My Journey From Head to Heart
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Mangoes, Mumbai Locals & Extra Cheese!!!

Do read up part 1 of Amchi Mumbai chronicles.

So, with some sadistic quirk of fate I was left alone with Bau at Anjana Di’s home one lazy afternoon and unable to figure the right thing (or anything) to say I sank my head in my Laptop, when Bau asked about my Mumbai trip!. Like a little boy caught staring at a girl, I shared my learning's (minus the girls part of course, although now he knows that too!) about talks, Yes!+ etc and then we hit upon one of the passions which is very close to both our hearts (well closer to our stomach really) - FOOD! Well, for me eating and for him cooking and of course eating and experimenting! :)

As Bau says (and I agree) Mumbai is the food capital of the world. One has infinite options ranging from Rs. 5 to 500 Rs. Chat itself has so many choices – all with extra dollops of Butter or Cheese. The markets, spaces outside station are rendered so colorful owing to the presence of all the chat stalls. Double Roti, Vada Paav, Ice Bhel, flavored lassi, Ice Sev Poori, Jal Jeera, Gola, Paav Bhaji, Chaas – and these are just road side vendors. Things get all the more interesting when one enters an up market joint. For instance best sizzlers (Omg Yummylicious) in Pop Tates, best Punjabi food in Urban Tadka, Best of Rajasthani-Gujarati cuisine in Rajdhani and so on. Bhel poori is freely accessible at all local stations! And then there was Pastas’ by Di! And Gujarati food – Dhokla, Oondhiya, Patra, Kadhi, Thepla, Khandvi etc etc. There were more varieties of Dosas then I have seen in Chennai! Cheese dosa, pav bhaji dosa, Spinach Dosa, double roti dosa etc etc.

But to top it all – Mangoes!


There’s a special Mango called Payri. I kid you not we ate (drank!?) it’s soup, clear Mango soup in a bowl complete with a Soup spoon! And it was insanely rich, thick, creamy and sinfully delicious!

To everyone's shock & ridicule I was not a big fan of Mangoes (give me Grapes, Kiwi, Strawberries or even Bananas), mango for me was  just too messy a deal. But people are chillingly cuckoo about the stupid fruit! And some of it rubbed on me too by the time I left Mumbai. I am proud to say that I am a Mango convert now! :). Btw mangoes at that time were like 1000 Rs. per Kg. Now that is just the recipe for disaster – ungodly heat, crazy mango fanatics with out of reach mangoes!!!

By this time I was becoming increasingly notorious for desiring (even longing for) and hogging food!. It is actually nice once everyone accepts the fact that you are a total gone case, it becomes easy to be oneself. :)mumbai_trains_doorways_23

In Mumbai people age, have babies, consume (and digest)  food, finish semester exams, propose (to girls/clients/guys), get married & divorced, complete World of Warcraft, by heart Encyclopedia Britannica, all from a car/bike at traffic signals!

The lucky (and smart) ones take Mumbai locals! It’s literally the backbone of Mumbai, an amazing mode of commute, carries 7 million passengers everyday, arrives every few seconds and departs even before you can crack open a Peanut (groundnut!?) shell!

And one has a very high probability of falling in Love whilst on them! Imagine you are with the girl/boy of your dreams – in a Mumbai local. No place to stand, 3 unknown pair of hands find refuge in 1 hand rest, being pushed from all 10 directions – one is left with no other choice but to act all manly to protect the lady love from the pesky passengers. And amidst all this chaos, in ever so decreasing space between each other,  the time stops when their eyes meet, hands touch, strands of locks flutter about, the body odor gets entangled with each other, one overhears ‘tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanammmm...’ blaring from neighbor dudes Radio  – and then happens the chemical reaction of Love! :). It’s kind of sweet really to see a girl in guy’s compartment, with another dude, getting all cozy up. Btw this is just one of the many examples of male tolerance. No woman would let even a toenail of a man in a women’s compartment! :)

One learns belongingness, dispassion and surrender while travelling in locals. Just have to stand near the gate and one will either be escorted outside or carried inside (almost always the opposite of where you wanna be) by equally dispassionate passengers . And doesn’t matter where you are going, it will take at least an hour to get there. And this time would be utilized by talking to people about the course! Specially amazed was I, when these girls with me went about talking to passengers on different seats, as if they were loitering in an orchard picking Apples.

I got lost twice in the maze of trains, but found my way soon enough to make it for the college talks running on the IST time. :). It’s really special to ride the local when the sun is setting on the parallel track! I remember feeling so happy and peaceful amidst all the chaos & sea of humanity at sundown and also so belonged and Indian! :). Only in India you can push or shove or glare or mumble at somebody and then confirm the details of next station or time or cricket score from the same person after 25 seconds. :)

So after travelling 100s of Kilometers, talking to 100’s of youths and eating awesome food everyday, we were closing on to the day when I was going to be the part of the biggest Yes!+ of my life and the course which raised the bar a lot more....!

4 Hitch Hikers:

bharath said...

hey dude..awesome description.enjoyed reading about u say pop tates urban taduka etc rocks..but the train part of it going with a girl i unfortunately hvnt experienced it till now..may be ll try that soon..and seems like you hav some solid experience of travelling in trains with ur dream girl..hmm..keep it up..have a great time :)

O. M. said...

u make me miss my home so much! thank god i'm going back to all the yummy mumbai food for a while. *slurp*

Muthu Pal said...

i enjoyed reading it! nice..well your other links of various blogs inspires me to write :-)

pri said...

hmmm great description of local life and mumbai local trains and mangoes, i love mangoes but i knw u like mumbai girls more than tht :)sunset and sea is just a beautiful and peaceful combination,keep on writing:)

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