Sunday, April 03, 2005

What to say? - 2

Thought the roaming would be only a negligible irritation but things turned out to be much worse. This guy wants to go shopping and doesn't want to go alone, so he calls me up. On the railway station he tells me some 'rules of engagement in Mumbai' like how to get on the trains, how to avoid pick pockets, etc. He is nothing like the star dude as a tourist partner. First, I had to wait 30 minutes for him to meet me at the station. With his watch 15 minutes faster than the Indian Standard Time, effectively he comes 45 minutes later than the time he told me. Looks like this guy is a compulsive shopper. He must've stopped at atleast 20 shops to 'buy' things (he did not, at the end). So, I drag him to the station and have a 20 minute discussion on where to go - Manish market (Fort area) or Heera Panna (Haji Ali) , for his digital camera. 'All markets are closed on Sundays', I tell in vain! Finally, we decide to go to Manish market (where atleast the clothes stores will be open). After we get down at Marine Lines, he decides he wants to go to Heera Panna, for which you must've got down at Mahalaxmi, a few stations back. I decide I won't give any directions to him from now on.

We go out of the station and take a cab to 'Heera Panna Market'. The cab driver hears just market and takes us to Crawford market (where the markets actually start). We walk down a street and search for HP Market but not before a diversion - he stops to buy bags, in a shop across the street. I drag him again. I think, maybe there is really this market here which I don't know about. Wrong! He thinks each street is a market and searches for HP anywhere. After asking some people on the street, they tell us to go to Haji Ali (I knew it!) Next, we had to decide about how to go there - take a taxi and pay 60 bucks or take a taxi to churchgate and train to Mahalaxmi and again a cab (35 bucks). He tells me not to be 'miserly' and pay just 15 bucks (ie per person) extra and go there 'comfortably'. The taxi driver says it will be atleast 25 or 30 Rs from Mahalaxmi to Haji Ali (actually, it is 5 minutes walk). I say, we can go to Manish market instead that is just at the end of the street. He thinks Crawford market is manish market and insists it is closed. No reasoning! Finally, we decide on that taxi and pay Rs 40. After a few more distractions and lot of time and money spent on icecream etc, we reach HP just to know that it has been closed. There, he just walks across 5 lanes of traffic instead of using the underground crossing. I rush behind him to make sure he is not dead (and got almost run over by a bus in that time). Not only that, when we are walking, he suddenly disappears. I panic, and then find him gawking wherever there is a crowd (norm in Mumbai). He is one of those tourists who think just because he knows the language, he can survive anywhere.

He now wants to go back to Andheri. In Mumbai Central, I hear a lady scream just a train pulls out of station. She actually fell down from Virar Fast! Poor lady, hope nothing happens to her. On the train back, the guy sees Vile Parle station and says he wants to go to Alfa, 'the best shop in Mumbai'. Now amused rather than irritated, I go with him to 'the best shop in Mumbai', as he says. We take an auto to Alfa. He shows me where the shop is and instead of going there, sees a Dollar Shop down the street and runs inside. He spends close to an hour looking at all the things and decides to buy a set of coffee mugs, a cooking set (he has no kitchen), and other assorted stuff. When I didn't want to buy all those, he tells I am 'conservative about my money!'

Well, it is his money and he can spend it as he wants to. I couldn't take it anymore and leave him still shopping. He must've blown a pretty penny on that shop itself. I am afraid to ask what else he has bought there. I don't want to stop him either, for he is the guy that keeps the economy running nowadays :D Just another reason why I don't want to share an apartment with him. He will buy all kinds of junk and expect me to pay half of it. Whew!

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