Laughing All The Way To Bombay

I’ve visited Mumbai on many occasions and it never, ever fails to woo me. Hundreds of houses of worship for those with god in mind, the best Indian and International cuisine in the country for the foodie, Bollywood for the film buffs and everything else down the road of music, art, history, shopping, crazy traffic, all night drinking, the hermaphrodite mafia and Ghandi’s house. One thing I’ve always found amazing about Mumbai, is how you can go from some of the richest, most affluent areas in India to seeing people living on the brink of sheer desperation in the blink of an eye. To put things into perspective, one second you’ll be driving past the enormous mansion of superstar Sachin Tendulkar, then minutes later, the Dharavi slum which is home to over one million people…

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Typical scene in the early hours

Mumbai was known as Bombay during the British rule, until 1995 when the city was renamed after Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the land in an attempt to strengthen the region’s Marathi identity. In 1668 the English East India Company rented all of Bombay from Charles the II for a measly 10 pounds, that proved to be the best tenner ever spent as now, without the British takeover it is questionable whether Mumbai would be the booming, iconic monster that it is today.

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CST Station

When the British conquered not only did they bring the fine architecture, they also brought cricket. The Mumbai oval is a large recreational ground where many famous players such as the ‘Little Master’ himself learned their trade. We may have invented this sport, but nobody in the world loves cricket like the Indians do…

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Colaba in South Mumbai is an area I always like to visit, and I’ve noticed that it seems to be the main part of the city where you’re likely to meet some crazy characters. On a previous visit I was stopped by a Polish heroin hippy whose story was simple – he’d been locked up in the notorious Arthur Road Jail on numerous occasions for drug smuggling, but was now sorting his act out and dealing with the Mumbai mafia in the market of producing fake passports, but only until he had enough money to make it up to Haridwar so he could smoke opium and charas with a bunch of holy men…obviously he’d been reading Shantaram. This time I was approached by a rent boy who claimed to have fornicated me twice and was asked by another babbling idiot if I wanted to buy a cow. So if you can get past this and the gauntlet of shop touts, money changers and fake holy men, Colaba is a pretty interesting place!

20130509-232902.jpgGaylord Restaurant

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The Gateway to India

Having done most of the tourist stuff in the past in Mumbai, I decided to try something different – laughing meditation. Laughing meditation just like normal meditation, can have a calming effect on a person but will also enhance joy in everyday life. After the first half of the session I was a little dubious about the practice, as the warm up just seemed like yoga for pensioners. Once the laughing began, you find that you just can’t stop, you just continue to laugh at the other people laughing, afterwards it really made me feel a lot more optimistic about the day after a horribly early start, albeit with sore cheeks. Not everyone in Mumbai is so fond of the idea though, apparently the grumpy neighbours tried to have the club hit with an ASBO because their of early morning chuckling sessions. The Mumbai laughter club meet daily at Chowpatty beach at 7am, watch a caption of my laughter session HERE

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Laughing guru kuvavala hold many world laughter records

So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ll never get bored of Mumbai! Most of my time here was spent catching up with some old friends, making some new ones, all night drinking and living like a local whilst experiencing a different side to Bombay life with my good friend Joyraj Bose. Cheers!

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In my last post I mentioned some of the plus sides of travelling alone, well after being reunited with my ‘compadré’ I’d like to say something about travelling as a couple – there is nothing like hanging out with someone who is almost as awsome as yourself…

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Categories: India | Tags: | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Laughing All The Way To Bombay

  1. Tina Dourish

    ALMOST as awesome – by there’s a compliment for you Cheryl. Still loving the blog Gary, you should be a travel writer.

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