Mumbai bus and train schedule

Mumbai Navigator from IITB tells you how to get from one place to another in Mumbai, using the local bus and train services. Also has maps. (Here’s the old Mumbai Navigator.)

Alphonso has the full Mumbai local train timetables as pictures.

If you’re looking for street maps, Google Maps has a pretty good street map of Mumbai. But it’s not as good as MapMyIndia, which gives you the driving route from Nariman Point to Bandra for instance.

2003 Mumbai Bloggers meet photos

The Mumbai Bloggers’ Meet photos are online.

Under the staircase of Bandra station

House under Bandra station staircase

Under the staircase of Bandra station lies a two-storeyed apartment. Dupleix layout, single room. East-facing, with elevated entrance.

It’s 8:00am. The man on the ladder is a boot polish-walla. He’s picking up his box, getting ready for work, while his colleague watches. Their families is still asleep in the single room. And in the room, along with them, is a rather cramped storage space.

I wonder how many live in such conditions. Of course, it’s much better than the slums around Mahim. Still, it looks like a rather difficult life.

Yet people manage. I asked a driver a few months ago why he’d migrated to Mumbai. “Livelihood,” was his simple answer. At the end of the day, there are far more well-paying jobs in Mumbai than most other cities. Despite the ridiculous rents and cramped spaces.

I just watched

I was waiting for Vandana and Prashasti at ticket counter of the Andheri (E) station. Mumbai is extremely warm these days, so I went in search of a fan to stand under. I found one, but the place under it was occupied.

By a dog.

Now, I have to describe this dog. It looked like on of the normal mongrels. Not too discoloured or anything. Looked pretty young. And it was lying on its back. Yeah, sure, dogs aren’t supposed to do that, but this one did it pretty well. In the middle of its sleep, it woke up, and tried scratching itself. Poor thing must’ve felt itchy all over, so it ended up trying to bite its paw several times over, and not always succeeding.

I didn’t budge. I just watched.

While I was watching all this, this fairly well-dressed guy of about 25 had just bought his ticket, and was walking towards me. He noticed me, and noticed me looking at the dog. He walked pretty close to the dog, and I thought he wanted to pet the dog. What he did, instead, this well-dressed guy, was to kick the dog instead. For no reason at all. And walked away.

I didn’t budge. I just watched.

Then this little girl of about 4 came along. Clothes in tatters, and probably hadn’t eaten in many hours. She stood near the dog. The dog tried scratching itself on her skirt and leg (still on its back, mind you.) She moved a bit back. The dog followed. Soon they were playing.

I didn’t budge. I just watched.

After a while, the little girl went over and joined her mother and (equally tiny) sisters. Someone else had just bought a ticket, and was rushing to catch the train. In his haste, he dropped a little red booklet. The little girl was closest to it, so she picked it up and opened it. If it had any money, I’d have been quite happy to see her take it. There wasn’t. It was just a red booklet. She took it to her mother, who looked at it, looked around for help, saw me looking, and asked the little girl to give it to me, and asked me if I could return it.

I don’t think that well-dressed guy would’ve asked me to return it.

The booklet seemed like a phone book of sorts, though it had some Hindi poetry too in it (romantic poetry, too!) and a workman’s pass. A phone number was listed. I called the number, explained to the person that I had this pass, and said that I’d leave it with the station master at Andheri, and that the owner could pick it up.

It didn’t work out that way. I couldn’t find the station master. I don’t know if these stations even have one. So I just left, figuring I’d return it the next day. Didn’t happen. That week, I had to leave for Delhi. Now that I’m back, I still haven’t returned it.

As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t budge. I just watched.

Punctuality of Bombay trains

12:05 Churchgate

Hmm, maybe it’s not just the London and Tokyo trains you can set your watch by. On the way back from my trip to Ullas Nagar, I was sitting at the Bandra station waiting for the 12:05 to Churchgate. (That’s 12:05AM — as in the middle of the night.) The train was late, and I was enjoying the last of my plum cakes on the platform.

Two old people clad in khadi strutted in, and looked at the display. It said “12:05 C”. The older one said, “Heck, we’ve missed the train. Let’s go to the next platform.”

“No, we couldn’t. It says ’12:05 C’. The train’s coming,” says the “younger”.

The older one purposefully turns towards the big clock on the station, points to it, and says, “Look. It’s 12:10. The 12:05 train has left.” End of argument.

Maybe there’s something to be said for the punctuality of local trains in Mumbai, after all.

The 7-column blueprint

I was traveling from VT to Ullas Nagar to buy furniture. Since it’s an hour-and-half, I had taken a printout of an article on Scenario Planning to read. Being the gripping reading that it was, I’d fallen asleep on page 4, when I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, are you reading this?”

Since I was asleep, I clearly wasn’t. But I looked at him, just to make sure he hadn’t mistaken it for a newspaper or something. He had a moustache, was wearing a blue shirt, and didn’t looked like the type who could mistake Scenario Planning with the latest political gossip.

“Could I have a look?”

He sure could. The article had made no sense to me so far. If it helped him, great! He started leafing through it.

“Did you download it?”

I had. I nodded. Then I went back to sleep. After a few minutes, when I woke up to see what station had arrived, he started off again.

“So are you studying this only now?” (His tone was like, “So, are you learning to read at THIS age?”)

I said, “Yeah.”

“Haven’t you taken any classes on strategy before?”

Now, how do I explain that I work for a strategy consulting firm? But then, that wasn’t his question was it? To be honest, I’ve taken only one class on strategy, and I’m not really sure I understand it, so I said “No.”

“I work for BPL Mobile, you see,” he continued. “We had this class on strategy where they gave out this blueprint. You should read it.”

Well, if he’s from BPL Mobile, I have a few strong thoughts as a customer that I’d want to share with him. But then again… maybe I’d learn something. I asked, “Blueprint? What’s that?”

“Oh, it’s a sheet that has 7 columns. It tells you what all you have to do for a company’s strategy — from deciding everyone’s designation to putting names in each of the boxes and so on. It’s really detailed. It has 7 columns. You should get it and read it.”

“Oh, you mean a business plan!”

“No, no, no. This has 7 columns. It’s a blueprint. You should read it.”

Of course. 7 columns. Should anyone spot a blueprint with 7 columns, do pass it to me. I should read it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to sleeping on trains.

Places I have eaten at

I give up. I’ve been to too many places, like Leopold Cafe, Tavern, Library Bar, Liquid Lounge, Roti, Not Just Jazz by the Bay, Buddy’s, The Ghetto Pub, Crosswords, Groove, Asiatic, Hanging Gardens, some Chinese restaurant at The Leela (which is the best Chinese food I’ve had), etc. And I don’t have the time to write reviews! Maybe I’ll take it up later.

Dinner at Indian Summer

Vishnu and I tried out Indian Summer, opposite to Gaylord. It looked like one of those ‘classier’ places, so I wasn’t expecting the meal to be any good. The variety was impressive though, so sticking to my policy of ordering dishes I never had, we tried Shahi shorba (soup), methi tikki and simla mirch besan ke sath, with makai roti and reshmi paratha. For Rs. 550. I recommend every single dish — especially the soup. The service was good, too, and I’d rate it as excellent, except for the fact that the waiter walked up to us and asked us if we’d ordered Shahi Shorba. True to my form, I stared at him cluelessly, looked around, and said, “Who me?”

The poor waiter was understandably embarrassed. He walked to the next table to confirm that they hadn’t ordered it. They hadn’t. He walked back, and in the middle of all this walking up and down, almost spilt a bit of soup on Vishnu. Then he comes back, after checking the register, informing us that we had, indeed, ordered Shahi shorba. Fine by me…

The good part is, now I know how to drink soup — move the spoon away from yourself when collecting the soup on the spoon. Thanks, Vishnu!

Waves at Marine Drive

This morning, for the first time, I saw what the waves crash over the rocks on Marine Drive. I did see some spray on Friday as we were walking along Marine Drive, but nothing like this. It was raining, and torrentially. The previous evening, my umbrella broke. I was walking out of office, which is directly in front of the sea. The breeze blows towards office. There’s no way for the wind to go except through the door. So when I walked out of the door and opened my umbrella, the breeze inverted it, and broke a couple of the rods. It’s still usable, but won’t stand another strong wind.

Anyway, we’d been working late last night, and I had to deliver some documents to a partner who lived at Malabar Hill. I took a taxi and sat at the front, as he drove along Marine drive to Malabar hill. It was raining, when waves crashed over the wall along the sea, and splashed all over the road, including the car, with tremendous force. I jerked backwards, but the driver hardly noticed anything, pausing only to adjust the speed of the wiper.They’re used to it, I guess.

Dinner at Crystal

Crystal is opposite to Chowpatti beach. I didn’t know that, so when Bhura suggested we take a cab there from Churchgate, I boldly said, “Let’s walk down the beach.” It’s not that long a walk, but longer than I’m normally used to. At the end of the walk, I nearly collapsed. Crystal is apparantly pretty famous for its value-for-money. We ordered 2 alu parathas with malai kofta and paneer masala and dahi. The food was quite tasty, but filling. Neither of us had space for many more rotis. The bill came to about Rs. 100.