Archive for the ‘Amba’s Blog’ Category

The Best Bombay Bachelor Party

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

(Well, it comes close)
This all started when my roommate and I were asked to organize a Bachelor Party for a friend. Getting two women to organize a bachelor party is strange enough, but what to do, only our enthu levels were high enough. Plus, it was either that or we had to come out of jumbo sized cakes, which wasn’t really an option. As usual we spazzed out (most Bombay plans are best made and executed last minute) for the longest time until inspiration struck us.
The idea of having it on a boat was actually suggested by the bridegroom himself (“kuch dhamaal machao yaar, boat shoat pe karo, kuch socho…”) but we didn’t really think it was possible. The only thing we knew was that party boats left from the Gateway of India. Boat Parties didn’t have a wiki entry, and my numerous attempts at getting some contact on google were turning up… rather, they weren’t.
Finally, finally! I struck gold with a shady looking type directory. I am a little wary of people who advertise on for some unexplainable reason. Snuggled between “Party – Fame Gurukul disciple to perform…” and “Event Managers”, I found two mobile numbers for “BOAT PARTY MUMBAI”.
I speak to Rakesh, who immediately directs me to his website. Talk about net savvyness. I checked the link while grumbling as to why it didn’t show up during a google search.
Website? is interesting but gives little indication as to pricing. Rakesh, of Food n Fun Fiesta, is enterprising, enthusiastic and completely sympathetic to the difficulties of finance. For the record, the boat has ultimate potential – depending on your budget, you can hire some Indian Idol wannabe, a fire eater, a DJ, a live band or even Aishwarya Rai. We, on the other hand, didn’t have a very high estimate in front of us.

So for about 15k, (which included Boat rental, Lights, Generator, Barman + Ice, DJ + sound system, and Snacklets and mixers) for four hours, we were cruising the Mumbai waters, playing loud Punjabi Hip Hop and literally, living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. We got along alcohol (which we fell short of – the barman didn’t seem to be the most honest guy on the boat) and Jafferbhai’s Delhi Darbar Biriyani (1 kg veg and 1 kg chicken. Just in case you don’t know – 1 kg biriyani is not 1 kg of cooked biriyani. Its 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of the vegetables/meat. That’s a lot.) instead of the live grill that Rakesh tried very hard to fit into our package.  Oh, and I forgot the friendly neighbourhood coast guard who demanded their share of the fun (or maybe this was just the boatmen taking us for a ride… err… sail?) And we had a whole BOAT to ourselves in the lovely November weather. What more could you ask for?
A few more hours I think, I still remember the collective groan which emitted while we approached the Gateway of India.

Step off the train

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Bombay’s a city full of opportunities. Bombay is the City that never sleeps. Bombay has the attributes of every big city in the world, and is possibly the only one in India to be able to claim such a right. Delhi’s too unsafe, Bangalore shuts down too early (and let’s not forget the moral police), Calcutta is too laid back, Hyderabad is getting there but the mix isn’t so eclectic… you get the point.
And don’t bother correcting me – I know it’s Mumbai.
Bombay started off as a bit of a drag for me in my childhood – yearly lengthy visits to my Grandparents and staying in a middle class Maharashtrian neighbourhood in the suburbs, I didn’t know what the Bombay fuss was all about. There was the occasional excursion to Juhu Beach (which didn’t impress me much, I spent the rest of the year in Goa, where I didn’t have to pinch my nose while walking along the tide), Essel World (where I spent most of my time in line), Mulund and Borivali (family ties).
The only real Bombay experience I had was when I came for the Thespo Festival in my 3rd year in College. We stayed at the Salvation Army hostel in Colaba, which appeared to me as an endless stretch of flea market, unaffected by the limitation of the “tourist season”. While practicing cues at the NCPA, right on the road that fascinates all of India, Marine Drive, I slowly began to appreciate what this was all about.
I suppose I only truly started appreciating Bombay when I got to live in other cities and examine their flaws. Well, not really. A lot of it was listening to other people’s experiences and saying “hey, Bombay’s a lot better that way”. So you had the autorickshaws from hell in Bangalore, the crowded Chennai buses, the random guy walking up to you at the crossing at JNU and holding up a 500 rupee note…
The reason I moved to Bombay wasn’t all this, however, it was more personal. But I can’t imagine living in any other city.
What I love most is the comfort level this city extends to you. No matter where you are, what you are wearing, how high your inebriation levels are (unless you’re driving, of course) you can find your way home. Or, some other happening place. Or, a bite to eat.
There are people who hate the city – and I suppose that’s bound to be the case, you can never find people who are indifferent to the city, except those who just use Bombay has a fly out fly in point. Largely, I find women like Bombay more than men do. Maybe it’s the safety issue, or maybe it’s the celebrity beauty salons. Who knows?
My Bombay story isn’t a rich South Bombay Story, it isn’t an ambitious struggler bearing the turmoil of work and the commute, it isn’t a wannabe Carrie Bradshaw – it’s the same story of so many people I meet every week. Single, new to the city, trying to achieve the work life balance and with an appetite for fun. It’s been three years and I’m still the same. I’ve achieved more life than work, and I think I need something to show for it – so here’s my Best of Bombay. Cheers J