Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Itinerary to Mumbai - Part !!

Stepping into a new world!!!

Everyone has expectations and so did I. I imagined that Mumbai will be a haven for the homeless and so it was. However, it turned to be more than what I imagined. It’s a place where the rich and poor coexist in one place, where the good and bad coexist in the same place. It’s really hard to figure out how this is possible but that’s our lifes where we won’t be able to figure out half the things.

Well I reached Mumbai at 10:00 am and checked out of the airport, which is under renovation, with a wish that Mumbai should be father away from the Bangalore. We covered the distance in a just one hour and 15 minutes. Once in the airport apart from making calls to eagerly waiting mom back home had to answer other urgent calls :P. But there was lots of traffic and the booths were crowded so had to wait for my turn :P.

As soon as I stepped out the airport some kind of transformation was felt. It was like being plunged into an unknown new world, where an unknown language is spoken, and where there are more strangers than friends. With that feeling in the back of the mind I proceeded to search for taxis that can take me to the HajiAli area (which is well known for the Haji Ali shrine). The search was completed with the discovery of the so called Cool Cabs. These Cool Cab guys are a bunch of folks who paint their own car Blue and deploy themselves into the cab service. Some of them can be trusted and some cannot. And I found one who cannot be trusted and ended up paying a heavy prize for it.

Though I was taxed heavily by the cab driver, the ride turned out to be pretty interesting. I made some interesting observations that has I would like to share, some of them as are follows. The roads on the route he followed were pretty wide and most of the road was built using concrete. In some places they used to tile the road with tiles that used to tile the footpath, he said that was being done to prevent any damage to road by rains. I came across of the rivers which are actually not present officially on the maps of Mumbai. They were actually overflowing drains like the Domlur drain. I am still wondering why the Ambani brothers didn’t start a Boat ferrying service after looking at the drain.

The taxi ride ended up with a meter reading of Rs.600. Shocked at the reading and with an intention of not starting a fight I just paid the money and took the bill. With another cut in the pocket I started out to look for the Czech Republic consulate.

They say that the CzechRepublic, CR is a small country and so was the board that declared the location of the Consulate. I would like to inform that the consulate is closely guarded by a watchman and a cop. They instantly caught me when I entered their premises by jumping over a fence. I cannot be put to blame as the guard of the neighboring building told me that it was the only way to enter. If at all that guy comes to me asking for directions I will, for sure, direct him to the ladies toilet. After saying sorry to the CR cop, I said that I work for Perot and have and interview at 3 in the afternoon. He probably realized that I was saying the truth and asked me to come after 2:30. Now who will get angry at a good guy like me :P. The time at which this happened is 11:30 and I had a big chunk of time to explore the city.

The exploration started when I entered the Heera Panna shopping complex. Found lots of smuggled watches phones and fancy apparels there. It was pretty boring while window shopping so I shifted my gaze and started admiring the beauty of fair ladies who spoke some unknown language. They filled the space like the stars in the sky. You can only admire their beauty but cannot make an attempt to get close to them :P. The star gazing continued and so was my search for Vada Pav. The shops I found either had vada or either Pav. Finally I came across a shop that was selling them both, but that was a road side shop and didn’t want take any risk. My next stop was the Mahalakshmi temple, which is a famous land mark around this area, there only thing I liked here was the legions of Pigeons that swarmed the temple.

Continuous walking and gazing me made tired and I planned to have some refreshments and found a vegetarian hotel whose name starts with a K. Non vegetarians can go to a hotel, which is beside the one I went to, whose name starts with N. The hotels menu boasted of a variety of cuisines and so was their range of prizes. I quenched my hunger by just having a veg-sandwich and a glass of watermelon juice and he charged me 76 bucks.

The lunch gave me fresh energy to continue the expedition. The time was still 1:30 so I had to find ways to spend the remaining one hour. So I walked down the Camballa road and entered some shops pretending to buys something. One such shop was the snacks shop. The owner had so many items stocked that I felt like buying everything. Because of budget constraints I just restrained myself to buys some sweet and salty snacks.

After spending that one long hour I showed my face to the CR watch man, but this time entered the building from the right direction :D . He asked me to leave my bag and phone with him and took my sign on a register. Then went to the first floor of the building to meet two seemingly rude people out of which one was an Indian lady and the other was CR guy. Even before I could introduce my self they started firing questions at me. And for a few minutes I was in a battle ground where only one side is fighting and the other side is just watching :D

To be continued …

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