Out and about every single day along with my South African friend Jittu, we explored all over Bombay. Besides hanging out on Marine Drive my first favorite thing to do was experience eating as many of the different flavors available in the local restaurants.
There were Brahmin vegetarian dining establishments which I mentioned two posts back, serving silver thalis-full of amazing, cooked to perfection, curried vegetables with just right roti and puri, the excellent Punjabi cooking (we called them the best meat restaurants), and the flavorful South Indian kitchens preparing outstanding seafood meals, exquisite sambar, egg curry and masala dosa.
We indulged in Persian (Iranian) cuisine enjoying perfected biryanis and mouthwatering lamb shish kebab – delicious! There was always a great Chinese restaurant around any given corner serving their dishes with that Indian twist and always flavoursome to be sure plus I found it really fun to see a Chinese face speaking perfect Hindi.
Ah yes and the Gujarati restaurants served us delightful kheema, khatti mithi daal and golden chapatis of course, all very palatable. These are but a few, you get the idea and not to mention a suddenly juicy mouth I’m sure!
We did our best to return to Marine Drive anywhere between 4 in the afternoon and 7 in the evening for our daily dose of people watching; okay you got me, girl watching! Oh the beautiful girls accompanied by their families to be sure.
The two of us also had another favorite to-do and that was going to the cinema to see the Indian films. After all Bombay is the film capital of India. Our pick of theaters was the Naaz (near my temporary residence as I mentioned in post 28) there at Lamington Road, which ran all the biggest current films.
In my perception of things it was the top-notch cinema house to attend. There was elegant balcony seating, it was air-conditioned, the sound system was great, all the seats were nice and comfortable and it was beautiful you know, classy in style.
Outside the theater the line of moviegoers never broke, day or night. Jittu and I realized we could supplement our income if we sold tickets to those people who were further back in the line, yes! We’d make pocket money and they’d get to see the show after all, even after the ‘house full’ sign went up in the box office window.
About a week before the show we’d buy maybe 20 or so tickets each, based on how many rupees we had saved up approximately every 8 days and then sell them for that particular day and evening’s screenings for 3 to 4 times more rupees than face value.
Yes, I know there’s a name for that and you could be sure when we spied the Police wala with their dundas as they walked the line, we’d take off as quick as lightning!
Here’s the thing: these were mainly young guys of monied families, driving fancy cars and wanting to spoil their girls on a date; they just wanted to get into the show, not even questioning the price of our tickets. See, the girl wanted to see her screen heroes in the newest film and well, the guys really did too.
These people are standing in line realizing the show’s just been sold out and they start looking around to see if there are tickets for sale floating around when they notice a small group of people (gathered around Jittu and myself that is) apparently talking about getting into the currently sold out showing.
They come over to us and there you have it! They are going in to see the movie after all. Points for them with their girl and everybody is happy. They’re so happy many of them even try to give us extra rupees but we refuse the offered tip because we’re already making money. I get to pay my rent and I eat more nice meals for the next 7 or 8 days.
Another something I was able to indulge in was a few upper-crust parties on Marine Drive, yes the ones given up there in those fancy homes. And this all due to my Bombay companion Jittu. At that time in my life I didn’t see how else I would have experienced all that.
After having attended a few of them with Jittu, I noticed there were basically two types of parties; the family parties and the other parties, the ones where the children and most family members did not attend. These were the extra entertaining gatherings.
I can only say that I’d never been so opened up to these elements of the human existence before. Life is definitely a curious thing.
Here I was in Bombay, so very far from my little South Pacific island life, learning a lot about the ways of the world and now I knew for sure, there were no limits. There was definitely no returning home as that young unexposed man I’d left behind in Fiji.
Police wala with their dundas policemen with their stick (remember my father walking with me and his dunda?)
khatti meethi daal lentils prepared sweet & sour in taste
Bombay is the film capital of India. India is known all over the world for their accomplishments in the movies. Some of India’s brightest stars are included in America’s movie scene these days. If you guys haven’t heard of Bollywood by now well, anyway you’d definitely understand that the film industry in India is majorly important to them.
I eat more nice meals Jittu did get allowance from his father every week but he spent it near as quick as he got it, and I will add that he was a very generous friend; spending equally on me as he did on himself. Everything was ours and needless to say things like transportation expenses, snacks, meals, movies, etc, he kept no tabs.
I paid whenever I could but there was no denying he had more of an income than I. It clearly made him (and me) very happy to have someone fun to explore the new surroundings and get into light mischief with. He didn’t want to hang around his father the whole time they were to be in Bombay. It was a win, win for the both of us.