A trip to the seven islands

I went to Bombay/Mumbai…
Long post – be warned!

Ok, so the next best thing to being rich, is having a brother-in-law who is Managing Director (South Asia) for a gigantic American Bank. This means that when you visit Bombay, you don’t get to have fun with the rest of of the commoners. You don’t get to wander the beach aimlessly (though I suppose I could have if I really wanted to). You don’t get to ride the bright red BEST buses, and you don’t get to be flattened like a chapati in the local trains…but there are compensations. You do get to ride around in an S-Class Mercedes (which has reclining rear seats, among other things). You do get to live in South Bombay (Malabar Hill), and have a frikking glorious view of the sea. You also have a duplex flat/apartment. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but Bombay is to India what New York is to USA (in more ways than one). Now maybe you can appreciate what it means to have a duplex apartment. Oh, you also get to watch “The Last Samurai” on a screen which retracts from the wall, and has a picture projected on to it from an overhead projector while 6 speakers blast the sound at you from all different angles…Anyway, I took a few atypical pictures of bombay (beware, I am an AWFUL picture taker), so “read more”

Note: Clicking on the pictures takes you to a larger size image.

Ok so this first pic is a view of Marine Drive (also known as the Queen’s Necklace, you shall soon see why)..

Just some random Bombay skyline…

Ok I couldn’t stop obessing over the brownish building to the left hand side of this photo. It’s a building called ‘Haveli’ and the unbelievably brilliant architect did the following: He created duplexes (or is there some other plural), and EACH floor has this HUGE triangular balcony, which most of the residents were using as a garden. I have yet to see this idea replicated in either New York or Hong Kong (but somebody correct me if I’m wrong). Someday I will rich and vulgar enough to buy one of those places.

Ok, once upon a time, there were lots of textile mills in Bombay. Well they all went bust, and of course, the logical step in the evolution of that land is in the form of bowling alleys, restaurants, and shops. So I present to you Phoenix Mills, complete with a McDonald’s to the right, and Spaghetti Kitchen (yummy Italian food) to the left.

Some random building facing Phoenix Mills…

How many McDonald’s do you know of, that come with their own smokestacks?

Ah. Marine Drive by night. Do I have to explain why it’s nicknamed the Queen’s Necklace? It’s also a place where lovers go for moonlit walks. I would go there, it’s jsut I don’t have any partner to take with me -( Someday, I swear, I’ll stop being the software geek and wow the world by wooing a woman…in the meantime… I have some surfing to do…(no, not on Shaadi.com).

Ok, this is a VERY SMALL and NARROW take on Bombay. The city is a lot bigger, and has a LOT more crazy things about it. I’ve only covered about 0.0000000001% of the city (duh), and that too from a rich, elitist standpoint – plus I was only there for the weekend. There are beaches, and slums, and movie stars and gangsters and pao bhaji, and bhel puri, and Trishna Seafood Restaurant and Swati Snacks, and Gateway of India and Elephanta Island and Parsis and Reliance Interactive Movie-on-demand Cable Television (just about to start up soon) and really-good-driving-compared-to-the-rest-of-India and why Rohinton-Mistry-and-his-stupid-book-A-Fine-Balance-can-F-off which need to be talked about, which I don’t have the space for here, and will refrain talking about, because I’m a Delhi-ite.

A few more notes (What I learned on my way from The City(Delhi) to The City(Bombay))
1) Do not fly Air Deccan. I understand that they are a low-cost carrier and all, but please, surely water can be served for free? That being said, I booked my tickets on a Wednesday (for Friday) for Rs. 7500 return (that’s US$170).

2) My title is called Seven Islands, because once upon a time Bombay used to be seven islands (or was it 9), which eventually started reclaiming land during British Rule, and ended up as the out-stretched hand known as Bombay). Question – why did they stop reclaiming land? Hong Kong reclaims some land every year – 20 years on, it’s unrecognizable!

Till next time, folks


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