I still remember the excitement I felt when I landed in Bombay, I don’t know why but I always feel like spreading my arms a la Shahrukh Khan enveloping the sea inside me, always when I am in Bombay 🙂
I waited for my mate Bhim as his flight would arrive an hour later. It was always good to see him, always. Sometimes you don’t need years to know and connect so deeply with someone, it just is.
The moment we met amidst certain confusion and hilarious moments(which always happens when we travel together!) we sat at Starbucks outside the arrivals and chatted and caught up! Yup right that’s what we did!
We were like two excited kids having a vacation without adults! The few adventures we had together in the past made us totally believe that anything could happen in our trip knowing our zest for exploring and checking out something crazy 🙂
We finally got going to Uma’s place in South Bombay. A serene place with a beautiful view of the sea and the famous Mahalaxmi temple right in front of it. Uma was a therapist, actually saying that would totally undermine what she does. She helped people through counselling, through meditation sessions and music. There was a spark in her eyes, always, that zest for life, that smile that would make your heart fill up.
With a lot of warmth and love Uma welcomed us. We sat with Uma’s mom Aliya and had a delicious Konkani lunch. Aliya regaled us with Konkani cuisine and explained each dish and for someone like me who is a foodophile(if that word exists!) it was a real treat!
It was time to go to the apartment where we were to stay and this was right behind Haji Ali and there it was, the full view of the sea surrounding us. I remember us pulling our chairs and sitting in front of the balcony and watching it in silence for god knows how long..
Uma would conduct a music meditation session at the apartment where we were staying and we were looking forward to it. We would also get to meet our dear friends Pankaj and Sid. Pankaj is one person I give credit to a lot in these past few years. From introducing me to the Himalayas, trekking to making me perceive life in it’s little moments, he has been one amazing positive influence and a dear friend.
I had met Sid 4 years ago at a workshop and what clicked between us was humour, plenty of it! We laughed together, at life, it’s unpredictable moments and he was one guy who made your heart feel light and one of the most caring persons I have ever met. His honesty was on your face, blunt and so naive at the same time. It is a rare thing I tell you.
So Imagine Bhim and myself, when we met our friends, we were beaming, there was lots of love and affection as we hugged, laughed and chatted.
The Music Meditation facilitated by Uma was beautiful. We closed our eyes and felt the music, it’s lyrics, the backdrop of the sea with all it’s elements, becoming more aware of ourselves, the good and the not so good in us, being in the present and connected with the self.
I remember Uma asking after the music, which she usually does, ‘What does Success mean to you?’ There was an interesting discussion with each one of them giving their own perception of success, from being idealistic to philosophical, to pessimistic to know it all, very interesting views.
It also reflected a person’s state of mind, to be aware that this is what they could be and in the process know more about oneself and Uma had that ability to get that out in people, slowly and surely.
After the session, we went back to Uma’s place for some Beer and snacks and after some time it was time to say goodbye to the folks there for the night. We went back to our apartment and Sid picked us up.
We had no particular plan except that we wanted to walk on Marine Drive! Bhim was dying for it and the poor guy didn’t have a chance to do that in his last trip.
And needless to say, no matter what you think, if you are in Bombay, you must walk on Marine Drive, late night, feeling the sea breeze.. I remember walking at midnight the whole stretch with Pankaj last year during the monsoon season and I can never ever forget that. That memory is etched in my heart..
So Sid parked his car and we walked along the drive, swarmed with people as it was a Saturday night. It was almost midnight yet it felt like it was 9 pm, the people, the sounds, this city truly never slept! And this time the weather was humid and hot!
Sid told us that October was really hot! Coming from the south, this was a surprise for us because our cities turned pleasantly cold by this time.
We walked, talked, chatted as we spoke about our lives, relationships, laughed out loud at inane things. Sid was one amazing guy! Witty, humorous and he spoke his mind. Since we didn’t feel like having dinner, Sid took us to the age old Rustom & Co for their delicious ice cream with wafers.
We devoured the Chocolate walnut ice cream and Bhim and Sid had second helpings. Later Sid took us to Volga – a famous paan shop and such fresh delicious paan! Sid reminisced his college days, at Rustom and Volga where he used to hang out and how his life was at that time. It was a privilege I tell you for Sid letting us enter into his world.
Sid took us for a nice drive around Kala Ghoda, Flora Fountain, Asiatic Library as the city went slowly silent… It was past 1.30 am when Sid dropped us. With a promise to meet him soon we bade him goodnight.
I remember Bhim and me chatting till quarter to 3 am until we drifted off to sleep. We had five whole days to go, dear friends to meet and to explore the city but what we didn’t realize then was that we would be exploring ourselves sub consciously in the process..