Chak De Andrea!

Follow the exciting and not so exciting adventures of Andrea in Mumbai...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mumbai is… star struck.

So I know it’s been quite long since my last blog update, however I have more than enough excuses! I was sick for awhile with a fever/cold in fact I still have a bit of a cough. Nothing to worry about, it’s just the rainy weather in action!

So ‘Andrea’s typical day’ part 2 will have to wait, as there were two special events this week!

The first was an outing with some of the kids from the centres which was really fantastic. Nita, one of our Directors, has managed to initiate a working relationship with some of the tv channels here, so Star TV invited us to come along to an event held for “Star Voice of India”, a singing competition. It was a mall appearance by the four remaining contestants, Sumitra, Abhilasha, Abhas and Irfan. Honestly I had no idea what I was turning up to beforehand, I thought it might be the actual shooting of the show, but I took a train to Mulund, (changing lines once at Dadar!), and was there quite early since I hadn’t had any idea how long it would take to arrive.

Since I was wearing my best salwar kameez I was absolutely paranoid about getting mud on it. So I took rickshaws absolutely everywhere rather than walking! So I arrived early, let the contact guy know I was there and took a walk around the mall to kill some time until the kids arrived, having a coffee and managing to buy two kurtis in the mean time (Not a very hard task…).

So finally 25 of our kids arrived, all dressed in their best clothes along with two teachers. They took us to a special cordoned off section right in front of the stage where we sat down and waited.

The performances were actually quite good, they all sang at least four songs from what I remembered. Sumitra was the crowd favourite since she’s a Maharastrian and from Mumbai, but I quite liked Irfan in terms of voice and attitude. The wonderful thing was that they got our kids involved, getting them up on stage to dance with them and mentioning them to the crowd. So it was wonderful for the kids who had a rocking time, and good for me, as I enjoyed the music, and met ‘sort of’ famous people.

And then afterwards the funniest thing happened.

The singers disappeared and I was waiting around to get our banner back when these people came up and asked me to sign an autograph, and I’m like… “Ahhh I’m not famous at all, you know.” And the guy replied, “That’s okay, if we couldn’t get their signatures then we should at least get somebody’s!” So I signed for him…. Well, it’s probably the only time in my life I’ll ever be asked for an autograph.

Then I took the train and an auto home (I would generally walk home from the station), and arrived back without a spot of mud on me! Mission successful!


Second exciting happening of the week, is that I finally went ‘out of station’, which is what going out of town is referred to here. My new room mate Anita was scheduled to move in on Saturday, so she called me Saturday morning to say she would arrive in the afternoon and then said “Immediately afterwards I’ll be going to Mahableshwar with some friends, do you want to come?”

And I of course said yes. After all I’ve been in India for a month and didn’t manage to leave Mumbai even once in that time, so how could I pass up the opportunity now?

And so I ended up going to Mahableshwar with Anita and five of her friends from work, as we all piled into two cars and set off. Unlike the rest of us in the house who are NGO workers, Anita works for a very fancy consultancy firm called Mackenzie, so I was in for a weekend with finance/business type people. All of them were very nice and we had a great time, but some of the work related conversations definitely went over my head.

So it took us almost as long to get out of Mumbai as the actual trip took, partially because neither of the people driving had any idea which road or exit we should be taking. However after buying a map and asking various taxi drivers we eventually found our way, while in the process losing the other car, and only caught up with them much further down the highway.

So in the end while we had left properly at about 4pm we only arrived in Mahableshwar a little before 1am, then we had to find a hotel. The drive was made more difficult by the fact that there was a heavy fog as soon as we reached the area.

So the next morning we all got up, had our breakfast, hired a guide and went off to see the sights of Mahableshwar. Mahableshwar is a hill station about 200 km from Mumbai. It has these beautiful green hills and fields, with waterfalls cascading down every so often and a lovely lake (go and see the photos that I posted on my Flickr page!).

So we went to several lookout points, went boating on the lake and visited a temple. We also had lunch where I had this frozen strawberry and fresh cream dessert, sooooo yummy. Mahableshwar is really famed for its strawberries so I felt that I couldn’t refuse to try some of them!

We arrived back in Mumbai late Sunday night. It might have been a short trip, but it was definitely nice to just get out of the city for awhile and enjoy some clean, fresh air and see somewhere that is actually beautifully, gloriously green.

So enjoy the photos that I’ve posted up and you’ll hear from me again soon!


At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Daniel said...

I've been asked to sign autographs before, it's really weird. I was in venezuela for world championships for skating, and the locals just went crazy. I gave this schoolgirl in the front row of the stands a peck on the cheek and the crowd looked like it was going to have an epileptic fit.


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