I could feel my pulse slightly racing and feeling so alive as I entered Bombay.. A big smile, a city of dreams and so much more.. A feeling that I have been here before, I was born in another time, another life that I could never shake off all these years..
I had about half a day or so before I would meet my friend after his office hours and how could I deny myself the chance to not get out there and soak in everything?
My trusted cabbie Feroz was saying that the heavy monsoon was almost over and if am lucky it might be not rain much in the city.
Somehow that’s not a good thing for me when I think about rains and Bombay. I am a die hard romantic when it comes to Rains and I can only think of two places that personify it – Kerala and Bombay.
Kerala and my summers there in childhood…Right around my birthday time, the rains would lash as I watched from the Tharavad (joint family home) of my Ammachi (paternal grandmother) that signified the start of monsoon.. Next was Bombay in 2007 when I had the first Bun Muska at an Irani cafe watching the rains..
I was in no hurry to drop off my backpack at my friend’s place that was in South Bombay, instead I went to the place I most missed. Prithvi Theatre and Cafe..
My first foray into theatre in this city was this place. During all these years before I made any friends from Bombay, I would stay close to Juhu Tara road and almost every day hangout at Prithvi in the evenings, Pre and Post play. Something about it made me feel at home.
As I stepped in and heard the buzz, the people it was magical. Sharing a space with others is a pleasure in that cafe.
I sat opposite a Sindhi mother daughter duo and next to me were a group of college students sharing the famous Parathas of Prithvi. I was in no mood to eat, instead I looked around and smiled at each and everyone who was looking in my direction, I was just so happy to be there.
I got talking to the young teenage daughter who said she brought her mother to this place so she could actually start seeing some plays for a change? 🙂
One cutting chai after the other, a refreshing Kokum drink and ordering something else, all I wanted to do was to be there. And every time the regret is I so wish I could stay in Bombay for n number of days.
This city is truly a melting pot of cultures, in it’s nooks and corners, in it’s myriad lanes and dark spaces.
And there is something in the people, the true Bombayites who are born and brought up in the city. Intelligent, chilled out, highly aware, take life by it’s horns and yet take it day to day, they see life completely different than most of us.
As my friend kept on calling me to reach home, eat something and take some rest, I finally moved myself out looking back at Prithvi.
Finally reaching my friend’s place, I freshened up, slept a bit and got ready to meet him near Flora Fountain. I had a very tight schedule on this trip and let me put it frankly there were 3 friends I truly wanted to meet on this trip and I had already told them about it.
As one gets older, you remove all those outer peripheries and truly ask yourself with whom would you find yourself happy and I chose my happiness with the people I felt happy being with.
As I was window shopping I came across an old friend whom I met almost 7 years ago at a workshop. It was such a surprise seeing her with her daughter and I still had her phone number 🙂
I hugged my friend along with another friend Babu Bhai when I met them near Flora Fountain and all those memories of Ladakh came along. The funny thing was that exactly around the same time last year we three were traveling across Ladakh 🙂
We walked through Colaba as I saw the majestic Gateway of India on the left, Taj Hotel on the right,big banyan trees and all those old colonial buildings and Ah the sea…. The beautiful expansive Sea…
It made me aware as to how much the sea is inside us just like our tears.. salty, holding this infinite space of memories… And sometimes it comes up and spills over like a high tide..
We walked into the Bombay Radio Club – an old colonial club and got a seat that was perfect, a beautiful view of the vast expanse of the sea in front of us.
We laughed, sang, chatted over Vodka with lovely old English and Hindi Songs played by a live band. I felt like I was in a different era, like a jazz club of the 50’s 60’s, we were in a time warp.
When I asked him what was the trekking plan and where were we going? He smiled and said, let’s start driving out of the city and figure out tomorrow. We would be near Lonavala and there was no concrete plan yet but yes we would be trekking and we will be leaving very early at 5.30 am.
Slowly the tiny space beside the band started filling up with people dancing and I couldn’t resist and pulled my friend in.
I danced without a care in the world and finally managed to pull the other friend in. High in Spirits and friendship I smiled big when Babu Bhai said this is the second time am dancing in my life, the first was when I got engaged 🙂
After an awesome evening, my friend and I decided to walk the stretch of Marine Drive at midnight.The whole city seemed calmer as we walked, traversed through couples, families, all kinds of people sitting, romancing, sleeping, watching the sea..
My friend showed me his old family home from Marine Drive as we kept walking. Childhood memories, the rashness of youth, the calm after a certain age it’s all there in us..
As we sat at a point and watched the sea I remember my friend saying it’s so difficult for me to move out of the city because of this, the sea.. How can I ?
It’s true, how can one do that? How can one deny themselves this?
Two of us and one of the most cherished friendships I ever had and we were all set for tomorrow’s trek but right now gazing at the sea past midnight and not caring about the time was timeless..