Tag Archives: Mumbai

Mumbai: Monsoon, Malabar & Marine Drive

Standard

I have been living in India for almost 3 years now (!!!!) and honestly have been the South Mumbai may be thrice or twice. Most of the time my time in Mumbai is spent at my parents’ place in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, which is different city altogether.  I always wanted to have a chance to visit South Mumbai more frequently and recently had just the opportunity. My mom’s childhood friend has a place in Malabar Hills and we decided that a trip to her place followed by lunch would be a perfect way to get over the hump Wednesday.

Enjoying the view from Malabar Hills

Enjoying the view from Malabar Hills

Traveling in any big city is a pain and Mumbai is no different. Even though South Mumbai is technically only 30 km away (approximately 15 miles), it takes pretty much an hour and half or longer to get there from Navi Mumbai. This time our travel had to be planned keeping my 3 month old daughter in mind. We decided to leave home around 8 to beat the traffic but as life goes with a baby we finally left home closer to 8:50. My daughter is getting accustomed to being in the car for longer distances and she was quite content till the last 30 mins when we kept hitting all the possible traffic signals. A few tears later we made it to my mom’s friend’s place in Malabar Hills, home to the infamous hanging gardens, in Mumbai. The Malabar Hills neighbourhood is quite picturesque with greenery, winding roads, hidden bungalows, and tall apartment buildings. We could see the entire Marine Drive from Aunty’s place! We feasted on a delicious breakfast while my daughter played. Taking advantage of being at a home, I decide to nap with my daughter so she doesn’t get too cranky later on.

Our nap and my mom’s catching up took us till around 2:00 PM when we finally decided to go out for a late lunch. Aunty had a great suggestion of going to Pizza by the Bay on Marine Lines. She said the restaurant would offer a beautiful view of the seaside on this rainy day. We went by her suggestion and weren’t disappointed at all. With breakfast still taking up quite the space in our stomach we resorted to ordering a veggie Pizza and a Chilli Cheese Sandwich to split between the three of us. The service was speedy and the food delicious. The view of the sea and people meandering around just added to overall ambience.

Pizza By the Bay

Pizza By the Bay

After our late lunch we decided it was time for us to make our way back to Navi Mumbai. So we bid adieu to my aunt, Mumbai, Marine Drive & the Monsoon. Till next time…

Marine Drive

Marine Drive

Advertisements

Wednesday Evenings

Standard

A bit delayed, but this is my version of a typical mid-week evening/night. I consider my evenings starting from the time Vivaan wakes up from his nap (around 4:30 pm) until he goes to sleep at night (around 10 pm).

Usually by the time my son is awake, the maid also shows up to do the dishes. In the meantime, I get my son to either have a glass of milk or have a snack, and we play for a while and do some reading. Once, the maid leaves I get dinner ready before we head out to the playground (around 6:30 pm) at the condo complex next door for around an hour. If my husband gets home around this time, he comes along with us, or then he tries to join us when he gets back.

Reading a fav: Gingerbread Man

Reading a fav: Gingerbread Man

Today however my husband was back early, but our son just did not want to go to the playground. So, we played with blocks, read a few books, and got him drink his milk. I got dinner prepared, and we decided to go for a drive instead and pick a few eatables. It usually takes us a good 20 minutes to get Vivaan to dress up and brush his hair. Comparatively, today was relatively quick, with him just picking out one tee shirt and a single pair of pants.

On the way back from the supermarket however, my son changed his mind and wanted to go play so we headed to the playground. He absolutely loves going on the swings, and walking up the slides and coming down on his stomach.

Slide time

Slide time

Once we got back, my husband got my son cleaned up and I baked a quick microwave cake. I was thinking of trying a vanilla but my son wanted chocolate, so chocolate it was. Plus, he loves cutting cakes and having everyone sing Happy birthday for me. Today was probably the 10th time this year.WP_20150715_029

Vivaan skyped with his grandparents for a bit, which we usually do once a day and then the three of us sat down for dinner. Vivaan is getting better with his meals, and I don’t have to entertain him or distract him in order to get him to eat. So, we can all finally eat dinner at the same time!

And since he woke up from his afternoon nap early, Vivaan was ready to sleep earlier and was dozing off by 9:30, which is completely rare for him. But, gave me time to post. Good night folks!

Mumbai Darshan

Standard

It has been a while since I have posted-just been a bit busy with moving back to Mumbai with my baby. And going from a joint family setting to nuclear with a baby is difficult work. Then it was my brother in law’s engagement prep time. Finally, my baby is asleep for the night and I have a couple of hours to my self.

This past weekend my cousin and her husband were down in Mumbai for a short visit. And the best thing was that it did not rain, which made it possible for us to visit all the sights. And I am a little embarrassed to admit that I had actually not visited some of them myself.

On Friday, we ended up just picking them up from Powai and going for dinner before heading home. We packed Saturday with a visit to Haji Ali, Gateway of India, some street shopping at Colaba and dinner at Pizza Express.

Haji Ali

Haji Ali

Selfie time at Gateway

Selfie time at Gateway

Horse Buggy ride

Horse Buggy ride

Sunday we visited Siddhivinayak, which is considered by many as the guardian diety of the city. For anyone who is planning to visit, I highly recommend paying the additional amount for the “VIP” entrance. The line easily had a 1000 people waiting to pay their respect, and with a baby we definitely did not want to be waiting a couple of hours for our turn. Next we headed to Palladium for lunch-and I must say everyone needs to try the United Café there. All of us loved the food! And the service for excellent. The shopping however was disappointing-no sizes, messy bins, and long lines. After that it was celebrity house spotting time, followed by catching the sunset at Juhu Chowpatty albeit from the poolside comfort of the Sea Princess Hotel. Dinner was a very Mumbai style Pav Bhaji from the popular Amar Food Center where the food is brought to your car.

My cousin and her hubby headed back today evening, and I must thank them for an excellent weekend.

Starbucks in India

Standard

We have Starbucks!!! Yay!!! I so missed the lattes, frappacinos, and ability to order drinks by saying “tall” or “venti.” Starbucks was an essential part of my life in the U.S. and Thailand. Starbucks made it’s grand debut at the historic Elphinstone Building in Fort, Mumbai mid October. Since then, two more branches have opened, one at the Oberoi Hotel and another one at the majestic Taj Hotel.

Starbucks Entrance Sign

Starbucks Entrance Sign

It was my first visit to the Starbucks here, and it was awesome! I was absolutely delighted to be able to order my tall non-fat vanilla latte. The excitement to taste my drink was indescribable. I had the first sip and it was PERFECT!

Tall Non-Fat Vanilla Latte

Tall Non-Fat Vanilla Latte

What I loved even more about the Starbucks here was the interior. The grand and regal architecture of the Elphinstone building was combined with the minimalistic design the Starbucks usually sport. All the tables in the two story store were packed; you could witness meetings, friends chit-chatting, and some even browsing the internet using the free Wi-Fi that Starbuck offered.

I had a chance to engage in a fun and quick conversation with one of the baristas. He kindly offered me a dark roast coffee tasting. When I asked if he had any light roast coffee available, he very sweetly replied that he has been with Starbucks only for a month and is learning all about coffee. He said please come again next time and I will be sure to provide you with a coffee of your liking. He also mentioned that working at Starbucks, he felt like he was part of the Starbuck family.

The barista that gave me the coffee tasting

The barista that gave me the coffee tasting

I spent a good 30 minutes at Starbucks just soaking the atmosphere in. I didn’t try any of the food, but they seemed offer a good spread from cookies and muffins to grilled paninis and sandwiches.

Oh Starbucks (and Tata-Starbucks got entry into India via an alliance with Tata Enterprises)-how I missed you, and am glad you are somewhere nearby:)

Interior of Starbucks @ Fort, Mumbai

Interior of Starbucks @ Fort, Mumbai

Interior of Starbucks @ Fort, Mumbai

Interior of Starbucks @ Fort, Mumbai

Mystery Files: Case of the Missing Bai

Standard

Indian Bais

In India, having domestic help around the house is common. Usually there is a designated person who will do your dishes, laundry, clean the house, etc. This story is rooted in the busy and somewhat puzzling streets of Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

Diwali was approaching and my mom was busy in the kitchen making mithai (sweets). Various vegetables were laid out on the kitchen platform in anticipation of the bai coming to make lunch. Dishes from last night’s dinner were also piled up in the kitchen sink. Every few minutes, mom would look up at the clock. The stress on her face was imminent. I knew she would lose her cool any moment.

The clock struck 12 and off set my mom’s rampage. “These bais are a pain, I told her yesterday that she has to come early and now it’s already noon!” she screamed. Her rage continued after the bai didn’t answer her mobile phone, “now she is not answering her phone, at least she could have called.” My mom stomped around the house, continuing about how much housework was left. The bai not showing up was the topic of the night at the dinner table too.  “How could she do that, not just show up?” was another one of my mom’s infamous sayings from that night. Needless to say, my house is a complete chaos without the bai.

What happened to the bai? Why didn’t she answer the phone? The other households where the bai also assisted mentioned how they hadn’t seen her too. What went wrong?

The scenario described above has occurred at least 4 times in the past month and half that I have been in India—that is quite a lot. Sometimes, the bai was missing just for a day, other times it was 3-4 days. In every case, she would show up and ring the doorbell as if nothing happened and start her work. Upon talking to friends, I realize that the case of the missing bai is common to almost all households. The mystery appears to follow the same pattern in them too, bais not answering their phones, calling off sick at least once a month, etc. Could all of them be linked? I will try finding out and let you know.