A mini South India in the midst of cosmopolitan Mumbai - that is the best way to describe Matunga. Complete with quaint and ethnic 'kaapi houses' (coffee houses), silk sari centres and tiny shops which look like they've jumped out of a town in South India, which sell all the essentials that constitute a perfect South Indian existence - appalams, sambhar powder, murukkus, all the latest Tamil and Malayalam magazines and many more things.
Sounds like bliss for a homesick South Indian living in Mumbai. My mom is one such person. And very unfortunately, I was dragged along on one such Matunga expedition. It started with an authentic Udupi lunch at Rama Nayak Bhavan, an old hotel. I have not spent a single day of my life without the typical south Indian fare. Then why we went to a hotel to eat the same old boring stuff simply belies my imagination. After a pathetic lunch, there was a customary trip to the sari shop. It started with Nalli, a haven and heaven for south Indian women. My mother made the salesman pull down the entire shop before she chose the first sari she had seen when she entered the shop. As if this was not enough, we made another trip to Co-optex handlooms, where the same procedure was repeated. And all this while, poor me had to wait and wonder why women make sari shopping such a long and soporific ritual. At the end of all this, I was thoroughly irritated and eager to return home. But alas, my father decided to visit a former teacher of his, who gave us a forty minute monologue on clauses and phrases and how teachers can’t teach anymore. Sounds like nonsense, doesn’t it? I survived all this, only to be told that a visit to the coffee house was still pending. My mother downs four to five cups of coffee everyday. As if that was not enough….
At the end of all this, I made a solemn decision – I would never ever go to Matunga again if I can help it.