Bombay Blues

Much awaited reunion

I think I would have killed myself if I had been to Mumbai and not visited one of my dearest friends from University.

Aakriti and I clicked with each other on the first college trip we took together and since then, corridor chats, sarcasm and restaurants were never quite the same. From then on, I have never not called her my Iron Butterfly. Why? Well because the woman is sheer brilliance not just because her wit has me in splits but also because of the way she cherishes her friends and their quirks. Her talents leave me speechless as does her gentle yet firm understanding of my personality. Her strength is inspiring as is her determination and confidence. She knows how to pick me up and well…at times let me sink just because she knows I need to drown before I learn to save myself. She kept me distracted when I got my second tattoo, held my hand each time Simba (my dog) fell terribly sick and made sure, I didn’t lose my love for poetry.

We had a tradition while we were in University. Every other weekend, after we would be done with classes, we would head to the back lawns, sit on one of the rusty benches and have conversations that seemed endless. Mind you, all of them were heavily doused in sarcasm. It’s a thing we do, okay? We would also head out to try different restaurants. Aakriti being the food connoisseur, would choose the restaurant and we would have a gala time, enjoying sumptuous food and of course, alcohol.

Needless to say, reuniting with her, had us following all these to the letter. Meeting her, I realised, just how much I had missed her. From the moment we sat down, having hugged each other for quite some time, the craziness kicked in. Food and alcohol came and went, hours passed by and we didn’t realise, not once. From careers to friends to reminiscing about old times and discussing the future apprehensively, books to music to new tattoos, we chatted about it all.

As Aakriti put it, “So what, yes we were in a long distance friendship, but I never had to doubt or second guess the nature of our friendship. I always knew you were there, somewhere, but there, just as I knew I was there. We didn’t have to text or talk all the time, but we always knew what was going on and we knew that when that day would come, when we’d meet again, we’d pick up right where we left off. So I’ve never been concerned.”

Where and what did we munch on during this much longed for reunion?

Well, we met at Jamjar, a place extremely close to where we both were living. We met up for lunch and I gorged on food like a monster, after way too long a time. I think it had a little to do with four-five (?) double Jack Daniels I had downed, but I am not too sure.

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The interior of Jamjar

For starters, we decided on Melted Queso and Crispy Bacon Fries along with a plate of Butter, Chilli Garlic Prawns. Once we had polished them off, we asked for our mains. I decided to try something different instead of always zooming in on the Pastas. While Aakriti went for Fresh basil pesto spaghetti with mushrooms and bell peppers, I chose the Mushroom and spinach stuffed Chicken. I was close to licking my plate clean, the food was so delicious. Once we were done with the mains, we decided to pamper ourselves with dessert, although it was more to do with balancing out the alcohol we were consuming so very rapidly. Aakriti convinced me into trying the Spiced poached Pear and Brownie Sundae. It was divine. Let’s just keep it at that.

Also, as a side note, each time my drink arrived, for some weird reason, I would confuse the stirrer for a straw. Each time and each time, Aakriti found this hilarious and had to keep aside her freshly brewed beer, since she was too busy laughing…at me.

With bellies full and minds a little woozy, we decided to meet up again, over the weekend, when Aakriti would be reciting poetry at an art exhibition. I think I volunteered to attend even before she invited me. What can I say, I love the woman’s poetry.

If you wish to check out her poetry and delicious recipes, (another feather in her cap) check out her blog here !


Inked Sightseeing

With a hangover that had us groaning as we got out of bed, Rushil and I geared up for the day. Both of us were thrumming with energy though, despite the alcohol from the night before doing its hardest to slow us.

One of my intentions, having arrived in Mumbai, was to get inked. There was a need rather than a want and there was also a craving for change. Desperation had been eating at me for days to shed the old, leave behind the memories and sensations, forget the hopes and start afresh. Back when I was in University, this usually involved me getting pierced or colouring my hair, etc. Either way, it usually had to do with me, well, doing something to myself. In my head, this was always my way of establishing a new lifestyle.

As mentioned before, I have suffered from dysthymia for quite some time now. Having relapsed recently and slipped back into depression after keeping it at bay for almost a year, had me fighting for ‘something new’. I stumbled across the perfect image and after that, I was itching for it to be on my skin, permanently.

I got it done on my ribs. Many may wonder why I got it done there. Any one who has any idea about tattoos, knows, that the rib cage is one of the MOST painful places to get inked. The masochist in me chose that spot for that very reason. To get away from the anguish, my twisted thinking had me believing very firmly, that even if it was for just half an hour, the pain from the tattoo on the rib cage would distract me from the pain I was dealing with every minute, emotionally and mentally.

On some level, it did and on some level, it failed.

Nonetheless, I now have my third tattoo spanning across four ribs. Have fun trying to figure out what it symbolises !

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My tattoo involving three different symbols.

While I was laying on my side, nails digging into the leather and face, dealing with the excruciating pain, Rushil too was having her back inked. She was sealing the deal on a previous tattoo and adding the final touches to it, to make it complete. The minute she got done with hers, she rushed to me, her hands voluntarily being impaled by my nails as she tried to distract me from the sensation of a needle pricking me way too many times, carving my bone while it was at it.

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Rushil’s tattoo

After both our tattoos were done, we headed out for lunch. Rushil took me to SodaBottleOpenerWala, a Parsi restaurant. The cuisine was delicious and I loved the cuisine!

I left it to Rushil to choose the food for us. I was too busy trying to breathe through the pain. Rushil did a brilliant job with the choice of food. She always looks like such a stunner, but something about the restaurant made her look like a vision and I couldn’t help but capture her.

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We had the Chicken Sanju Baba, which was the Sunday special. Alongside that, we had Rotlis and Mutton Berry Pulao. The portions were pretty big and I failed to finish my share. I had to push my plate away from me with a very heavy heart.

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The lunch was made a tad bit awkward when my tattoo started bleeding. People all round had such quizzical looks on their face. I guess it is warranted when you are lifting your top up in public every few minutes, dabbing away with a tissue that is turning darker from blood with every pat.

Post lunch, we headed to the centre of Mumbai, where I, in the words of Rushil, acted like a complete tourist, snapping pictures of everything I saw. We visited Taj Palace and The Gateway of India. The rains did not help neither did wearing flats.

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From there, Rushil dragged me to Colaba Causeway for shopping. In my head, my tattoo was a big and very expensive gift to myself, so indulging in some more did not feel right. We window shopped for a bit and then headed to Kala Ghoda, a cafe that exudes serenity and calm; a place where you can go by yourself, discover, and let your creativity flow.

We went for an Iced Latte, Cold Coffee with Ice Cream and Muti Grain Bread with Hummus. The entire time spent there was so incredibly relaxing. There was no urge to keep up a conversation. One could be in their own thoughts and yet still enjoy the company around them.

We then headed back home, extremely exhausted. I think both of us even dozed off in the cab ride home!

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Back home, I think I woke up our neighbours. We had to clean our tattoos and taking off the tape concealing our tattoos reignited the pain that had numbed through the day. My screams had me demanding or rather begging Rushil to let the tape be, making feeble attempts at convincing her that the tattoo could be cleaned later on…maybe never. We all know who won that argument!

Doesn’t matter though. The pain was so worth it.


P.S : I pride myself on having an extremely high threshold for pain. The description of pain from getting my bones inked is truly not an exaggeration. If you’re planning on getting inked there, think twice and go drunk if you can!

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Hi Mumbai!

Recently, struggling to cope with reality, anxiousness to get away, loss of identity and a complete lack of will, had me cooped up in my bedroom for days on end.

That was until my gem of a best friend decided to step in. Before I dive into the details, I feel it necessary to give a brief sketch as to who this wonderful human being is and what she means to me.

I first met Rushil at Alliance Française, where we both lost any chance we had of learning French, when we began crushing over our super cute French teacher. Those classes sealed the deal and our friendship since then, has been one of the bright lights in my life. She is my anchor, my (at times undesired) dose of brutal honesty and my constant support and belief. There has been not one time, when she has been wrong or misguided by her gut instinct when it comes to me, my decisions/choices and the people I surround myself with. Her ambitious and brilliant mind, fascinating creativity and amazing talent with a camera, are few of the reasons why I am so incredibly proud of her.

Moving on from the love dose…

Rushil coaxed me into flying out to see her and experience Mumbai for a bit. Despite being a military brat and having the advantage of getting to travel the country, thanks to the many places my father was posted to, somehow Mumbai evaded me and I never quite got the chance to experience the city.

Having arrived and confused a domestic airport for an international one, Rushil and I reunited after three long years. The spark that first connected us, is still there and we’ve picked up where we left off, as though these three years never really happened.

So how was my first night in Mumbai?

Well, here’s how it went…

  • Drank some VERY expensive wine out of mason jars.
  • Gorged on pizza that was all kinds of meat heaven.
  • Clicked our first ever polaroid


  • Poured our hearts out (yes there were tears, a lot of tears) in the middle of the night while we sat on the roof, listening to the waves of the sea.
  • Walked extremely unsteadily on the streets as it poured cats and dogs, hunting for more alcohol as one bottle apparently, was not enough.
  • Drunk dialled people, something that is ALWAYS a bad idea.
  • Drank some more expensive wine.
  • Ate some more heavenly pizza.

Ultimately, we passed out. Or at least I did. Rushil usually can’t sleep when she’s THAT drunk.

As can be expected, we woke up with raging hangovers, the effects of which are still being felt…