TuckaTHUCKtuckaTHUCKtucka, beep beep, vroom, screech, beep beep, varoom, and thump!!! Wonder what's that? It's my first rickshaw ride on the first day in Mumbai! Back in Dehradun we have rickshaws, but I had Mia — my cool bike — so never really hopped in a rickshaw or what we call Vikram, a sharing rickshaw. Dad would never let me get into one as people, mostly men, are almost sitting on each other's laps.
A few immediate things-to-do on my agenda in Mumbai were — an auto ride, shopping at the vibrant markets on Linking Road and view of the spectacular sea. Very touristy, na? But then this is my first time alone in the big city, I had to do what I had to do.
Dressed in my new jeans and lucky kurta, I walked up to a shiny auto waiting right outside my building gate. I looked at him and said, “Bhaiyya, Bandra chalenge?”. I repeated. He just stared back, and, after a while, lazily gestured to get in. Had there been other autos around, I wouldn't have gotten into his rickety rick. How difficult is it to say 'Haan' ya 'Naa'?
From the word go, my dream turned into a roller-coaster ride. The young chappy at the wheel didn't care if the signal was red or green, drove on the opposite side of the road and speeded like a F1 racer in the crowded gaalis. I was glad I reached Linking Road in one piece. Don't think I am ever getting into an auto again. Wishing Mia comes to Mumbai soon.
Aren't first experiences supposed to be special and nice? Thanks to the rick ride, the scorching heat and an empty stomach, my shopping spirits just took a nosedive. The colourful footwear stalls by the road no longer appealed to me, the only thing that had my attention was a crowded food stall.
We rarely ate out back home, Mummy was a wonderful cook so ghar ka khanna was the best! Sometimes we went out for Chinese dinners as Mummy hadn't cracked the expertise in that cuisine.
Standing a few feet away from the stall, I was figuring in my head if I should eat those round, orangish aloo bondas from a roadside thela. Will it taste good? Did the guy who is making it wash his hands? What if I fall sick? With so many people gorging the stuff, I threw worries out of my head and ordered a plate of what everyone was having.
What I got was a hot wada sandwiched between a fresh pav slathered with garlic and sweet chatnis! How did it taste? I love Mummy but hate to admit I have never eaten anything so crunchy yet soft, spicy yet tasty in my life. The foodie in me has fallen in love with Mumbai's Wada Pav! How many I ate, I am not going to tell!
Food in my tummy makes me happy, so I decided to head to Bandstand and leave the shopping for another day. Being from the hills, I fancy beaches and seas! But there was no way I was getting into an auto anytime soon, so I asked for directions and began walking to the famous spot.
After a 30-min walk I landed in front of a blue sky dappled with orange and purple hues blending into a grey sea in a faraway distance. The beautiful view made me forget my woes! Suddenly, my first time in bustling Bambai looked rosy.
The city did give me a lot — my first job, my first rickshaw ride, my first bite of a Wada Pav and my first time by the seaside. Can't help but scream — Ahoy! Mumbai, here I am!
Catch the interesting tale of Meera Sehgal in “Girl In The City” on bindass' Facebook page every Thursday at 7.30pm.