Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The impulsive trip to Mumbai

You know, they are really random, and that is what makes things even more interesting. I am speaking about impulses, and the exhilaration that results after one follows those impulses. Here is a description about an impulse trip I went on, on the 2nd day of the year of 2006.

On the evening of the 1st day of 2006, I'd been to Nikhil's place and from there we went on to watch a movie I'd watched just the day before. Midway through, Nikhil did not feel like watching it through till the end, so we both left. After spending enough time dining at Hotel Pride, we were on our way home. That's when I suddenly asked Nikhil if he was interested in going to Sinhagad. He said he was never averse to the concept of following random impulses, and so we headed on. Note the time: 0130 hours.

Enroute Sinhagad, there is a beautiful lake, the Khadakvasla lake, and Nikhil suggested we stop there instead of going all the way up to Sinhagad. It was beautiful there, a chilly starry night, the sound of water lapping, and we puffing on Marlboro Lights. In the excitement of the surroundings there, I got yet another impulse. I asked Nikhil if he'd mind going to Mumbai (Bombay). Without batting an eyelid, Nikhil called up Faizaan, our friend who stays at Colaba. 0230 hours. We told him we would reach his place by 0530 hours, which was the time he generally gets up everyday.

We finished the cigarettes we were smoking, and sat in the car, me on the wheel. In no time we were on the Pune - Mumbai Expressway, with the likes of Bob Marley, Bob Seger, Enya, Neil Diamond and Elliot Smith giving us company. At such times I really feel that having one's own vehicle becomes such an enabler (if such a word were to exist). But that's hardly something I want to write about. We had an interesting discussion on the philosophy of Vedanta (self-realization). Not something that I would really mention in this post, maybe in some other post, but it certainly was intriguing enought to keep both of us awake during the night drive. Cruising at an unbroken 80 kmph all through, we were in Mumbai at the exact hour we had committed. No hassles in finding our way to Faizaan's place.

I'll take a moment here to describe where Faizaan stays and that the area he resides in, can itself be a reason to go to Mumbai. In the plush locality of Colaba, Faizaan stays in an apartment which has something like 31 odd stories. Bang next to the grand Taj President Hotel, his apartment looks like a royale one, and from his 10th floor house, what one gets to see is nothing short of 'auussome' (say this aloud to understand what it means). I have been spending close to 2 months of every single year of my childhood in this fabulous city called Mumbai, and that's what draws me to there, all I need is some small reason. An impulse is anyways good enough a reason :)

We went to Faizaan's place, and 0530 hours is the time when he goes around for a walk/jog/run. Nikhil looked ready to accompany him, but I said I needed to catch some sleep. Twas mandatory that I did it. Faizaan played some pieces on his nylon string (classical) guitar. He had to complete writing some sheet music as part of his homework too. Nikhil and Faizaan have taken a fancy towards classical guitaring these days. The music served as a catalyst in putting me to sleep (being frank enough, I was not in a position to admire it then, moreover, I did not know how much I could appreciate it).

3 hours of sleep followed, with Nikhil following suit once I made the decision. Sure was a funny thing to reach Mumbai and sleep without really enjoying the time. But being very frank, sleep is something I cannot avoid, and we had to drive back soon given the fact that Faizaan could not take a day off from work. I had already made my mind that I would be taking a day off from work, Nikhil was contemplating his chances (a futile exercise). We woke up at 1000 hours, and as soon as we left Faizaan's house, the accident prone Nikhil managed to kick a dustbin down the staircase. He offered to clear the mess, but after the sweeper denied twice over, Nikhil left it at that. We then proceeded for a quick breakfast in an Irani eatery (Hotel Persian). Nikhil's second fumble resulted in almost all the pepper from the pepper container being dropped on his omlette. He had the guts to put it back in the container, but I believe it was a fit act for a "Grade III Restaurant" as per the rating of Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Not that the place was too bad, but I hope you get the point.

We then dropped Faizaan at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus [CST] (formerly Victoria Terminus [VT]), from where he was going to take a train to his workplace. Bang opposite the station, there was this music shop called "Planet M", from where Nikhil wanted to buy some music. It took us half an hour to search for a parking spot, firstly because all adjoining lanes in that place had police stations and the press office of Times of India. Secondly, I was being a bit too skeptic in parking at some odd place because on my previous trip to Mumbai, my car was towed away. We finally managed to squeeze in the car in a pay-and-park place, in a sort of risky manner. We then drank coconut juice, and proceeded on to "Planet M" after having a couple of smokes. Nikhil did end up buying quite some music - Eric Clapton, R.E.M etc, though he was not too pleased with the stock. Neither was I.

After ruling out the wishes of me shopping for old coins in the Fort Area and Nikhil ruling out his wish for buying a cell phone, we were set on our way back. I took the wheel again, given that I was amply awake. This time, we took a long-ish route to get out of Mumbai, because I missed to take a turn. It proved to be a boon in disguise and we managed to evade the Chembur traffic bottleneck. This time Eric Clapton and R.E.M gave us company, credit to the music bought by Nikhil. I was trying to keep up with an Optra Chevrolet on the Expressway, and at least managed to keep it in close distance, but that meant my average speed was over 120 kmph. We reached Pune in less than 2 hours! Before exiting Mumbai, the direction boards were showing "Goa"... No, we did not really go Goa, but you know what I thought!

We had no formal lunch as such, so we ended up going at Hotel Sun n Sand. After all, we had to end in a grand way what we had started in a grand way, from Hotel Pride the previous night. Another reason was that it was past 0330 hours, which was past the lunch time of all hotels. Only a 5-star hotel would offer us some food at that hour. An interesting discussion with a stranger was the highlight of the lunch at Hotel Sun n Sand.

The stranger was from the elder generation (past 60 on the first look). Sitting on the table next to us, that person initiated the unsolicited dialogue. He mentioned that he was from Agra, and was interested in knowing places in Pune that were entertaining as such. There were questions from our side as to what was he particularly interested in. We questioned, he answered in monosyllables (with a smile on his face that seemed to hide something). Spirituality? No. Historical places? No. Forts or such things? No. Amusement parks sorts? No. After we ran out of options, Nikhil finally asked in the most sarcastic tone - "Women?". Old man now felt at peace. After 5/6 shots, Nikhil managed to hit bulls eye. Old man described how money did not matter to him, and how he had seen sites on the Internet that lured people and the likes. Disgusted, Nikhil told him to approach a rickshaw (a three seater public transport vehicle commonly seen in India) and go to Budhwar Peth, the red light area in Pune. We did not really deliberate much on this later, and decided to finally return home after 19 hours of leaving home the previous night.

I dropped Nikhil home, parked the car, and before knowing what the time was, retired to bed, to wake up 15 hours later! All sleep cycles completed in one shot, I was ready to greet the working week. Long live random impulses!


At 9:27 PM, Blogger Nikhil Kshirsagar said...

man i just re read this. crazy !

At 3:04 AM, Blogger Aniket Anikhindi said...

Sure was.. Freakish. Insane days those were!


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