Bombay : being a tourist in my home city

A lot of people ask me why I’d want to move back to Europe and my answer is very clear: for the museums, art, and the beer. I moved back to Bombay a year ago and have barely hit the social scene so far. My sister tried to get me to go out before she moved to London, but something just didn’t click until last weekend. I decided to do something different and it was a pretty cool experience! I went around Bombay like I did back in Europe – yes, like a cheesy, excited tourist 🙂

I didn’t wake up on time and was super hungry by the time I got ready to step out. The original plan was to set out early and watch the sun rise over the sea. Well, I headed straight to breakfast. Since this was a local transport only outing, I took the bus –

Nothing screams Bombay like breakfast at a good old Irani café. Since Yazdani is closed on Sundays, I decided to head over to Kyani & Co. which in the street next to Furtados, opposite Metro cinema.

A vegetarian has no business in a Parsi / Irani restaurant but I decided to try my luck. I got offered vegetarian dhansak but I decided to opt for a veg cutlet, irani chai, and the good old bun-maska. Oh, they also have a bakery in case you want to take some goodies home 🙂

Next up, I took a cab ride to the Jehangir Art Gallery opposite Regal Cinema. The original plan was to go to the Prince of Wales Museum (now known as CSM Vastu Sangrahalaya) next door. I didn’t have enough time, but I did check out the photo exhibition at the gallery.

Last week, I ran the BSE Bull Run and crossed the Asiatic Library (the Townhall) on the way. I remembered going up there when I was in school and decided that I needed a picture. Also, one of my favorite scenes from Jaane Tu.. involves Imran Khan riding a horse on this road ♥

Bookstores became more commercial and less about the books when Crossword opened up in India. I always thought that the staff had no idea what they were selling. Though I don’t like the movie You’ve Got Mail, I agree with Meg Ryan that discount stores are killing the idea of raising good readers. Well, Wayword & Wise is my Indian Shakespeare & Co. Stop by and talk to the owner – he really knows his books!

I spent way too much time at Wayword & Wise to make it to the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla. I did go there but changed my mind when I saw that it was a really long walk to the entrance and area didn’t look too safe / good. I decided to come back another day and headed straight to Bandra, coz well I was starving!

My first solo trip to Lille in December 2014 needed an anniversary celebration and Doollaly was the perfect tribute. Farmhouse Ale made the Flanders way was sheer heaven and the fries were typisch (as we Germans call it) Belgian! Ooh-la-la ♣ ♣ ♣

I found out about street art in Bombay about 6 months ago. I wanted to do a photo shoot with my sister but we never got around to it. Turns out, Chapel Road is a 5 minute walk from Doollaly and definitely worth taking a detour for 🙂

Tired after a long day, I headed home after this for a regional movie and some well deserved sleep.


I am going to do this again because it was such great fun. I will come up with a better, organized plan and actually step inside a museum! 🙂 🙂

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Paris : English bookstores

I love to read and I end up collecting books in every city / town I live in. So when I moved to Paris, my biggest challenge was finding bookstores that sold books in a foreign language – English!

Shakespeare & Company
No list can start without this dream of a store. The original store established by Sylvia Beach hosted Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald among many others. With makeshift sleeping quarters on the top, this store has housed as many as 40,000 struggling writers. This is every reader and aspiring writer’s home away from home.
The store is located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, near Notre Dame, over the Seine. The closest metro / RER stations are St. Michel (Line 4), St. Michel Notre-Dame (RER B and RER C).
Given the tiny space inside crammed with books old and new, you might have to wait outside for a bit. They allow only a few people at a time to enter. Photography inside the store is prohibited. On my first visit, someone on their staff was at the piano upstairs. It was so beautiful that I had to sit down and cry for a bit. You’ll find everything from Austen to HONY here. They also organise poetry readings and book clubs on Sunday evenings. You can attend one after the weekly organ concert at Notre Dame (held on Sunday afternoons around 4).

WHSmith
This is usually my airport stop (Bombay-Hyderabad-Bangalore). But a good old dependable store like this one comes handy in a non-English speaking country. Located right outside Concorde (Metro Lines 1,8, and 12), this store to the left of Jardin des Tuileries, if you are facing towards The Louvre. It’s quite hard to miss. If you’re looking for Lonely Planet travel guides in English, this is where you’ll find them. If you’re sneaking in here in your lunch break, fear not for they have you sorted. On the ground floor, there is a mini café next to the magazine section.

Gilbert Joseph
This is a chain of stores but there’s a huge one just behind the Notre Dame. They sell French and English books along with art supplies, stationery, and postcards. The closest metro / RER stations are St. Michel (Line 4), St. Michel Notre-Dame (RER B and RER C).

There are certainly more bookstores that sell English books but the above three are your best bet if you’re looking for well known titles. There are a lot of booksellers outside the Notre Dame, but I doubt you’ll find anything in English here. Don’t let my experience stop you from checking out these second hand book stalls though.