Friday, March 21, 2014

The Bombay bug

For all the glory of being christened the silicon valley of India, for all the hustle and bustle and activity, for all the unplanned development, for all the traffic snarls, for all the lack of infrastructure, for all the insufficient public transport systems, For all the low-rise buildings,  the "Swalpa adjust maadi" city of Bangalore, despite all this, is still very laid back compared to Bombay, or should I be saying Mumbai?

Just a 1000KM away and yet a world of difference. For starters.. there are just SO MUCH MORE PEOPLE! A city that's smothered by a haze of smoke is in direct contrast to the people living in it. The warmth of the people and their penchant to follow the rules can be seen when the Autorickshaws charge not a penny more than the meter and the Taxis cost only incrementally more than the Autos. From the amazingly lip-smacking yet cheap street food to the swanky Palladium mall, I wanted to take it all in.

Yes, I was bitten by the Bombay bug. The city as a way of seeping into your senses, crawl into your vein and before you know it, you're a Mumbaikar too! A thousand posts before this would've talked about this beautiful, yet polluted city. A million different posts would've talked about the woes that bog it down. And an equal number that call it "Slumbai". So, I am not going to talk about any of those. What I AM going to talk about instead is the kind of bug that bit me. The travel bug!

I've been in Bangalore all my life. I used to joke, once upon a time, about how the northern most part of India that I've been to was Tirupati. Yeah. That held true for a very long time in my life. *Hangs head down in shame* Although I was the adventurous kind, I never was given the opportunity or permission to venture out anywhere on my own. And when I didn't need the permission, I still hadn't saved up enough to afford to just pack my bags and leave. As a result, I am yet (yes, to date *Hangs head in shame again*) to visit a lot of places even around Bangalore. The first time I really was on my own in another city was when I was sent to Germany on work. What a beautiful experience that was! but that's for another post, another time. Moving on...
So, when I got to know that I'm being sent to Bombay, I promised myself to break out of my shell and not sit on my backside just warming my seat. Since I didn't know if, a very BIG IF or when next I'll ever be going back to Mumbai, I decided to make the best possible use of my time to explore both the city and all that was humanly possible around it. BOY! was I in for a surprise. Suddenly the time on hand was terribly insufficient to cover all the places I wanted to see.

I got out of the city every chance that I got and explored as much as I could given the money and time I could spare. The travel bug had finally caught me after me being elusive to it for all these years when in Bangalore. Bombay made me realise how there is SO MUCH to explore even in and around Bangalore. The city did change something fundamentally about me. It gave a whole new perspective. So, I've decided to continue my adventures even after I returned. After a whole month of settling down back in Bangalore, now I can pay heed to my travel urge. (Honestly, I was just procrastinating but shhhh...). I'm planning to kick it off with a bike trip to Lepakshi tomorrow. All going well, this plan should come to fruition. Let's see. I'll update this post with pics from that trip if it happens, or may be a whole new post for it altogether.

I know I've made you wait this long to know where all I had been to and what all I had seen and done in Maharashtra (if you've not been following me on Google+ or instagram or Facebook). So, without any further ado... 

Here are the pics: 

I'm yet to compile the older photos from Elephanta and Mumbai itself. So, I'll update this post once it is done. 

And finally, a BIG thanks to Google search and maps for helping me figure out and get my facts checked before venturing out blind. Who knows, I would've probably ended up being mugged somewhere or worse, if not for being armed with prior info. So terribly grateful for that not happening :D 

Until the next adventure then (hopefully soon)...

Happy travelling!