Cutlets at Churchgate and mumphalis in Marine Drive

August 10, 2010

I feel overwhelmed. And why not? The post on Bombay (Romancing the rains) moved my good friend and colleague Alcazar so much so that he posted a gigantic comment to it. Instead of relegating it virtually as the post’s footnote, i thought it should be a separate entry on this blog.

For, Alcazar (Abhik Sen’s virtual name) shares my love for food, for rains, for aimless wandering and for Bombay in his passionate write-up.

Please read on and let him know whether you share his love as well:

Your post makes me both happy and sad — rather envious. The lazy rain in Bombay (such feelings are never invoked in ‘Mumbai’) brings back a lot of happy memories — and also the realisation that I haven’t been to one of my favourite cities on this planet for nearly THREE years!!! No wonder I envy you.

Abhik must have spent afternoons like this in Bombay. (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

I can almost smell the rains in your post.

My idea of bliss in that city used to be sumptuous lunch of dal-bhaat with chicken curry and fish cutlets at Churchgate (courtesy my relatives), being dropped off at Mittal Towers and then walking down to Gateway of India — if I could find my way — or hail a cab till there.

There, I would spend hours exploring the smells and sights, walk down to Marine Drive through a light drizzle and sit down just to watch life go by as dusk turned to evening.

There used to be a park near the Taj — forget what it is called — where photographers would pester you to have your snap taken with the iconic hotel as the backdrop. That used to be a favourite haunt as well — observing the tourists and sometimes guests at the hotel. Soon my tummy would rumble, even after having whatever was on offer at Marine Drive — mumphalis etc.

Lazing at Nariman Point. (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

Off to Bade Miyan then, where I’d order a takeaway roll if I was alone or sit down for an orgy of meats if with friends.

An added benefit was observing the gleaming cars and the glamorous people in them!

With hunger satiated, it was time to hit the watering holes — the seedier the better. This was pre-prohibition Mumbai where beer bars or dance bars were allowed.

I have lost count of the number of times we (an all-male group) have frustrated bar owners by downing just two glasses of gin and lime during our four-hour-long stay. Guess the only reason they didn’t throw us out was because a couple of my friends were pretty burly.

It always used to fill us with a sense of bravado that we were possibly sharing space with Mumbai’s dreaded underworld — about whom we’d learnt everything from RGV’s crime flicks!

The lure of a spirited evening. (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

We’d leave around an hour after midnight and take a night train with whichever friend I was camping with that night (I NEVER spent a night at my relatives’).

Sometimes, just for a change in scenery, I’d take a train to Bandra and then sit down with friends on the parapet diagonally opposite to what is now SRK’s Mannat. The spot presents a fabulous view of the Queen’s Necklace.

And, if you can manage to set up a tripod on those nights the halogen lamps don’t shine, it makes for a fabulous photo with delayed exposure.

Thanks again for such a wonderful post.

— Alcazar

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9 Responses to “Cutlets at Churchgate and mumphalis in Marine Drive”

  1. Sharmi said

    Beautiful Abhik. You have just travelled back in time. I see you share my husband’s love for the Maximum City 🙂
    Let us all make a trip there once. All of us together. It will be fun 🙂

  2. netdhaba said

    @Sharmi: Let’s do the trip. Or better still, let’s all shift there. It will be fun 🙂

  3. Alcazar said

    @Sharmi Thanks so much Boudi! I am all for the Mumbai trip
    @netdhaba Dada, thanks you… and I second your idea about shifting to the Maximum City. There, for a change we’ll find REAL roads to race on. But I do feel pretty embarrassed seeing my name on the blog

  4. netdhaba said

    @Sharmi: Desktop’s the solution, isn’t it? 🙂

  5. Anindita said

    I’d say a beautifully written piece. Even if u have never visited Mumbai im sure after reading this article you’ll have a craving to visit the city.

  6. netdhaba said

    @Anindita: Thanks a ton on behalf of Abhik. He’s a fine writer, and when you write about things you love, your pen flowers. Please keep visiting the blog. Thanks again

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