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Mumbai - An Experience (2)

Hello again! (I had drafted this near the end of July 2023 and conveniently forgot to post it, but go ahead reading, considering it to be July'23 :P)

Right now, I'm finally back in my home city! And I will run a mile in the opposite direction if anyone tells me the words "Vada Pav", "Paratha", "Paneer" or "Ek Sau Pachaas". It feels pretty lovely to be back, walk around the streets I know dearly, and eat piping hot home food. As I marveled at how quickly time had flown by (I was paying a fine for carrying overweight bags on the flight this time many Saturdays ago), I decided to pen down some of the other memories I've made, in part 2 of this article. Lessgo!

1. Fort Lohgad (Ft. Lonavala)

One fine weekend (just before the monsoon hit in full swing), I traveled to Lonavala for a trek at Fort Lohgad. I had asked the guide for the easiest trek, which he had assured me it was. Little did I know I was setting myself up for a whole day of huffing & puffing!

The fort in itself is an impressive, massive structure. Built in the 1620s, this fort had served as a quick emergency getaway for the royal dynasties of that era. With an imposing 500 steps just to reach its entrance from the base, followed by awe-inspiring levels upon levels leading up to the top of the hill range, it is indeed an architectural marvel. The guide explained passionately in flowing Hindi (as I tried to catch up in my not-so-fluent Hindi) regarding the rock formations, and the types of minerals found in each level & painted an immersive picture of many a Maratha battle that took place atop. I cannot quantify or justify the experience in mere words or pictures - it is something to be experienced for oneself!

As someone who has barely hiked a few kilometers, I'm proud I didn't trip over or roll about anywhere!

Lonavala itself is quite a beauty. The roads are picturesque, the clouds are within reach (and enjoy cheekily drizzling over you with a strong wind) and the air is fresh. On the whole, a lovely experience!

2. Crawford Market & Colaba Causeway

Oh my my, wasn't this a treat for me! These vintage spots, yet to be corroded by modern-day constructions, were such a treat for the antique lover in me! I absolutely adored eating at the Persian Cafes, bargaining (with little to no use) & purchasing products, wandering around admiring the British architecture, and imagining a time machine that would bring back the vintage era (while keeping intact our present-day mindset). My inner child was overjoyed as I bought a lot of whimsical things out of pure joy. One particular place (Cafe Firdos) has my heart. The manager & waiters were very compassionate, made me feel completely at home & even took a genuine interest in my work!

3. SoBo - South Bombay

SoBo is a vibe of its own. I could admire every single building for its architecture, the quaint black-yellow taxis for their warmth & the carefree air of this space. The places here are so aesthetic, the sunsets by Marine Drive are so magical and the fresh sea breeze is so invigorating. The cine buff in me had a gala time, visiting every place where iconic movies have been shot (Nariman Point, Taj, Oberoi Hotel, Hanging Gardens, Church Gate, CST, Leopold Cafe, to name a few).

The breathtaking sunset at Marine Drive, a place which commands thousands to admire its beauty for the 1 hour of evening sunset, was the cherry on top. I understood why Mumbai is nicknamed "the City of Dreams" - it truly lives up to it!

4. Matunga (Mumbai's Mylapore)

Oh My... if there is one place I wish I had explored more of, it is Matunga! A quaint spot that removed my homesickness for a short period, it is reminiscent of everything that is my comfort zone - kolams (floor art made with rice flour), temples, peaceful & calm mamas & mamis waddling about the roads, the smell of sizzling dosas, steaming hot idlis and spicy sambar (finally!!). It was indeed a nostalgic and well spent morning on a rare off-day from work.

5. Mirchi & Mime (Powai)

I've saved the best for last! This restaurant was one amazing & mindblowing experience. It is a very warm, inviting space with quirky decor, and amazing food, run entirely by specially abled people who communicate using sign language with the help of interpreters! I had their Kaffir Rasam, Stuffed Mini Kulchas & Sitaphal Pannacotta, each of which was a decadent *chef's kiss*.

The 2 months spent working in Mumbai, along with my wonderful friends, is now a core memory. Every moment spent here is etched in my mind. The lessons I've learnt on independence, exploration and quenching my curiosity are gems that I wouldn't want to learn or experience in any other way. With a deep sigh of satisfaction, I sign off the Mumbai Memoir!


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