef and beer. The thrum of Colaba. Sitting on Marine Drive at sunset, drinking oversweet tea and smoking, existentialism in the air. Even those fucking trains. I miss the late night clack of the handrails in the trains when I was the only passenger. The feel of standing at the door and watching the city pass by, faster than fairies, faster than witches, bridges and houses, and lots of shit-filled ditches. I miss the solitude and anonymity the city afforded me, the people, the things we did. Bandstand in the evening. Churchgate station. Go 92.5 FM and Good Morning Mumbai with Tarana and Jaggu. And the chai wala who would make you half a cup of adrak wala chai, kum shakkar, in a city made to order. The sandwich wala who had a cell phone and would deliver a sandwich up to the 9th floor for you when you called down. My little place in Juhu, with windows opening onto green leaves and aerodrome hums. South Bombay at night, roads wide and empty, fluorescent lamps gleaming. Trying to buy shoes on Linking Road. Imagining J trying to buy furry handcuffs on Hill Road. Our trips to Apple Cake, where we embarassed the Bong waiter and P in one fell swoop. And where was it that P ate cake before dinner and they laughed at us? And oh, Pot Pourri, dammit, hallowed site of so many of our sessions. And Toto's and the Shack. And karoke night at Starters. And taxicabs. And all the places where we sat and bared our souls and gurgled with laughter. Zara hatke, zara b(n)achke, yeh hai Bombay, meri jaan.

7 comments:

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

You make me want to live there for a while. Good stuff (especially the adapted Stevenson quote)

J.A.P.

progga said...

JAP, you amaze me. Is there any quote you don't pick up on?

shakester said...

i just had 2 trips there for work.
I stayed at Juhu. and bandra. and andheri. I ate pao bhaji. it rained. I had beer at Leo's and Mondegar. I went to Toto's. Thrice. I stood at Marine drive, though before sunset- under dark grey clouds watching an angry sea. I bought shoes on Linking Road. and floaters. I bought books. i watched lots of indian tv.
and took some photos (here and here

progga said...

I loved the monochrome.

Cyberswami said...

i live here now. a pretty picture you paint. a nice little highlights reel that skips over the boring bits in between.

i must say though that i quite like this place. there's something or the other happening all the time.

how often do you visit?

progga said...

CS, at the risk of putting your back up, I must say that moving from Delhi to Bombay is moving up. Not geographically, perhaps, but in every other sense. :)
I don't visit half as often as I'd like - thrice in the last 2 years. I comfort myself with the thought that, sooner or later, I'll move back.

A Muser said...

Your post brought back a flood of memories, especially the near-empty local trains and the feeling of being alone in the world. I miss my city. :((( To add a few of my own titbits: Chinese at Sampan's, dancing at the Razzberry Rhinoceros, Carter Road butas, Pali Hill bhelpuris, Candy's goodies, "We will rock you" at Toto's, chilled beer and the jukebox at Mondegar, plays at Prithvi, movies at Eros, malhar at Xavier's...