But somehow, somewhere, I'd ruled out too much. Sigh... back to the drafting board then, dearie. And somehow, somewhere, in the writing and thinking, eliminating and appending, something intriguing emerged.
I seem to enjoy Bombay most by late evening/night. This is, I think, strange because being in the city has never had any defined, cognizable purpose for me. Save being home.
For example, I savour Hyderabad most from the late afternoon to the late evening. Perhaps... because I've never been anything but a student in Hyderabad? The daylight was for class, chores, and assorted adventure. The night was when I'd return to the sanity of campus, tea, and a long, long walk.
Anyhow, to meander back to the tag at hand, hmm? This is, I think, the most accurate list of the things I miss the most in Bombay. It doesn't matter whether I am within the city or without.
- The Carter Road promenade. The scene of much believing, bonding, booze... being. A rare place where the city, the sea, and the mangroves come together in glorious anomaly. I've forged some lovely bonds, renewed old ones, and been in the peace of myself here—smack in the middle of noisy Bandra.
- Lemon Grass, Bandra. For dinner, conversation, and photography. I love the multifarious feel and tastes of this, my favourite restaurant. I’ve had insights into different cultures, cities, and people here. I’ve bullied the management (into serving other patrons faster) for a clear frame. Shockingly, I also have an unconditional invitation to annoy them again!
- Café Mondegar. The rites of passage into adulthood—my first unchaperoned drink. A place adorned with mosaics of memories—Bombay, the jukebox, camaradrie, football matches, and space amidst all the jostling and noise. I'm not as much of a fan of Colaba as everyone else but I'd go across town to Mondy's to voluntarily drink beer and choose my own music.
- Regal Cinema. From a time when an English movie was necessarily 30 kms away. I’ve always loved the ambience and architecture of this, my favourite theatre – much before I knew it was Art Deco. The dark wood, the ornate panelling, the bad seats, caramel popcorn, and my first movie date… Sigh! :-)
- Watching/walking the ocean. It really doesn't matter where—the Queen's Necklace, Banganga crematorium, Juhu Beach, Rock Beach (Versova), Silver Beach (Juhu Scheme), or Madh Island. All my life, like him below, I’ve been all and nothing at so many sunsets. Today, with subdued regret, I miss every one… every day.