"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


So to Bombay. Bombay, I think, is the best place (so far) in India. There's excitement, action, wealth, poverty, heartbreak, and theres something to doo all the time!

Some may not agree. They may feel Bangalore is THE throbbing metropolis, but with my lack of experience of Bangalore with regards to that, I shall contend that Bombay is the place to be.

So I did all the corny stuff. I'd been to Bombay before and wandered around and seen the touristy sites (such as Marine Drive, Gateway, Colaba yada yada yada...), but this time it was different. Very different.

First thing was, unashamedly, my Lonely Planet. It gave me the places to see. I never realised there was so much. I was awakened by it.

The second thing was, reading a couple of books on and based in Bombay. These were Shantaram and Maximum City.

Shantaram is effectively set in Colaba, and Leopolds Cafe is right in its heart. So I had to go there and check it out. Even bought a t-shirt. Then there was Flora Fountain, the entire Causeway, VT, and so on...

That done, I had to see DDLJ. So I went to Martha Mandir, near Mumbai Central (I think - Sunil, correct me if I'm wrong), the theatre which, in May racked up its 500th screening of that movie. Even for a Saturday matinee, there were well in excess of a 150 people, although most of them were guys, who probably needed reassurance that dreams could come true. Don't know if the rumour that all these guys went to Mumbai Central train station after the movie is true either, but you never know...

I also tried to take a pic of Sachin Tendulkars place. I thought that maybe, just maybe, he may have been in the grounds of his building playing cricket with his son, and needed an extra player, and then he would have seen me and...

Actually the prelude to that was quite an experience! I caught a train from Churchgate, around 4:30pm, and got off at Dadar, with the intention going to the Sidhi Vinayak temple. In the past few weeks Sachin had gone there as well as the movie star Dev Anand. So wanting to know what the fuss was about, I went as well. (good enough for Sachin and Dev Anand, then good enough for me!) Turns out its quite an old Ganesh temple, and is flocked to by the plebs and aristocracy alike.

So by the time I was done, it was 5:30 and the absolute middle of middles of peak hour. Riding my luck I somehow got on the train - sorry, pushed on! - and as you do, always ask which side the station you want to alight at, will come. So I was told Bandra will come on my left and stood prepared, close to the door way, but not enough to be bundled out. I started counting the stations and before I knew it Bandra had arrived but I thought it was the previous station. So I restisted the rush and stayed inside. Everyone knew I wanted to get of at Bandra, and told me so! But it seemed too late. With people rushing in like rats, I gave up and just stood there thining, I may as well go to Andheri and to home. But this one guy behind me smiled mischeiviously and ran straight into my back thrusting me -and I think other people - out the door. If you have never been in a Bombay train at peak hour you have to experience it, at least once. It would never be fun riding the trains day in, day out, but as a trviality, its great!

Anyways, back to Sachin. So I made it out of Bandra alive, and went to a rickshaw driver. He said he knew where Shah Rukh lived, but not Sachin. Bollywood or cricket? Whats your pick? Disinterested, I went to the next guy and he said he knew. "Pukha?" "Ha" he replied and off we went.

Unlike the rest of Bomabay, Bandra still sports a few Bungalows. Its remarkable considering their value, that they still stand in that state. So we made it to the lane in which He stays. The lane is a dead end, with the option of two gates. He lives inside the one on the left hand side. But just past the gates resides a security guard. I asked does Sachin live here? Yes was the reply. At least I was within his vicinity. What are you doing here? Truthfully, I asked, can i take some pics? No. Then I pulled out that I'm here all the way from Australia, just for this, and a few other lies, but it didn't work. We turned around and went back. At least I know where he lives.

In a nutshell that was Bombay for me. There are pics below, and hopefully I'll put some more up soon.

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