I got to experience quite my fair share of euphoria on my first weekend at this city. To start narrating from the crevices of my gas infested intestines, travelling by the taxi, tube or rail is the worst feeling I get here. It makes you feel very insipid. Reminds me of an army of ants over mechanised locomotors huffing and puffing around, sweating and coughing as an expense of their own actions of delirium. What haunts me most is the constant sense of being exploited by someone sitting on a silver seat up above those starry cascades of Navi Mumbai, as seen from my cab. Then i remember my employers and sulk. Accompanying it is the kick that I feel inside my gut when I question myself if I was right to take an Uber when I know I wasn’t and was only too scared to take a fast local that would save me about 90% of the money I would have to part with now.
Only face to face acquaintances comfort me. People personally here are quite beautiful to the soul. Most of them are.
Sunday 12:00 A.M: The first to greet me was the drunk Marathi kaka trying to be my chauffer from hell when we arrived at Church-gate Terminal,Mumbai. Reaching to hold my door with his beautiful version of drunken kungfu and the pyrokinetics of his lighter acting as his flaming sword. Even Wong-Fei-Hung would have been proud. This interesting man then proceeded to recede backwards with the sense of a tiger shot with a tranquiliser, to sit down at the station entrance and try his hand on some percussion music. I and Shivaji proceeded to buy two gold flake cigarettes with one cigarette reserved for this kaka. But the humour died away quite fast and we decided to just leave the whole crowd alone and go inside.

Saturday 8:30 P.M: As a slight recap, I will narrate activities surrounding us a few hours ago. We had just been told that the film- Aguirre,Wrath of God by Werner Herzog had to be postponed for the next day due to some “technical difficulities”. In its place, we were assured to have our anticipations of seeing Herzog on the big screen crushed by presenting the already brooding crowd with “The latest Werner Herzog film guys, Queen of the Desert, we always have tomorrow, Oh.., please don’t go… ”. This new so called masterpiece had Nicole Kidman and that pale gay guy from The Twilight Haga. A further 56% IMDB and 10% Rotten Tomatoes should sum it all up. I couldn’t blame Herzog. He had bills to pay. Family man.

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So we did what we had to do. We left in search of a good Mumbaiyya Tavern. We wanted it shady. We wanted it dark. We wanted it inconspicuous and we wanted pork. So up came Zomato on Shivaji’s phone with the filter on for Booze and pork. And up came The Fountain Inn. Sounded a bit melodramatic on the first place but who said we learnt to expect less? Thus we learnt the first lesson of the night -Naivity finds you at the time you feel the most mature. To top it all off, we decided to walk. I cannot tell you what happened for the next one hour as I myself did not know anything at all. All I can say is that one point, Google maps told us to go straight and jump into the Arabian Sea by going over the Marine Drive. Such was the extent and we even talked about suing Google Maps on account of being accomplice in homicide. I guess we shouldn’t go ahead with that.
We finally reached The Fountain Inn. The moment we entered, we knew we had to bail on the beer plan and go forth with the Sasta Maal. Two glasses of Royal Stag whiskey each for the gentlemen please. Ok Bhaiya. Saaath mein? Chikkann?

We started our bouts on philosophy and I started gulping the joy water harder. Was the chicken cheap? Nope. Naivity, a tinge of illiteracy and Google Maps are together this time fuck you in the ass bro. Sorry.
We got out at 11:45 and had Wills Classic Icebursts. We then knew better to resume walking and took a cab to Church gate station.

Sunday 12:40 A.M (Midnight): We got on the local and found places by the side.
We talk about the nihility of progressive thought. About John Krakaur’s “Into Thin Air”narrating the incidents leading to the deaths of about fifteen climbers scaling the Mt. Everest through eyes of the Sherpa and the author who lived to tell the tale. We talked which was more of a monologue on how the FTI was systematically being brought to its knees by the BJP government with the B-Grade porn actor cum safe keeper of Hindutwa, mananiya Gajendra Chauhan and the slow chaining of all forms of free and liberal thought patterns across India. We stopped at instances to look out into the night introspecting our sanity and gauging everyone around us. Cigarettes were our excuse for the momentary lapses of discussions and inquiry. Otherwise we talked a lot. It was nice. Our version of gossip about the world. Made me feel quite in sync. We talked Herzog too. Important to do so. We decided that I would go alone to finish what we started the very next day as Shivaji had cinema stuff to do and I didn’t. Wow.
We reached his home at about 1:20 A.M. The guy opening the door was Ashay Gangwar. Owner of Camera and Shorts. Warm guy. A guy who made the perfect joint and drank nariyal paani after that. A guy who had tobacco packets and rolled his own cigarettes. A guy who demanded respect. I learnt Ashay Bhaiya was going out on a little trip starting from Kanyakumari to Kashmir from tomorrow. We smoked, talked very little, listened to the Nebraska soundtrack and then slept.

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Sunday 10:00 A.M: I woke up to find myself staring at Gilberts Peak out the window. It was a monumental volcanic aberration. An almost cartoonishly steep plateau standing at the midst of the sprawling buildings of Azaad Nagar. The aberration has a temple on its top, muslim households beneath it and a Christian name. Kinda like our Bharat Varsha with its sweet secular contradictions through the unseen terms and conditions.
I smoked Ashay Bhaiyas roll. Took as much movies as I could. Said Bye Bye and headed to the Azaad Nagar Metro terminus with Shivaji where I bade him adieu after an iceburst.
I continued my journey from Azaad Nagar to Andheri station where I shifted trains to head for Church Gate. This time Google Maps helped me enough and I could reach Liberty Cinema on time.
I enjoyed Fata Morgana and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Both by Werner Herzog. His bills had been payed.
After the screening, I came back.

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Gilbert’s Peak

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3 thoughts on “My first weekend in Mumbai with Werner Herzog, Sherpas and Shivaji.

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