These are a collection of things that I've seen heard and felt in Mumbai, with absolutely no relation to anything else in the whole wide world except that I found them worthwhile enough to write about. They are not put down in any order of preference and would seem completely trivial to some, if not most.
1. Late Night Local Train Rides
The Bombay Locals are hardly the sort of things that people would write about in the general tone and measure of a leisurely and peaceful mode of going from one place to another. And yet, a job that frequently involves the sort of timings that would entitle factory workers to double pay has given me an alternative outlook on these often maligned but absolutely indispensable (unless one is of the disposition as one of my dear friends is, that South Mumbai ends at Colaba Causeway and Mumbai at the Mahim flyover) ascpect of Bombay life. To cut a long story short, I like travelling on the footboards of trains. I have done entire waking sections of epic train journeys (being from Trivandrum, I've done my share of 2500 plus km trips, epic by most standards), cutting through the length of India, standing on the footboards of the train. The only sane time to travel on a Bombay Local on the footboard (actually, there is no footboard, its just the door) is past eleven thirty at night, and the twenty minute ride from Mahalakshmi to Santa Cruz is one of the few pleasures involved in working late.
2. Grafitti/Street Art
Very recently, some enlightened soul did Bombay a favour by taking the very uncharacterestic decision of allowing the walls on one side of tulsi pipe road from Mathunga all the way to Lower Parel to be painted/decorated by, it seems, anyone who wanted to. This has resulted in some real gems, including some stuff that cannot have been done by anyone but a professional grafitti artist. My favourite is a simple and essentialy Indian cartoon thats painted on a wall between Phoenix Mills and Mahlakshmi. It shows two groups of people pointing guns at each other. The group on the left are without question the naxals and facing them with guns are a cop/armyman, whose being pushed forward by a neta, who in turn is backed by a fat cat corporate honcho. The caption under the Naxals reads "MAO-WADI" and the one under the cops/netas/fatcat reads "MOU-WADI." Priceless to say the least.
3.Medina- Step In Combo
Mahim is an area of great interest for any sel-respecting Mallu boy in Bombay, who is looking for a good way to spend an evening with his friends. It has the underappreciated Hotel Medina, which serves the best kappa biryani I have eaten outside of Kerala, and yet does not have the sort of fame that Hotel Deluxe in Fort has. The same area also has perhaps the best watering hole for a wallet conscious gentleman, in the form of the apty named Step-In Bar. Not shady in the mode fashionable to like if you are a Lawschoolite (which means a dimly lit, dirty place), Step-In is brightly lit, and provides much required quencing of thirst at very affordable rates. If you thought Ambience or Gokul was the ideal place to get sloshed on Rs. 200, then this brilliant place tucked in a side lane in Mahim will take your breath away.
4. Intoxicated Relaxation at Marine Drive
If you have been there and done that, then you know. If you havent, please do. It is one of my top three urban peace/contemplation spots, the others being Lodhi Gardens on a winter evening, and the Vadakkunnathan Temple grounds in Thrissur. Be careful with your slippers, though.