A sudden and unexpected short trip to Mumbai (Bombay) was the perfect stimulus for another vacation. As we hurriedly planned our travel, I traveled back in time…
Bombay, Mumbai, Bambai – brings back a host of memories. For my family, long-time residents of the “slow-paced” Pune, life in Mumbai always seemed to have a “very fast pace”. However, the lively spirit and energy of the financial and entertainment capital of India ensured that we visited Mumbai several times.
Dad and nostalgia:
Dad loved to show us (show-off, perhaps? :)) his favorite hangouts in Dadar and Matunga. And to visit his umpteen friends in the area (I found it difficult to believe that he had spent only two years in the city!!). I have several fond memories from our trips to Borivali National Park (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) and a very crowded Chowpatty beach. A walk in charming Colaba. A short vacation with relatives in Bhandup. Gazing at the Arabian Sea from the Gateway of India, marveling at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. The sparkling lights of Queen’s Necklace and the spectacular walk along Marine Drive. Dad always insisted on travelling by the trademark PACKED local trains, no matter how much I grumbled about the crowds (I secretly hoped that he would take me by taxi if my complaints were convincing enough – needless to say, it never happened!).
And then, the competitive exams. Dad would accompany me for a quick trip to Mumbai for several competitive exams and interviews (Although I wondered why Pune didn’t have a test center, I loved the opportunity to visit the capital of Maharashtra).
Fun times with friends:
An exciting holiday with college buddies to a fun destination – EsselWorld in Mumbai. We screamed and squealed and laughed aloud, having a whale of a time on the rides.
A day trip with office colleagues for “shopping” in Mumbai (a shopper’s paradise!)!! I wasn’t a shopping enthusiast (and I do not have an iota of “bargaining” skills that are absolutely necessary for “street” shopping); I tagged along for the wonderful company and the journey by the classic “Deccan Queen” :).
Speaking of the “Deccan Queen”, the best part of the Pune-Mumbai train journeys was (and continues to be) the unbeatable scenery – the majestic mountains, the winding ghats, the numerous tunnels, the amazing waterfalls (especially after the monsoon season)…
On rare occasions, we traveled by bus on the (old) Pune-Mumbai highway (NH-4). Sometimes, the traffic jams would make it a nightmarish experience… The Pune-Mumbai expressway completely transformed the situation. Most folks prefer driving on this fabulous expressway, a true engineering feat, which has drastically reduced the travel time between the cities.
With Pune lacking an international airport, all trips overseas were from Sahar International Airport (Mumbai). My first ever plane ride and my first journey overseas – a mixed bag of emotions. The joyous moments – coming home on vacation from the US (to a grand and warm welcome from family). The emotional, sad ones – tearful goodbyes and heading back to the US after a wonderful vacation.
What memories would we bring back from the Maximum City this time? Next post! 🙂