Barefoot in Bombay

How exactly do you end up shoe-less in South Bombay on a slow Sunday evening? You could try being me for a few hours!

It all started when this modern day Cinders expressed a desire to see Bombay. (Do you also get the feeling that this is going to be a long story?)

Until about a year ago, my only memories of Bombay were of its airports. Our flight would land at Sahar International in the middle of the night. My mum and I would then spend several hours hunting down, variously :
* The uncle designated to fly down from Chennai to escort us back home
* A luggage trolley for our Delsey bags filled with Camay soap, Pistas and Charlie purses.
* The Airport Manager who, for some reason, was usually more well hidden than most guerrilla fighters are.

After moving to Ahmedabad, I now get to see Santa Cruz on a more regular basis. Alas! Many many things have changed since I was a kid. The city is called Mumbai now. Everything else is now named after Shivaji, including both airports, a train terminus, about three roads and several tea stalls.

To cut a long story to about medium length, after having seen nothing of Bombay except the airports and the consulate, I decided it was time to remedy the situation. Which is how I landed up in Bombay last weekend.

Fungus, who had kindly offered to show me around town picked me up at Andheri. Usually, when a gentleman says he will pick you up, it means he is bringing a car or a bike. In Bombay, it means he is going to meet you at the terminus and elbow his way through the crowd so that you can get first dibs on a much coveted seat in the local train.

We traveled from Andheri to Churchgate along the Harbour Line and then walked to Marine Drive. As a city, Bombay is very tourist friendly. Names of places and streets are largely self explanatory. Bandstand for example is apparently where the band used to, well, stand.

We sat for a while looking at the sea and the Bombay skyline. I got a little paranoid that I would lose my slippers in the weirdly shaped inter-locking rocks on the corniche, so I removed them and kept them to the side.

I regaled Fungus with stories of broken heels and how Sh. would chivalrously give me his slippers and walk barefoot. Our new age gentleman scoffed at the very idea!

By this point, dear reader, you’ve figured out how this story ends haven’t you? As we get up to leave a while later, I somehow managed to kick my carefully secured slipper over the edge.

In the 12.7 seconds it took to fall, several distinct memories flashed before my eyes. Forks that had flown to neighbouring tables at a 5 star restaurant, that were discreetly retrieved by Sh. Days when I decided to take the quickest route down the stairs at the theater, covering 24 steps in 4.8 seconds – face first. So perhaps, this wasn’t my most embarrassing memory in recent times!

This, then, is how I ended up shoe-less in South Bombay on a slow Sunday evening.

Fungus loaned me his slippers and led the way to the nearest mall. I braved withering looks to squeak out my shoe size to the condescending sales guy. After asking me twice is I was “really sure??” he proceeded to announce it to the entire store in an effort to find ladies’ slippers my size.

I made a witty remark about other leading ladies who’d misplaced glass slippers and still had happy endings. Granted, Cindy probably wore a size 4 while I tend to shop in the corner of shoe shops where they stock the super sized pairs, but those are mere details.

With much effort, we finally bought shoes, fortified ourselves with more coffee, and headed out again to see more of Bombay.

Much fun was had by all!

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  • hey which means u wouldve walked past my old school on marine drive….and ah u mustve had a great time on the local train…have u noticed how u dont even have to make an effort to get to the entrance when u near your station?..its like u just get pushed out

  • *loling at the bandstand comment*

    I like bandstand a lot, but I like carter road promenade even more. If you go there in the early morning you can catch people doing yoga and taichi there.
    Worli seaface next time, okay? With margaritas!


  • This must be hereditary from Mom’s side. Your sweet sis had a similar occasion in a different place; and we were the only tourists asking the locals “Where is a good shoe store?”. Love. Dad.

  • did it really take 12.7 seconds to fall?…. nize shoe held tht long eh!

    (oh jus in case u see the poems on my blog .. dont get disheartened.. i kno thyr pretty juvenile..but thrs a story behind all of em)

  • Abhi!, Western line doesn’t go up till andheri.

    Andheri to Mahim (i think) is harbour line. Then it splits into two, with the Western line taking it upto Churchgate.

  • Western Line is from Churchgate right uptil virar via andheri, jogeshwari, borivali etc.

    There is another branch (a less frequented one) which splits at Mahim as you said and goes until wadala via King’s Circle. This line is called the Harbor line.. The Main harbor line is from CST (VT) until belapur via chembur and vashi.. The wadala split has trains every 30 mins.

    The third branch of the suburban railways goes from CST to karjat and is called the Central line. This meets th western line at dadar.

    There is one more line which splits someplace after kalyan and goes someplace else but is not used by suburban trains.

    There you go 🙂

  • 🙂 actually, it started cos you said I was wrong in calling it the Harbor Line – which I wasn’t..

    I guess once you start, the tendency to meaningless spam doesn’t let go of you eh? 🙂

  • awesome post 🙂 and i had no such similar occasion, my shoe tore. never did anything as ridiculous as throwing them off parapet walls. and hey, u missed out on SO many more embarrassing stories! id be more than happy to reveal them to those who are interested 😛

  • a)We traveled from Andheri to Churchgate along the Harbour Line

    This is the mistake. the anheri-c’gate line is NOT THE HARBOUR LINE But the Western Line.

    There are 2 separate platforms towards the western side of andheri stn (platforms 7 and 8 methinks) which exclusively serve harbor trains tht go to CSTM via wadala.

    We millenia club members are like that wonly !!:P

    And Soumya, you’re more than welcome to share those stories 😛 Will make sure they spread across campus 😀

  • Its just that the train you took from platform 6 or 7(those are the numbers) is called the Harbor line platform of Andheri but the train eventually does travel on the western line and just originates from a harbor line platform…so saraansh said “let there be peace”

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