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!