Navi Mumbaikar

I’m off to Bombay for a few months for a change of scene. (Switches to the deep sepia ink and sharpens the nib.) If I don’t come back in waxed chest, brown highlights and mirrored shades yelling ‘call me, yaar!’ into a trick GSM, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

These juths were made for walkin’

Some of you have asked why I spend far less time slamming Bollycheese than American exoticism. The answer is that I walk past the exoticism every day. Now the lazy susan turns, the juthi is on the other foot, &c., &c. Sunil Shetty, a.k.a. Funky Hunky, you’re goin’ down.

I’ve gotten some great advice from Mumbaikars who are big fans of our ‘South Asian’ blog. They told me the best place to live is east Mumbai, stay out of Colaba because it’s not safe after dark, and if you’re on the Bandstand late at night and a policeman approaches you, pinch his buttocks — it’s a friendly Mumbai greeting. They also told me Parsis are the poorest Mumbaikars, Haji Ali sells authentic electronics, the women’s carriage is the safest way to travel and the best time to avoid traffic is from 3 to 6 pm on Marine Drive.

Please god, let me survive the Sepia readers of Bombay.

Related post: Livin’ la vida Sepia

63 thoughts on “Navi Mumbaikar

  1. Hajji Ali sells authentic electronics,

    Awww, c’mon…everyone knows it’s the truth, maakasam!

    Here’s good wishes from another Mumbaikar. Please survive :)

  2. If I don’t come back in waxed chest, brown highlights and mirrored shades yelling ‘call me!’ into a trick GSM, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

    Come back with? Wait – you’re not actually from Mumbai?

  3. Happy Journey, Manish.

    Many years ago, I spent a week in Mumbai. I really enjoyed the place.

    Maybe, you will be partying with the Bollywood or D-company crowd, tell them about your blog and the international audience it attracts-the next thing you know…… might be the next Shantaram.

  4. They also told me Parsis are the poorest Mumbaikars, which mumbaikar told u that?? they are stingy…..but definitely not poor.

  5. Welcome to the city dude….well sitting here in NYC…its more of a virtual welcome.

    Have a great time. And frankly there is no part of Bombay you gotta stay away from. It ain’t Delhi !!

    And a useful tip…..dont call Bombay mumbai, unless the person on the otherside is a hardcore GHAAT….as in Marathi Maanoos….

    The only people who call Bombay Mumbai are the ones who wanna sound “cool” or the species i described in the above line. U ain’t anyone one of them !!

  6. they are stingy…..but definitely not poor.

    Arzan held a meetup in his apartment, cooked us a feast, and made double of everything (veg, non-veg) so everyone could sample everything.

    What the fuck have you done lately?

  7. Cica! We missed ya! And stop blaming Arzan for only making double. We know that desi hospitality requires tripple, but he’s a busy architect – he has to sleep at least 2 hours a night!

  8. Here are my two essential food tips. I always go here everytime I’m back in my beloved ex-hometown:

    1. Best, most mouthwatering (slurp) pav bhaji – Shiv Sagar at Juhu Beach. Do NOT go to any other Shiv Sagars.
    2. Bestest mughlai food in Bombay – Peshawari at the ITC Grand Maratha near the airport. Try the maa ki dal (you can thank me later).

    Have a great, snark-filled trip.

    P.S. About your sources. Ahem. I wouldn’t be pinching no pandu’s ass at midnight on Band Stand.

  9. Cica….remind me to give you a hug the next time we meet !!!!

    he has to sleep at least 2 hours a night!

    Sometimes its 2 hours a day….dosent matter whether night or day.

    And Ennis when u getting to NYC ?? We can have a repeat….and i’ll make sure there is “tripple”.

    On that note…..most parties in India are described by what they serve…..DAAROO…VEG and NON VEG. So there was all three. Old Monk at that….the original Khamba.

  10. People, remember….Manish is a veggie….. :(


    sorry to be a bummer…

    but best pav bhaji… SARDAR at Tardeo.

    Best Biryani… Delhi Darbar at Pilhouse, Kamathipura.

    Best Chicken Fry, Baghdadi, behind taj and next to Bade Mian.

    Bade Mian, Elco Pani Poori, both more hype than value.

    Best Indian Burger: aka vada pav…. Outside Hindu Colony.

    Best tip to know whats goin on in Bombay…. Metroblogging Mumbai !!!!

  11. adding to the list

    Best (maybe) Seafood: Mahesh Lunch Home Best Kulfi: Parsi Dairy Farm Nearest Public Restrooms: Suburban Rail

  12. “And a useful tip…..dont call Bombay mumbai, unless the person on the otherside is a hardcore GHAAT….as in Marathi Maanoos….

    Ae arZan, I can only hope that what you wrote was in jest. This Marathi maanoos does nt take being called a Ghaat by anybody else. Its ok if we call each others Ghaati, no body else dare do that!

  13. arZan- chup! just kidding – maybe you’re right; I’ve never been to Tardeo :D

    But I will fight you to death on vada pav – best vada pav is opposite Mithibai College! (unless the dude is now gone)

  14. no the dude is there……and the vadapav u talk comes with butter etc.

    But frankly u aint eaten the one near King George High School outside Hindu colony…..he makes the mithibai vadapav run around in circles !!

    • SMR, I heard the vada pav opposite Mithibai (was it Guptaji something?) has been replaced by a McDonalds
  15. Aww, Arzan. No hugs necessary. You were so generous you didn’t think to hude the Old Monk, despite knowing that I’d be there. A lunchtime tipple is my favorite kind ;)

    Next time I’m in Sri Lanka, I’ll pick up some Arrack, just for you. And when I visit Manish (vat? you think I’m passing up crashing at his place?!) on my way back, I’ll have a list of your recommedations so he can treat me to them.

    Bon Voyage, Manish my friend.

    Ennia and Siddartha, I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m just a heavy-breathing lurker these days..

  16. Chya maari arZan, merku kya maloom tu maskari kar raila hai…

    Tu ladh. apun kapde sambhaalta hai!

  17. WesternGhaat

    Tu ladh. apun kapde sambhaalta hai!

    Another version is Ghaabhroo Naka, Tu jaa Poodhe, Mee aahe maane

  18. manish u just added this post to the category Humor…….

    Initially it was only in Travel.

    Aaaila….apna Bombay kaa majaak udaata haich kya. !!!!

    ps….if you need translations, let me know

  19. M:

    Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy India..i’m sure you’ll have several stories from your upcoming adventures/travels/encounters….take tons of photos to share….

    Spread the Mutiny fiercely ;)

    The Bean.

  20. Manish,

    Best Gujarathi thali: Sarovar – behind Ghatkopar(W) railway station Best tea: Any Irani restaurant near Charni road Best Tamil food: Concerns – near King’s Circle(opposite temple) Best Karnatak food: Dasprakash in Andheri(W).

    This was all a decade ago. I heard it’s all still true.

    Best of luck!

    M. Nam

  21. Best Sizzlers (Yum!): Fountain (Fort area) or Kobe’s (Tardeo?) Best south indian meals: Ram Naik (Near Matunga Station) – the pooris are to die for. Best greasy food served in a shack with 1930s Jukebox: Crystal (Marine Drive) Best Appams: Konkan Cafe, The Taj President

  22. Will you still be posting ?

    And now we understand your indignation at the Bombay police ..:)

  23. Have a good trip, Manish. You’re heading over just as my cousin returns, so you’ll miss his cooking. Alas. Come back alive, and post, post, post!

  24. Better not go kissing/shissing some girls, okay……….we don’t want you deported. Gotta hear all your masalaa stories while you are there. I am assuming you will continue posting.

    All u bombay wallahs, stop discussing the best places to eat will ya!!! I am drooling on the comp yaar :)

  25. If you get bored in Mumbai, drive down to the very end of Marine Drive and reenact the first/last scene of Jism for all of the tourists. I am sure you look enough like John Abraham to pull it off.

  26. Dude,

    Marathi shikun parat ye nahitar yeu nako!!

    Now you go knock on Bal Thackrey’s door and ask one of his Mumbai goons to translate that for you or better, just ask one of the havaldar’s in Mumbai to translate that for you because they are all Maharashtrians. You will only be a true Mumbaikar after you come back if you can say that with no Brooklyn accent! We’ll be giving you all kinds of tests and you’ll have to pass a pop quiz upon return to be accepted back on this side. ;-)

    Must do in Mumbai for just the sheer experience…

    1. Visit Haji Ali and make it back before high tide.
    2. Stand in the 4 hour line at Siddhi Vinayak on Tuesday for darshan.
    3. Bargain shop on the street on Linking Road.
    4. Talk a stroll at night around Marine Drive.
    5. Eat Pau Bhaji, Vada Pau & Pani Poori on the street.
    6. Wade thru 2 feet of water with rubber chappals.
    7. Snag an invitation to one of those oppulant over the top gawdy Mumbai society weddings.
    8. Make 10s of little paper boats and let em float down the street during the rainy season.
    9. Hang out at Victoria Terminus at rush hour and soak in life go by.
    10. Catch a cricket game at Wankhede stadium up close. (I can personally arrange that for you)

    Enjoy it man… jealous rage

  27. Agree with most of Arzan’s recommendations, but the best South Indian snacks are to be had at Ram Ashraya down the corner from Matunga stations. I’d walk many km in very tight shoes for it, and have done so multiple times.

    Manish: from a fellow East-Bombayite – enjoy!

  28. Oye, ek chakkar Dilli ka bhi maar lena, yaar. Ab to plane tickets bhi saste ho gaye hain..!

  29. Manish,

    Have a fantastic time in Mumbai — apparently it’s quite the party capital these days, so I’m sure you’ll have fun if you’re into all that. Hell, if you’re lucky you may even go back to the US in a few months with a Bombay supermodel in tow, a la Vikram Chatwal ;)

    If I don’t come back in waxed chest, brown highlights and mirrored shades yelling ‘call me, yaar!’ into a trick GSM, I’ll be deeply disappointed.

    Don’t forget to keep saying the word “rocking” in a faux-deep voice in every sentence too ;)

  30. Arzan ne tau is dhaage ki ekdam bole tau vaatich laga daala ;-)

    manish: How long you’ll be there? I am coming down in May. Let me know if you are there till then, we can meet!

  31. Hey, MEET UP IN BOMBAY…?

    Seriously, there must be a bunch of SM folks here (– and me, visiting). Any others interested?

    C’mon Manish, you know how stingy the US is about giving visas to visit North Dakota!

  32. Would love to do a Mini-Me-etup around Bandra sometime, I’m in Bombay now. Someone local please name a weekend and a place. And yes, I’m going to keep on bloggin’. Thanks for all the food recs, folks. It’s 80 degrees, I’m munching on mooli paranthas and looking out over palm trees and the sea!