Monday, March 28, 2016

City of Dreams - Part 2

Churchgate - Gateway of India - Victoria Terminus - Marine Drive

I finally got the opportunity to do some solid sightseeing on my fifth day, when I managed to get off work at 1:30 itself. After a fruitless and pointless visit to the High Street Phoenix (its a mall), I took a train to Churchgate and after some deliberation, took a taxi to the Gateway of India. This monument dedicated to some Prince (can't remember whom) together with the Taj Mahal hotel forms the subject of the most distinctive picture the postcard of Bombay. Therefore, I was surprised to discover that it lay on the other side of Marine drive, a kind of obscure location. I was also disappointed to find the monument looking small and grey, not as impressive as it had seemed when I first saw it. Some renovation work was going on and the scaffolds did nothing for the general effect. The Taj Mahal Hotel however looked as old and majestic as ever. I spent sometime there just feeling the sea breeze and the watching the people delighting in the sea sprays and probably that's when I came to terms with the city and truly allowed its spell to be cast over me. The spirit of the people, the genuine pleasure with which they squealed whenever an extra big wave crashed hard against the rocks, the way they happily made friends with those whom they had snarled at just moments ago in the train..really warmed me. It was like one big, happy family! I got wet by the sea spray myself and contemplated going into the Taj Mahal hotel to freshen up but decided that my appearance was too bedraggled. Another fantastic thing about Bombay is the sea breeze. I can't say enough about the way it buffets you around and blows your umbrella and occasionally your entire person all over the place. Its a lovely feeling...and relishing these happy thoughts and walked randomly down a couple of roads before finding myself at the Cafe Basilico road (don't go there if you can help it, very expensive with tiny portions. Nice food and all but...well), where we had come on our first day. This road lead straight to Colaba Causeway and I was thrilled with this discovery! Feeling very much like I knew the place inside out, with all its shortcuts I then walked into Leopold's Cafe and ordered a beer and french fries and sat savoring the atmosphere. There wasn't really much to savour..the cafe was an interesting place with is fair mix of local and queer crowd (the latter mainly being lecherous men and hippy type foreigners).The waiter was very cute, I would like to take a moment to thank him for being so sweet to me on that day...I sat there, mixed thoughts running through my head - how it was nice that I was alone, how it might have been better if someone had come along with me, how pretty everything was and so on. I then walked down the causeway to Regal Cinema and took a left and walked down the road towards the art gallery I think. To my left was the University. I couldn't take my eyes of the beautiful architecture of the buildings (which is a serious disadvantage when you are walking). Bombay undoubtedly possesses some of loveliest buildings (Victorian Gothic style architecture, I read somewhere) in the whole of India..every graceful building was like a monument in itself. I was also strangely delighted to find these old world wonders housing hotels, Westsides, bookshops and what not. It was an incredibly charming walk.

I yearned to find more cool shortcuts, so I took another turning at a vaguely familiar place and found the back of the High Court. I'd come there the previous day for a rendezvous with Bhavya and Aishu at 'Fountain Sizzlers' so I knew how to get to its front. I walked on towards the

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