The Mumbai weekend


Last January, during a five-week trip to India, I spent a weekend in Mumbai with a couple of ‘blog-friends’. Bunny, an editor at Hindustan Times, picked me up at the airport. It was to be our first meeting, and her SMS, sent from the gate, read: Shortish, messy hair, sleeveless purple and green top, black pants, small blue bag. Later that day Bips, a social worker engaged with a local NGO, joined us near the Gateway of India. It was probably the most memorable weekend of 2010.

We started with a Gujarati thali lunch that captured the essence of a Mumbai visit: there was more variety to experience than you could possibly take in. The dishes, brought to the table at a dizzying pace by uniformed servers, left me exhausted. (All these months later I do not remember what I ate; I see only the anticipation for the next delicacy to arrive, followed by the growing regret that I could not eat all that I wished to.) After lunch we rode South, towards Kala Ghoda, in a ‘Cool Cab’: an air-conditioned taxi, a charming old Fiat that was almost an antique piece. Traffic was inconsistent, clogged and snail-paced in some areas and breezy and fast in others. Bunny made the long drive short with her insights on Mumbai culture and the recent history of local politics. In between, around a bend or in the middle of a street, she would point to a house and refer to a celebrity who lived there: “That’s where Chetan Bhagat lives.” “And here’s Bal Thackeray house.”

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18 thoughts on “The Mumbai weekend

  1. Such riches here, in photographs and words and the feelings behind them! I’m glad to discover Bunny’s blog, too, as well as her bookshelf.

    Happy New Year.

  2. Great post. I never had the opportunity to see Mumbai through the lens of someone who had never visited it. You had a great guide; pointing out Chetan Bhagat’s residence notwithstanding 🙂

    1. What to do, Patrix, he refused to be taken to Shah Rukh’s bungalow and Amitabh’s bungalow and Salman’s building, I had to show him SOMEthing of Bombay’s Famous People’s Houses.


      1. Bunny, just as you’ve wondered if you look like “crystal vase person”, I’m beginning to wonder if I look like a person who’d take a detour to see Salman’s building. How could you even suggest it?!

    2. Thank you, Patrix. It looks like you would have ‘Desipundited’ this post, if the service was still functioning. I do miss such a directory.

      1. I definitely would have. I might just start a personal directory. The expectations that DesiPundit eventually built up just got too heavy.

    1. Don’t worry Rash, I forced him to look at it in passing when we walked out of Prithvi. Only Jalsa, not Prateeksha, but at least it’s a Bachchan bungalow.

  3. You had your eyes closed? Tch tch Parmanu, even if you aren’t an Amitabh’s bungalow and Salman’s house sort of a person, it’s a mandatory part of Mumbai’s charm ;-p
    In Bangalore? No celeb houses thank you. That is only reserved for Mumbai. And I don’t need to point out the Chinnaswamy stadium to you either, since you have lived in this city. We could do a food tour though. There are some lovely, laidback cafes.

  4. and you didnt let us pay at either crystal or cafe coffee……totally out of mumbai trip ethics!! 🙂
    bunny’s bookself is a dream…..anybody will be forgiven for losing control…hehe. btw…there are tons of crystal-like joints in the fort area filled with yummmmyy food. u gotta come back soon 🙂

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