What works for me is the journey from home to office and back. Sure, traffic is torture, but what’s new?
I get some two hours to myself. I get two hours with the city. From Nariman Point to Bandra – that’s about 20kms. A journey that takes half-an-hour in the morning (I reach early) and about an hour-and-a-half in the evening/night.
Always a good time to think. And man, I’ve had stuff to think about. Loads and loads and truck loads of stuff. I hope to share what it's all about sometime.
But till then, here are some of my random thoughts and observations while I’m driving on my way home.
Nariman Point: Horse rides, merry-go-rounds, little scooters, bikes and various other paraphernalia. Yes, this is Nariman Point. After 8pm on weekdays and throughout weekend evenings, this place goes mad. It’s like a fair. The first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, all this in the middle of Bombay’s business district? Looks straight out of Juhu Beach.
So, I’m guessing that this crowd is from Colaba, Cuffe Parade, etc. You know, South Bombay yuppies and pappas and mummys, taking bacha party out for a ride in the only place available there. There’s a nice economy running there on its own. Including food, etc. etc. All they need is a park…which I think is also coming up nearby. Maja ni life.
Marine Drive: On the radio…
in dino, dil mera, mujhse hai keh raha…I just love that song. That’s the only thing I liked in “Life in Metro” (that and perhaps Irrfan Khan and the ethereal Kangana Ranaut). Lovely song.
tu khaab saja, tu ji le jara…
hai tujhe bhi izaazat, karle tu bhi muhabbat
If only the 3-man band “Metro” had given this bearded dude more songs, because the other two (thin dude and angry dude) were very ordinary. (also read update below)
I love this song. Turn up the volume. Turn it up before they play something else. In dino, dil mera, mujhse hai keh raha…..oh yes.
I like Fever 104FM. I switched over to them (from Radio One) quite some time back. They have these RJs in the evening who go …“Hum hein aapke Drive Time Gangsters Divya aur Rohini”. One calls herself Uptown Girl and the other is…I can’t remember..but I don’t think it was Highway Star.
Marine Drive will always remind me of Sailu. Wonder where he is.
Chowpatty: This guy at office had once asked me why’s there a crowd outside Cream Centre every evening. I told him it’s because they sell leftovers at an 80% discount. So that big crowd you see, they're all waiting to get in.
And the crowd goes mad on the weekends. Those Cream Centre guys literally throw out food in the air, like people feed pigeons at Marine Drive. And all those well-dressed people, waiting outside for (almost) free food..they go at it like mad. You know, this is Bombay. He believed me. But then he’s not from Bombay.
Babulnath: Is Banganga somewhere near by? I just have to go there. (And also to these places that that indefatigable true blue Bombay Boy – Abodh – recommends.)
Vama Flyover: There’s this "HELP" sign at some Kemps Corner building that you can spot while passing over this flyover. Big bold letters in black. Someone once told me that people got spooked by this. You know, are there kidnapped kids trapped inside, crying out for HELP? But that’s not the case. It’s, in fact, a health library (not sure if its this). I tell you, this city…
Mahalakshmi junction: Street kid selling assorted books knocks on my window. I wave him off. "Nahi chahiye boss". He goes “Worli Naka, sir, Worli Naka?”. He wants a lift. Hop in kid, aaja meri gaadi mein baith ja. He tells me of a time when a driver in a Merc gave him a lift over the same distance. I tell you, this city…
Scene below Vama flyover: Yuppie in his Honda City parked below a 'No-parking sign' blissfully chatting away on his cell, in his car. Oh, he’s not breaking the law. Law says you can’t talk while driving. Law doesn’t say you can’t talk while you’re parked under a 'No-parking sign'. So it’s cool, dude, chat away. So what if the rest of the city’s honking behind you?
Oh, and those blinking indicator lights on your car? You know, those that go off together when you press that red triangle on your dash? See, those lights don't mean “Do not disturb, I'm on a call”. They mean "Help, help, I need help". Please remember that. Who knows..the next time I see you yakking on your cell in your car with those lights on, I might be tempted to break your window and rescue you.
Haji Ali Juice Centre: This place..with all the cabs parked outside, some with those green tube lights inside...reminds me of a superb scene in Maximum City – the one where a goon takes out a dance bar girl and they meet here. He tells the cab driver to take a walk, releases love-birds in the cab, and both of them try to catch these birds…which is how he gets to touch her for the first time. If I remember right, the book said that most of these birds also die in the car.
Worli Sea Face: Have they really sold that dairy there? Will a five star hotel really come up in its place?
Shivaji Park: Man…when will they finish making whatever they’re making out there? I mean, its dug up for ages. Come on.
Mahim: Parking lot. Bottleneck. Shut down the engine, chill out. Pull those windows down. Catch a glimpse of the dargah to your left. It comes after a small temple you just passed by on your right. Mandir, masjid, one road. I think a sequence in "Maqbool" was shot at this dargah.
To your left, chances are you won’t miss those small hotels. With hordes of people bunched up, sitting on their haunches…waiting. Some have empty looks on their faces, some are hopeful. All of them wait for a car that stops and hands out a Rs50/100/500/1,000 note to the hotel. Depending on what the seth (or his driver) of the car gives, that’s their dinner. At least for the lucky ones who get waved inside. Till a hand suddenly stops those left behind, from going ahead. Because, Rs100 only covers 10 people. The others will have to wait. For the next car to stop. For some guy who’d asked mannat at the dargah, or at Mahim Church…or in his heart…and is now fulfilling it by feeding the hungry. Some of those passing by in their cars look at this wretched lot and curse under their breath “saale…muft ka khaate hain”.
Bandra: Home. Finally.
Another day in paradise. Another day in the city.
This city, I tell you...
Update: Via e-mail from Amit Varma: "In Dino...was only picturised on Preetam in the film (the bearded guy). It was actually sung by Soham, who didn't appear in the film at all, but did in the promotional video." Thanks very much for that Amit.