I’ll be alright, I’ll be alright!
The addictive Jane Kyon track from Dostana came up on 93.5FM as we turned away from the highway towards Aarey Milk Colony. The time was 3:00PM and it was exactly 3 hr 6 mins since we’d kicked off our Great Shopping Challenge from the gates of the Palms Hotel. We had 24 minutes to beat the clock, but along the way we’d beaten choc-a-bloc Mumbai traffic, secured a parking spot on one of the busiest streets, devoured a tasty meal for Rs.75, and shopped for 7 things each for each other and a couple of goodies for the car.
Now, the song has been stuck in my mind since the time it played in the car, and I’m not complaining! It’s a peppy ode to good friendship and when was that ever a bad thing? (Of course, it stars the smokin’ hot Priyanka Chopra too!)
Anyway, I digress, let’s talk about our short adventure shall we?
The plan: Travel to Linking Road, Bandra - the choice destination for the bargain hunter and yet fashion conscious Mumbaikar. Take two different routes to n fro the place to ensure we capture the sights of the modern suburban Mumbai. Spend all of our Rs.2500 on 10 things for each of us, gifts for each others and lunch (including Mr. Rupesh from Team GDC!). Live tweet-telecast the entire adventure online. And see if we could meet any followers.
What really happened:
We started the engine of our Black Cedia at 12:54PM, waved our goodbyes to Unny/Bindhu, Thomas/Shilpy and Amit/Jasleen, and headed off towards Bandra via Jogeshwari/Oshiwara/Andheri/Juhu/Santa Cruz/Khar. The road takes us through some very gossip-flavored favorite places of Bollywood’s celebrities - something that Namrata tells y’all about in her posts.
It took us exactly 4 minutes to lose our direction in Palms itself, but thanks to the helpful security guards we found our way out. From that point onwards, Namrata took over centre-stage as the navigator - we did not need the GPS with her around! The mood was up-beat initially and we were doing good speed till we entered the road at InOrbit Mall, Malad. We slowed down to a crawl and ended up taking lots of shots of signboards and people who were genuinely staring at the stickered beauty.
Stuck with all the other “normal” cars
You don’t need a/c to love the weather
Save my soul too
All kinds of 4-wheelers
Even a pink-stickered Logan’s emblem gets stolen in Mumbai!
The other beauty
The not-so-useful dead speed-o-meter to complement the very useful dead-pedal
tu hain toh ulti-pulti baatein seedhi lagti hain…
Of course, not ALL of Namrata’s directions were useful. In some places, the BMC decided that going down under is the best way to beat traffic.
It was 1PM by the time we reached Juhu. The mind-numbingly slow traffic and the unrelenting stopclock had stolen all the excitement at this stage. And I was left with an unusually tense expression on my face. We were already 30% through our journey and we had NOTHING to write about and had been tweeting continuously about traffic-snarls and bollywood-gossip. Miraculously, the road opened up as we entered Juhu and my trusty navigator shouted out the one thing that a GPS can never say - “Bhagao, bhagao!”
Jaane kyon dil jaanta hai,
Tu hain toh I’ll be alright
My trusty navigator’s screams helped awaken the Cedia and we zoomed off on the last stretch to our destination; we snaked past rogue cabs and autos with Namrata pep-talking me all through (and cursing at the traffic!). Her navigational skills coupled with her ability to psyche out traffic through her stares and lip-sync’ing the choicest of local curses ensured we not only found the shortest path but it was also empty when needed!
1:13PM ...and we reached National College!
Oohu hu hu oohuuu…
I’ll be alright, I’ll be alright!
We had EXACTLY one hour at Linking Road to have lunch, shop around, hunt for our treasure and wrap it up with great photos - I’d say we did a darn good job at it!
Thirty-five rupees worth of cheese goodness!
Garish, gauche, subtle, understated…what your’s foot-style?
Not the most popular shop around
Everything glitters in Linking Road
The Zoo-zoos are back! Now on t-shirts for Rs.150 only!
Colorful, shiny, rugged…how do you want to waist it? - Taukeer’s belt-store!
(Waqar said “Most welcome, come next time also!)
Selling Popeye t-shirts is a serious busines - Popeye t-shirts sell the highest here!
My gifts for my trusty navigator!
The funniest t-shirts this side of “Tantra” - sold exclusively by Mohammed Bhai!
Rajesh sells “magic pearls” - bead-sized balls which inflate when soaked in water!
Love kills slowly - as opposed to this cap which will ensure you’re killed swiftly for your fashion sense!
After the mad-rush of shopping, photography and interviewing random individuals we headed off to pick up the Cedia, and guess what? We had a run in with the cops!
A Police Qualis had comfortably parked right behind our car.
Namrata sweet-talked them into moving their vehicle a bit while I went click-click!
With that out of the way, I slotted the car into first gear at 2:19PM and gingerly stepped out of the narrow lanes, only to be greeted by Amit and Jace’s White Cedia. A short-stop before we headed off to the Palms.
...and it was down to our final few miles in the Cedia.
kuch palon ka dostana yeh
‘Cuz when it zooms this way, the world seems alright. The traffic becomes a blur and the 30 seconds of overtaking before you reach the next light seem worth the wait. As I zig-zagged through the Taxis on the Western Express Highway, I looked back at the time that had raced past us. Cossetted in luxury, shut off from the humidity of Mumbai, it was a time to reflect on the machine that brought us here. The Momo steering wheel is compact and injects a whole new level of fun. The drilled-aluminium pedals stick to your feet and are almost telepathic in their connection with you. The SatNav touchscreen is polished and the climate control is enough to transport you to another world. But then, all this means jacksh!t if it does not drive well enough. And boy does it! You ride a wave of torque available at any rev in any gear, heck you can drive around the whole day in one gear if you want. Ride it a bit hard and the growl at the higher revs is addictive enough to want to do it all day, on any road. Try it. Finally, the bullet-proof reliability that will keep you singing “i’ll be alright” all the way on any road, any condition, at any time of the year!
Today, then, was the ultimate example of a speed-date. A date with Mumbai - its traffic, its people and its ability to bridge the gap between the affordable and the exorbitant on one single road, a date with my navigator in our first road trip together, and a date with the Cedia Sports. All in 3 hours, but friendships that last forever.
See you. Again. Hopefully still as a follower.
All the best everyone!