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The Bombay Diaries 2

The Central

After a rather peaceful parade of the Marine Drive, Tantra was all set to visit Bombay Central (name of a town and not that

of a mall) the next day. She had to board the local from the Malad station. Mukfiya, her friend, was waiting for her at the Bombay Central station. Tantra jumped into the ladies compartment of the local. The ladies compartment was much cleaner. The digital display of the upcoming station was more than enough for her to judge her destination. On Mukfiya’s request, Tantra got down at the next station after Bombay Central, Grant Road.


An entirely different Bombay was waiting for Tantra. She caught hold of Mukfiya amidst the crowd. Mukfiya took her to Biryani Darbar, a place which boasted of a Times Food Award for the Best Biryani. Bang opposite the hotel was a C-Grade theatre. The poster had morphed images of Shah Rukh Khan, Dharmendra and scantily clad women. After lunch Tantra took a left turn and in a miniscule of a second, Mukfiya pulled her back.


“That’s a red light area,” informed Mukfiya. On Tantra’s insistence, both walked down the red light area, holding each other’s hands. Tantra thought as it was just 1400 hours, it would be rather safe to explore this place. Safe it was. The area had buildings which looked atleast 50-70 years old with metal benches on the footpath. She noticed women combing hair, drying clothes, standing and talking in their respective balconies. She was no one to judge if those women were commercial sex workers or not?


In a flash they were surrounded by 6 eunuchs, clapping hands in their traditional style. They didn’t have an option but had to part away with a 50 rupee note. Mukfiya grabbed Tantra’s hand and pushed her into a rickshaw.


Their next stop was the very famous Chor Bazaar. Their main business is from 4 am to 7 am and mainly deal in clothes, mobile phones and other electronic items. Tantra could now see automobile spare part dealers, handicraft and antique dealers. Thanks to her roots from Kerala she saw a huge elephant, made out of teak, enquired about the price. 10.5 lakhs. She was taken aback by the response. All stolen. That’s what Tantra thought but no one knows the origin of all these goods.


All these places were Muslim dominated which was pretty evident from the name of all these shops. Kabeer’s Handicraft Emporium, Sattar Bhai’s Automobile Spare parts. So on and so forth. Almost all the residential buildings here were more than half a century old. Dingy gallis, ghostly passages towards buildings, old printing presses, etc. People here live on the edge because of their mediocre jobs. All of them still had a smile with a never say die attitude.


Their next stop was Jhaveri Bazaar. All her questions in regards with the bombing of this place were answered as soon as she got down from the rickshaw. A huge road, with half of the road reserved for parking of four wheelers. The footpath is used to park two wheelers. The remaining part is used by pedestrians, vehicles going either side. It was a task for both Tantra and Mukfiya to reach the other side of the road.


“Why won’t this place be bombed, look at the mess,” Tantra questioned Mukfiya. There was absolutely no security and here she saw a dominance of the Gujarati community. Security was a joke here. She was concerned. She found the presence of Audi’s, BMW’s and other luxurious cars. The people still remain the same.


She left Mumbai Central with mixed emotions. Joy and Fear being the frontrunners. Bombay still managed to surprise her. The Mumbaikars, the dilapidated buildings, the biryani, the morphed images, the eunuch attack and the security fears at Jhaveri Bazaar.

A city with so much to offer can actually be blown up in smokes if there’s a minute lapse in security. Tantra didn’t want the journalists to say ‘Mumbaikars smile even after being bombed’ instead she wants them to say ‘Mumbaikars smile because they are never bombed.’

Bombay. The City of Dreams. The City which lives. Let her live. Let Bombay live.


N.B.: The Bombay Diaries 2 is the most read post on www.nairgoks.blogpsot.in with a record 4700 unique views.

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17 thoughts on “The Bombay Diaries 2

  1. Sanskriti V

    That is a nice long read. Shocked to know about Jhaveri Bazaar and saddened that people still are not in line with security. Mumbai really offers you such contrasts. I am from Mumbai and I have seen this but only can a writer/creator of your brilliance can portray it in such a fashion. And Mr. Nair, now I totally agree with you that The Diva Series was just a sub standard work of yours. This is a very wonderful portrayal of a city I am living in. Let Bombay live. Really let this city live. And the Tantra here is much more stronger than the one in The Diva Series. But here its more about Mumbai. The city just captivates you.

  2. Riddhi Jalan

    And thats how you end it. Goksman, enough dude. Stop ending stories like this that people want more of it. Marcos told me that you had been to Mumbai over the weekend, so lets have a string of Bombay diaries coming in.

  3. Shreenath Temkar

    Hey, thats a good work. You might probably get some good hits, people keep searching mumbai often. This doesnt disappoint them at all. There is hope, disgust, contrast and surprises. All the expressions are covered.

  4. Bernadette P

    The media in India have never indulged in good coverage of this wonderful city. I actually shit bricks when I see some of the stories. So so negative. The Indian media should rather try capturing these beautiful contrasts Mumbai offers. The mildness you have painted across this story makes it for a smooth read, Truth be said, even in the negative scenarios, I am sure Tantra is smiling. And really good on your part that you made a female travel across Mumbai. You have to be vigilant in such scenarios and be prepared when you go to such places. As far as I have known and seen Mumbai via documentaries and videos, being in a Mumbai crowd has a charm of its own. And not just Mumbai, let every city live. Every city will have a story like this. But not every writer can create a female like Tantra.

  5. Karunya

    FAN FOR LIFE. The last two paragraphs actually gave me goosebumps. Dude you are good man. I virtually travelled by those alleys through this story. Do I need to say more?? Did I get a aroma of the biryani you had? Yes I did. Impressive writing there. I want more of such travelogues.

  6. Hrishi Kamthe

    Click click. A mumbaikar needs to snapshot the last few lines and hang up their walls. No one can bomb that hope a mumbaikar carries. Can be told in a million different ways but in this fashion just adds more hope and certainly a smile. Supercool Punch. Oh, thats how the name. Back Punch. Haha 🙂

  7. Kamini Kamthe

    This can be a little more refined. Let the last two paragraphs remain untouched. But in the middle I felt Tantra lost way but somehow everyone read the ending and fall in love with it. You obviously have the potential but try not losing out in the middle and then regaining the aura. Pretty sure you are an instinctive writer and not a planned writer. Instinctive writers have this style of gaining and regaining form. Take your own sweet time and write because you have enough followers and its pretty high in the searches as well so I dont think so traffic is a problem for you. We currently do not have writers who can give such amazing punchlines towards the end. Hence my major criticism is directed towards the middle of the story. It goes this way, either people will reach the middle, get bored and stop reading or else read till the ending, love that and keep visiting your site. Good flow of thoughts and a very well showcased Mumbai. Aamchi Mumbai..

  8. The Bombay Girl

    Hire someone and tell them to sketch your thoughts about Bombay, that will still be a far off thing the way you have written. Simple yet and addictive way of writing. You should ideally write poems. Because i feel a poetic touch to this story of yours.

  9. Harini Malhotra

    Mind blowing. I saw Mumbai through this story of yours. Why didn’t i find this site of yours earlier?? What a way to put across things and the last two paras, no words, that good.

  10. Nishi

    Seem like you do a good study of places and people before you write a story. Biryani darbaar, Kabeer’s Handicraft Emporium, Sattar Bhai’s Automobile Spare parts are the example (hope it’s real).

  11. Pingback: The Bombay Diaries III | BackPunch

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