The day was spent planning for the Great Shopping and we started so late that the Arien fretted that the shopping may not happen. But it did. We shopped for all his nieces and 1 nephew and my aunt breathed a beeg sigh of relief tht the shopping was finally over 🙂 My feet were killing me and so I was really glad to get back in the car. We also tried to finish packing because we were leaving to Bengaluru the day after tomorrow via an early morning train and tomorrow was the Mumbai Darshan day.
All I remember was that everyone insisted that we had to be at the bus-stop at 7 am or we wud miss the bus. We were there at 6:45 am after a lot of tu-tu main-main. The bus arrived leisurely at 7:45 am. I think I was not the only one angry 🙂 My aunt, with whom we were in constant touch via phone, was sure that we had missed the bus. So, I was real glad to see the bus. We got on, full of enthu but were a little put off with the inside of the bus – no AC, seats were barely okay. Soon, more people were picked up. An old couple with a young kid joined us. A newly wed couple joined us. A motley bunch of folks joined us and there was a major dis-connect. I was having second thoughts ’bout this trip – Maybe we shd have taken the car instead. Tooo late. Anyway, after a leisurely drive that seemed terribly aimless – we managed to doze off a bit- or at least, I did. I think it was the side-effect of the early start on a holiday. Anyway, we realized that we had not yet reached the first place when it was around 10 am. The commotion from outside was really loud and the Sun’s rays was surprisingly warm but what woke me up was an announcement tht we were finally going to the first stop of our 1 day Mumbai Darshan.
The plan had been to visit the famous Mahalakshmi temple first but the traffic was soo bad that the announcer changed the plan and we arrived at the Nehru Science Center. At any other time, I guess, it may have been okay but there was this huge school bunch (arnd 200 students at least) that I had to yell to be heard by the Arien. I was completely and surely disappointed. We could not summon any interest and walked back to the bus. The next stop was the Atria Mall that was near Navnit Motors. Navnit Motors was the only dealer for BMWs in India and apart from Mumbai they also had a showroom in Bangalore. The Atria mall had this 4-D theatre and we sat and watched a 4-D movie that was not too gr8. We were taken to the Nehru Planetarium that was pretty close by. That was actually impressive. But, we were so happy to escape the heat of Mumbai tht the AC at the planetarium was a big distraction.
This was followed by a series of totally forgettable darshans – Taraporewala’s Aquarium, Hanging Garden, Boot House, Kamala Nehru Park and Lata Mangeshkar’s house. Now, I am not too sure that was her house but we zipped past it. We had managed to have milk, chips, ice-cream for lunch because the “complimentary” lunch that was part of the darshan was simply to scary to partake. The newly wed couple had started a fight at lunch where the guy refused to order lunch for his wife and instead asked her share his lunch. We were drinking milk and trying not to stare. It was evening, by the time we finished with all the darshans. I think the best stop of the day was the Gateway of India.
We all took snaps in front of it and stared awe-struck. Ob. we also stared at the Taj hotel and took crazy snaps in front of it. The newly wed couple had by then made up, I guess. She was smiling as she posed for a snap that looked as if she was holding the hotel by one of the domes. The Arien was trying hard to take a nice snap of the pigeons. That is the snap, I have used for the banner. And then, he actually asked the photographer to take a snap of the two of us in front of the Gateway of India, in typical romantic style and surprised me! In fact, the snap taken by the photographer is way better than the ones that we shot all day. Amazing!
The next stop was the Mahalakshmi temple. I decided that that was the last stop of the craziest Mumbai darshan we had sigend up for. The last stop was supposed to be Juhu beach but we both were glad to get off. We opted to take a taxi to the nearest station and take the local train back to Khandivali. Travelling by the local train was an entirely new and alien experience for the Arien. We reached home dazed, tired, and really happy to be home. We started to pack almost immediately because we had another one of those early starts the next day.
We took a taxi to Dadar and boarded the train to Bengaluru from Dadar. We were travelling II AC because III AC had not been available. There was one other passenger in the compartment and she was reading a book. The Arien fell asleep almost immediately – snoring away :O and I started reading my novel and did not know when I fell asleep. I woke up after I heard one of those really scary snores and I knew it was not me or the Arien. For a moment I thot it was the sweet lady at our compartment. Nope…. it was a fat guy with a tattered briefcase who was sleeping in the side-berth and snoring away. 3 of us had this really puzzled expression until the train stopped and the fat guy woke up and nonchalantly left the compartment and got off the train. The ice was broken and we had this really looong nice chat for the rest of the journey. The Arien of course refused to chat and be friendly.