Sometimes I have moments when I see the city through a painter’s eye. That night, that Friday night, was one of those moments, moments torn out of a novel’s pages, hazy, foggy, dreamy. Romantic painterly Mumbai.

Days ago, I signed up for Reality Tour‘s one day village tour. Didn’t get it.

“Sorry, it’s only Krishna who does the tour and he’s busy this Saturday,” Evelyn, the efficient coordinator of Reality Tours explained.

Sigh. What will I do this weekend? Twiddle twiddle thumbs. Of course! The bucket list the bucket list! The bucket list that’s keeping me sane these last months as I wrestle with holding on to the days, the bits of Mumbai seconds that are left, and look forward to being with B again, honey, love of my life.

“Evelyn, is your Mumbai by night tour available on Friday?”

“Yes, it’s available everyday.”

Which brings me to Bade Miya, then the brisk walk to the Regal Theatre as I waited for Dinesh, our tour guide.

Dinesh explaining the entertainment available at Chowpatty Beach

I was there at 6:37. My legs always rushing, always ahead of time. Of course, Dinesh wasn’t there, so I strolled the Colaba Causeway, entered my favorite bookstore, mindlessly scanning books I would never buy. I’m in transition which translates into intolerance for baggage.

Word Search, Colaba Causeway

So follows the brisk walk back to the Regal Theatre, where a European couple asks the ice-cream vendor for the bathroom’s location. I directed them to Cafe Coffee Day. “The bathrooms are clean there. Mumbai standards.”

Dinesh arrived, the couple returned, and little did I know that they would be my tour mates. I should’ve written their names down but sometimes I’m hard of hearing and too embarrassed to ask people to keep repeating themselves. I think his name was Glance, and hers something like Aulala. He was Danish, she Polish. She moved to Denmark for him.

Our first stop was Chowpatty Beach, home to beach fairs and family picnics. Beautiful. Quiet. Breezy. Empty–Mumbai standards. Men in packs with scooters donning bright neon lights. Street side toys, fans spinning, glow lights.

“Over there they sell the popular Mumbai street food. But I wouldn’t recommend it for you guys because you might get a bad stomach,” Dinesh explained.

I rushed to the street food, taking photos, trying balance not being too invasive and making sure I consider Glance’s and Aulala’s time.

Pav Bhaji, a mixture of tomato puree, green bell pepper, potatoes, cauliflower, butter, masala and other spices. It's usually eaten with bread. I admit to being whimp at eating street food because I've gotten a bad stomach from the stuff.

Syrups used for ice gola, which is basically shaved ice with syrup.

We walked near the water but didn’t touch it. Dinesh explained that the beach fairs would be in full blast on Saturdays and Sundays, and I plotted my return to the beach some time next month. We waited for our four wheel drive on the Chowpatty Road and I admired the art deco buildings sprawled in front of us.

Mumbai by night was illuminated by yellow lights, and this somehow covered the ruins and lack of restoration of the century old buildings. It somehow looked prettier at night, buildings glowing, twinkling underneath a star filled sky.

We mounted the jeep and Dinesh announced that we were on our way to Banganga Tank.

More on my Mumbai Night tour tomorrow! Thanks for reading!

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