Monday, July 13, 2009

Retail therapy weekend

This past weekend, my good friend from my Infosys days, M and I decided to indulge in some much needed retail therapy. After a week of hard work, there’s nothing like swiping your credit card and getting on the train at the end of the day having more bags in your hand than you came with! We walked the vibrant and bustling Colaba Causeway for a few hours, including our brief but expensive sojourn at a CWC store there. One thing about M is she’s a big foodie – seriously, what do you expect from someone who’s got a whole drawer for food in her mobile unit at work?! And that is how we came to be in Café Leopold.

Café Leopold has been around for years by the look of it but was given a new lease of life after being the backdrop for many a scene in Gregory David Roberts’ wildly successful (in India at least) semi-autobiography, Shantaram. The book has been converted to a full length movie starring the delectably Johnny Depp as Roberts. On Saturday evening, the place was crowded and the tables placed so close together that if you pushed your chair a little too much to the back, you’d hit someone else’s chair. Dim lighting barely illuminated the sketches of the Mumbai skyline from years ago that hung on the walls… for a place that old, the crowd was that much younger! I felt totally comfortable and at home there… it is places like that that give this city its charm. Some drinks and food later, we were back outside on the sidewalk, to finish up our shopping.

I’ve realized that I really like that area of Bombay and not just because there is so much to shop there. I like how I can see the really old and almost crumbling building of the High Court and just behind that I can see the tower of the stock exchange, a symbol of India Shining (maybe not in recent times). Like most parts of the city, the old and the new seem to live together, two separate worlds yet steadfastly co-existing.

I had a lazy Sunday that I spent indoors watching one and a half Bollywood movies followed by a Harry Potter movie on HBO in the night. Monday came too soon.


mekie said...

Is it the same Cafe Leopold that was targeted in December?

Gaurav said...

Hi Sukanya,

That piece does refresh my memory of Cafe Leopold, having been there in 2003. Thanks for the offer to connect.

I'll email you in the next couple of days, hoping to set up a telephonic discussion with you.


PS-I like it when people say "India Shining"

@mekie - unfortunately yes!! guess that adds to the history of the place in a sombre way!!

geetu said...

omg!! its you!! :) i love that part of mumbai too.. and guess what my nxt book is CK Prahlad!! :)

am jus reading blue sweater by the acumen fund lady!! :) we shud hv met.. In LA for sure!! :)

Ameya said...

I would never want to go out of Mumbai if I had my home in that part of the city! Shantaram really paints a nice picture and to be there and experience that is another feeling.

Glad you are enjoying in Mumbai...



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