Friday night ended with good dinner and couple of Fosters.
The day started around 9:30 AM. Had a healthy breakfast of Parotas. I and Medha had plans of going for sight seeing. Morning was reserved for doing couple of interviews. I checked my emails and expected Param to have arranged for an interview with Ganesh. But there was no such email. The other candidate was Murthy. I called him couple of times. I got hold of him. I scheduled the interview at 2 PM. Failed to contact Kamal to setup the call. He did not pick up the phone. Meanwhile I finished the lunch at the TQ itself. Lunch was good. Very Tasty. Kamal called me later around 2:30 PM to inform me that he had missed the call. Things did not work out and the interview with Murthy did not happen.
I and Medha left for Andheri Station. We speculated a lot whether to carry the cam-corder. We decided against the idea of taking the cam mainly because of the fear of local train crowd. We hopped into a Ric (Rs 65 for the auto). We reached Andheri station around 3 PM. I got the first class return ticket to Churchgate. It costed me 312 Rs. It is pretty expensive.
Medha was excited about her first travel on the local train. I can see she had anxiety as well as fear in her eyes. We both got into the first class car after after missing one of the trains (because of the crowd). The station was pretty crowded even on Saturdays. Both I and Medha were imagining what could be crowd like on working days.
Reached Churchgate around 4 PM. We had not got a seat. I was curiously looking at the fellow passengers. Variety of people. I was educating her with my little knowledge on what ever I knew. Medha was feeling little shy as she was the only woman in the car. She was conscious of this fact and her eyes were fixed down staring at the floor of the train.
We came of the station. Afternoon heat greeted us. It was sultry and hot. We had tea at the destination, in-fact coffee at one of the vendor coffee day machines.
We put on our shades and started walking. That is the only direction I knew about. We spotted Eros theatre. I showed it to Medha and told her that it is one of the oldest theatres. There was some movie, I believe Jane Tu…ya Jane Na. I remember seeing the big hoarding in front of the movie hall.
I spotted a taxi and asked directions for the Gateway of India. He looked at us, and said,”seeda, second left”.
The walk was smooth, less traffic. We were admiring few of the old building of the Mumbai, its un-usual structure and variety. I was blindly following the instructions given by a taxi wala to Gateway of India and my wife, Medha was blindly following me. I can see that she trusted me thoroughly.
Then we spotted Jehangir Ary gallery and decided to check it out. It is about 200 metres from the GWI. We still had not spotted the GWI.
The cool air of the gallery welcomed us. There were 3 large rooms. We got into the largest one. It had some clay sculptures. I think so. Some clay idols with a possible theme were placed on the ground. There were many curious tourists’ faces looking at them and trying to understand the artists’ imagination. We spent about 15 mins. One of the theme was reflecting the gap in the rich and poor. There was a tribal woman carrying a child on the back and carrying a pot. She was staring at a small baby sitting on a miniature truck. This truck was controlled through a remote by the baby’s mother. The mother was depicted as a city woman, with western outfit.
Then we went to the second room. This was much bigger than the first room. This had many painting of various painters. One thing that fascinated me & Medha was a collage paintings’ by an artist named Uma. There was no brush or paint. All the drawings ( I cannot call them paintings’ ) were made of paper cutting, wall papers, photos, piece of paper etc. The kind of detail portrayed and the effort involved in such a thing is magnanimous. Truly marvelous. We quickly browsed other paintings. They were good.The crowd was increasing. We got out and started moving towards GWI.
As we were passing by, we noticed a museum next to art gallery. It was a big one. The board outside read – “Chatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangralaya”. I like museums. I assumed Medha will like it. We entered. The tickets costed us 30 Rs. There was an audio tour available. We skipped it.
The museum is surrounded by garden. The garden could have been maintained better. At the entrance of the garden you see two police men. The garden is sprinkled with many statues. These are not usual political leaders, but of figures of Buddha, monks etc.
At the entrance of the museum there is big Jain wooden mantap. It has exquisite wooden carving, very fine and delicate having the many life incidents of first Jain thirantakara, Adninath. We mentally settled down. The air inside was cool. The museum is massive building constructed in the same lines as the architecture of Bijapur monuments, having a big dome. I’m from Bijapur .
There were many collections of Sir Ratan Tata’s, which got our attention. Some old Chinese artifacts were interesting. We quickly browsed the ground floor and embarked upon the first floor. On the first floor were many old paintings, some Neolithic tools, pre historic statues etc. We contemplated on the evolution of man a bit and moved to the third floor. Lots of glass works, centuries old. Lots of Buddha statues etc. We were getting tired and it was information overdose.
We had some snacks at the museum cafeteria and returned back to the road.
Finally after admiring the massive Taj hotel, we spotted GWI, tall and majestic, at the background the Arabian Sea. There were lots of cops in sight. We were one of among the many tourists. GWI was covered with some net kind of a thing, there was some kind of renovation work going on. As we approached the GWI, we realized the massiveness of the building. Next to it, there were many tourists, women and kids in a group.
I and Medha approached the commotion and realized that it was a ferry man selling the tickets for a short trip in the sea. We decided to take the trip. It costed us 100Rs for two tickets.
The ferry was a two storey, the top was open. It was big enough to hold around 100 – 125 passengers. We managed to get two seats on the top portion. The ride in the sea lasted for about 30 mins. The boat was rocking swaying from side to side. The evening breeze was cool carrying the smell of sea. The GWI had an impressive architecture from the other side of the view against the background of Taj Hotel. There were many kids, playing on the boat without any fear on the boat. They were excited about the sea.
I was seated and oscillating - looking at the dark waters and the shore. There were some big ships, and a small island which had a strange flag hoisted. Medha was commenting about kids, elderly couple, muslim couples, water, GWI etc.
After we landed, our encounter was with on-the-spot photographers. They have a high resolution digital camera, a portable Epson photo printer and provide cheap memories for unfortunate tourists who forget their cameras or who cannot afford one. We were one among them. We got two photos clicked, one against the background of GWI and other Taj. Paid 80 bucks to the guy and started walking looking at sea. The photos had come out good. My wife realized her chubby cheeks in the photo, blamed the lazy life and rich food. She planned to hit the jogger’s park next day onwards. Women plan. Men just execute.
We walked for a small distance on the side of the GWI, surrounded by lots of tourists and variety of people. We stopped, I bought groundnuts and we decided to go to Marine drive.
We hopped into a taxi and within 15 mins, we are at Marine drive. I parted 40 bucks to the taxi. The first view of the Marine drive is that it is a place for romance. You see lots of pairs, sitting on the rocks facing the sea, their back to the traffic, holding hands, or sometimes the guy’s arm on the girl and whispering in each other ears.
But wait, I and my wife felt the exact opposite. We sat on the one of the rocks, facing the sea. At first glance nearby you spot very dirty rocks, followed by dirty shores, with almost black colored water. No cool breeze, but only loud noise of the traffic behind our back. There is no freshness around, but lots of pollution. I added to the pollution by smoking a cigarette and commenting on two crabs in front of me on a big back rock. I’m not scared by crabs, but this time, against the black rocks, two big crabs scared me.
We decided to return back. We spent exactly 15 mins there. We talked back to the Charni road station with an elderly person who kindly helped to lead us to the station.
It was slow train to Andheri. I and Medha got into the first class. No seats to sit. It was pretty crowded, probably people returning back to home after work. My wife again felt isolated mentally, as she became conscious that she was the only woman in a crowd of men. She started gazing at the floor of the train avoiding any eye contacts with anybody and wishing the destination comes faster.
After 30 mins, we were at Andheri. We got down the train. There was ocean of people at the station. I followed my instincts to find the exit. I have to avoid the west exit and go to the Andheri east. It seemed confusing on which direction to take. I mentioned about my confusion about east and west to Medha. She asked me to check with somebody. Somehow, my intuitions were strong and I took the right exit. My wife blindly followed me and praying that the exit is correct. Fortunately it was the correct exit. We started descending avoiding many travelers.
I felt little hungry after seeing lot of vad-paav stalls outside the station. I bought couple of them. We hopped into a ric and started devouring the paav. It was tasty.
25 mins later, we were in out TQ, 202. Had a warm bath and settled on the bed. It was good experience.