When the lockdown lifts, I will: Celebs share their Mumbai dreams
Depravation is perfect to learn what you took for granted. With the end to the lockdown nowhere in sight, we asked around for must-dos when freedom will be ours
Go to Pali Bhavan
Pali Naka's Indian eatery Pali Bhavan. PIC/SHADAB KHAN
I have been a professional musician for seven years and played at the Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC), Carnegie Hall and the NH7 Bacardi Weekender. As I am used to crowds, being in isolation is proving difficult. So, as I try to record something fresh out of my Bandra home, all I can think of is how lovely it would be to have dinner with a set of close friends at Bandra's Pali Bhavan. Their angoori gulab jaamun is worth trying. The restaurant has been special for me since I celebrated my first birthday in Mumbai there. That was on April 20, 2019.
Assistant Commissioner of Police
Drive down to Lonavala
All my colleagues, who are handling Dongri and JJ jurisdictions, live with their families. I don't. I have been working seven days a week since the Prime Minister announced a three-week national lockdown from the midnight of March 24. I go to my Andheri home on Sunday and resume work on Monday. While I am on the field, my wife and 22-year-old son Aniruddha haven't stepped out of our home. I would want to travel with them to our favourite weekend gateway. We all deserve the break, including our dog, Franky. We have a friend who owns a quaint bungalow in Lonavala, and I can see myself sitting on a charpoy, enjoying the view of the hills. But for now, duty first.
Senior advocate criminal lawyer
Watch the sunset at Girgaum Chowpatty
I recently had the opportunity of seeing a video clip of the magnificent Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. What it did is trigger a desire to once again see the outstanding structure, understand its history, and see it as more than just a place that has crowds coming in every day. I last visited CST as a kid, so I think it is time I take a walk inside. Second, I'd like to head to Girgaum Chowpatty.
As a South Bombay kid, I would go to the beach and watch the sunset. There was this bhelwala with a laal (red) dabba. This memory is from 40 years ago. He wouldn't be around anymore. I have seen Mumbai change through many decades. But the beauty of the city needs to be revived and enjoyed. And, one of the many things I'd like to do when the lockdown is lifted is to enjoy everything I did as a kid. It is time we all do so, don't you think?
Host and comic
Order a plate at Jay Sandwich
When all of this is behind us, I am going to lock myself indoors for another month—just to be absolutely sure the virus has gone. After that, I am going straight to Jay Sandwich near National College in Bandra and ask him to make me a cheese grilled, 'mast upar se chutney mar ke'. God knows how much I've missed the place and the whole nonchalance of it. The whole waiting and looking around while you wait for your sandwich to be made, hot and fresh off the grill, is exhilarating. I love junk food—to me, it's about freedom and that feeling of not worrying about life. After being at home for so long, that is the exact feeling I want to experience again—of not being worried about things we took for granted.
Cultural theorist and curator
Walk along the Gateway of India
I cannot swim, and never will, but my fear of water has always been accompanied by an irresistible fascination for that magical swirl in the Arabian Sea. In the 1970s and early ’80s, my kid brother and I spent our weekends playing in the piazza at the Gateway. It was the same routine… running races and eating cutlets at the charming café on the waterfront, followed by ice-cream and coconut water. The inscription on the Gateway reminded us of its colonial legacy but, the people milling around its piazza smudged the Indo-Saracenic architecture with their sweat, dreams and hunger.
There were migrant workers, middle-class families, sex workers, furtive gay couples, children who went to anglophone schools, and street children who had cannily picked up French, Spanish or Italian. There were no ugly floodlights. Only discreet street lamps glowing at night against the sea, which, depending on the season, would change from muddy grey or pewter to a dazzling lapis lazuli. I dreamt the other night that I was playing fugdi with my kid brother in the piazza, spinning freely in the sea breeze.
Hug a tree
To be honest, I am not interested in visiting a restaurant or bar. But, I would like to run to my park and hug a tree. I miss running, and my morning walks. I would make a plan for a whole week that would include potlucks at my friends’ homes because we miss each other’s specialities, and I would be guaranteed a hug after dessert. And I can say this as a single woman living alone—I just miss my people and my little corner in their homes and in their lives.
Manuel Olveira Seller
Chef-restaurateur, La Loca Maria
Resume my Muay Thai workout
I miss the Muay Thai workout at Evolution Gym in Bandra, where I train each morning with trainer Susovan. I also want to get back to my routine of cycling. Most important of all, I want to go back to my friends and have a glass of cold beer while talking about life, business, parties, morning workouts and the future. My wife Mickee Tuljapurkar and I miss the bustle of the kitchen. Once the borders open, I would also make a trip to my hometown, Toledo in Spain, to see my parents and family. We all deserve an elaborate meal with our families, once the lockdown is lifted.
Singer and performer
Light a candle at Mount Mary
I want to head to the Mount Mary Church on a whim, like I used to be able to. I usually head there around 2 or 3 am. Whenever I find myself up at odd hours, unable to sleep because I am burdened with thoughts, I go to the church to find some peace. My routine consists of hiring a rickshaw to get there, buying candles and lighting them, climbing the stairs to reach the top and praying for a bit. I don’t subscribe to any particular faith, but this is a personal ritual of sorts. I pray for everyone’s well-being, myself included. I pray that tranquillity is restored for all humanity. We have been stuck in our houses and there is a lot of inertia that has developed in us. We are living by days and not by hours. I think one should break this cycle of inertia gradually.
Singer and performer
Catch a gig with friends
Once the lockdown is lifted, and we can get out and interact cautiously, I would like to go back to live gigs. I absolutely enjoy that, especially going for one with my friends, and enjoying the company of all of us being in the same room. I think we have taken that for granted. It’s a privilege to even walk down to a store right now, and I want to appreciate all of that once it’s back to normal.
Dr Tejas Garge
Director, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums
Take the kids to CSMVS
There are many to-dos on my list. While I would like to see the Gateway, a protected monument and also the symbol of Mumbai and India, I also wish to visit Crawford Market. Before the lockdown, we’d go there to buy our groceries and knew the vendors by face. Now, we are forced to buy supplies from nameless, faceless people.
And yes, I wish to take my children to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya. They have a children’s museum on the lawns. I also have a lot of memories of the museum from my own childhood. In fact, I carry the distinct memory of my parents once interacting with a man at the museum who looked like a sage. I was in Std V then. It was much later, after coming to Mumbai to work that I released that the man was Sadashiv Gorakshkar, then director of the museum.
CEO and co-founder of Dope Coffee Roasters
Play table tennis
Before starting Dope Coffee, I would spend two and half hours every day playing table tennis. While I have been a man of many true loves, table tennis beats the rest. Nothing balances out all my planes—the mental, physical, spiritual and social—like going head to head with a challenging table tennis player. I own a team in the Mumbai Super League King Pong. During the lockdown I have reconnected with my old self—the chef who went to the Culinary Institute of America. I have been going through my old school books and trying to delight my family by cooking.
Eat pani puri in Juhu
The one place I want to revisit when the world comes back to the new normal is the pani puri guy whose shop I have been eating at for six years. My mouth is watering while I tell you this. His shop is at 10th Road, Juhu, and he has a tiny tarp with an umbrella. This uncle looks like an egg and he gives me two dry puris instead of one. It makes me feel special. I try and not stop when I’m driving past, but nine out of 10 times, I end up eating there. The days I like to indulge, I get myself a sev puri as well. I hope I haven’t let the fear lodge inside me, to say that touch and food and hugs are infectious. We have taken them lightly and not cared for them, and that pani puri symbolises freedom to me.
Head to Bandra for a long run
I will go for a run. Starting from Carter Road via Joggers Park and going to Bandra Bandstand. I love that route. It takes you through different spaces in the city. From the breezy Carter to a rather full Joggers Park where you unintentionally catch snippets of the most varied conversations—stock market ups and downs, recipes, building society issues—to the narrow lanes of Chimbai village which comes with its own mix of aromas, from fish to burnt chai to the quiet of St Andrews’ Church, which is suddenly dispelled by the noise of Hill Road as you take the turn to read the sometimes hilarious ‘thought for the day’ on the board outside. Then, you run into the Salman Khan fans waiting outside Galaxy and the many, many lovers of Bandstand. Bhel puri on Turner Road, pani puri at Punjab Sweets and a drink with my friends at Totos! And some ragi chips from Neelam Foods in Khar to take back home.
Head to the airport
The first thing that I’d like to do is to grab my bag, my overnight case, IDs and head to the nearest airport. I’d look at the schedule and buy a ticket for a destination I can afford. I’ll walk in, clear security, buy myself a coffee and a book and wait to go someplace new or familiar. Or just someplace else. And cherish the feeling of being on the brink of a new travel. Airport coffee always tastes so good. The view of parked air planes, people on the move, suitcases labelled with different addresses, the name of new cities on the PA system and that black coffee, going glug, glug, glug down my throat as I inhale in the promise of a new adventure. Having said that, this whole thing is going to make me look at travel from a very different perspective. Of being more conscious of our carbon footprint and being a responsible traveller.
Head to the beach
I wish to step out of the confines of my apartment and go into a vast natural space like the beach. I would thoroughly delight in going for a run by the seaside at sunrise. How rejuvenating.
Tarini Mohinder (first line, second from left) with her football team
Head to Bombay Gym for football
The first thing I am likely to do is sprint to Bombay Gymkhana Maidan for a game of football. Since Café Zoe [her resto-bar in Parel] shuttered in September last year, I have developed a love for the sport. I started playing with a great bunch of girls last year and we meet twice a week for a game. It’s not just a great exercise, but also wonderful to be outdoors in the green fields where you feel free.
By Aastha Atray Banan, Gitanjali Chandrasekharan, Prutha Bhosle, Ela Das, Phorum Dalal, Nasrin Modak Siddiqi, P Vatsalya
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