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17th November 2006
“All the tourists spots in Bombay should be rated like movies, that would give people, specially those from out of town, where to go and whaich place to avoid. If you are with kids, you are better off avoiding Bandra Bandstand and visiting that Tarapore aquarium”

When I realised that I will be spending some time alone on Bombay while Mira and Manu are visiting Mira's parents, I decided to do a few things I usually don't get time for. Things like going to movies and exploring the city as a photographer.

For the past 2 weeks I have been planning to go out but have not been able to do so because I seem to have a tendency to fall sick on the weekends. Nothing serious but just enough sick to not able to gather the courage to brave the crowds of trains.

Couples at Bandra bandstand

Last Sunday also I was didn't go anywhere but in the evening I started feeling restless and decided to go to Bandra. I first went to Bandra-Kurla complex hoping to see some exhibition but there wasn't any going on so went to Reclamation only to find that I am not allowed there due to some film shoot. The only place then left was the Bandstand and that is where I went.

I parked the motorcycle outside the Taj Lands end hotel and went to the ruins of old fort that was made by the Portuguese. I took out my camera and started taking pictures of the under construction Bandra-Worli sea link. Once I was through, I saw around myself. The place was really crowded. Anywhere you see, you could see couples- couple laughing, couples whispering sweet nothings in each other's ears, couples worried due to their parents, couples kissing and stopping short of things that could get them arrested. The damn place looked like a scene from a Discovery channel documentary featuring the islands where the birds gather to mate. Just like initially you see a completely empty beach and hills and then it is covered with a sheet of birds planning to start a family. Only in this case, it was people and not birds.

I tried to look normal which was not very easy especially for someone who is alone and has a camera. I was fearing that someone may attack me thinking I am a lone pervert taking pictures of couple or maybe someone who is going to blackmail them with pictures in compromising positions and believe me, finding "compromising positions" was much simpler on the bandstand than it would have been for the Discovery photographers shooting the documentary of mating birds.

While walking there I was reminded of my sister-in-law and nephew's visit earlier this year and we took them to Bandra reclamation. It was an uncomfortable situation for Mira and me as there too couples were everywhere. I also am reminded of an entry on the blog of Rohan Kohli where he explained the rating system for the movies I feel that all the places in Bombay should also be rated like that, it could be quite useful if you are planning to take out your kids or maybe entertaining guests from out of town.
“Honey, should we go to Bandra bandstand in the evening with mom and dad.”
“Come one. That place is rated PG13, it would be embarrassing going there with Mom and Dad, may be we should take them to the mall, that one is rated G.”