A recent trip to Bombay… Yes, for me it will always be Bombay and not Mumbai… Took me back to my college days and old haunts. Though we were solely there to participate in the ‘Mumbai Marathon’ I have to say that we did well and managed to squeeze in a lot by meeting friends and family and visiting old jaunts.

We really did have a whale of a time in Bombay with moments of sheer nostalgia overpowering my emotions, reminiscing the good old days and bringing back memories of college and friends. Landing in Bombay, I was hit by the all too familiar smell and sights. Though many are put off by the intermingling aromas of the sea and the fish – I love it!

Bombay is definitely the city of dreams with the most beautiful heart. Though there are innumerable places that are must-visits, Colaba Causeway has a charm that one can rarely resist. If you are visiting Bombay, a visit to the Causeway is an absolute must.

Colaba Causeway, officially called Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, is the main link that connects Colaba to Old Woman's Island. Situated in close proximity to the famous Cuff Parade and Fort Area, this commercial street is regarded as Mumbai's cultural hub. Having an eventful history, this street reminds of the city's colonial connections. It is dotted with landmarks like the Gateway of India, Sassoon Dock, Afghan Church and the Taj Mahal Hotel, which make it a frequented spot in Mumbai. In present times, this place earns recognition as a shopping paradise in the bustling metropolis.

The history of Colaba Causeway dates back to the period between 1835 and 1838, when its construction took place under the supervision of Sir Robert Grant of the British East India Company. It was constructed to avoid fatal accidents that took place due to overcrowding of boats, sailing between Colaba and Old Woman's Island. In the years that followed, the path was widened and improved, which contributed to its present-day fame as a landmark and shopping centre.

Although the street is lined with posh shopping destinations, what serve as its star attractions are the small shops and shacks. These shops sell a variety of things, ranging from cheap modern electronics to antique gramophones and telescopes. Latest trends can be spotted here in the form of fashionable apparel, accessories, imitation of branded bags, perfumes, cosmetics and footwear. Therefore, shopping is the first reason why the Causeway is famous, the next being food!

From cheap, street clothes to fashionable boutiques, this lane, which houses old buildings from the British Raj, has it all. While you can stroll through the footpaths and look for clothes, shoes, purses, and even jewellery in the latest designs, you can also step into one of the boutiques and look at exquisite furnishings, clothes, etc. The street vendors sell the latest fashion at throwaway prices, which can be bargained for to a great extent. It is always good to spend some time here for you never know what a steal you’ll find. Rare artefacts like old hookahs and magnetic compasses can also be purchased here at attractive bargains.

For old times’ sake we got off at Regal and walked down Colaba Causeway. The lanes and buildings are all the same where time seems to have stood still though a few new ones have sprouted up and some of the old ones are under renovation. Leopold… Mondegar… Olympias... are all old stomping grounds of course.

When we were broke, I remember we went to Martins to eat delicious Goan food at extremely cheap prices or Kailash Parbat. You really are spoiled for choices here. Bademiya, Baghdadi and Delhi Darbar are ideal if you want to dig in straight away. A new addition this time was a visit to Theobroma where we indulged in one of the tastiest burgers in a long time. And if you have a sweet tooth, this is the place to hang out.

We couldn’t leave without buying wafers and crunchy-munchies at Camys and then did the next best thing… jump into a BEST bus back to RC Church. You can only do this in Bombay – be part of a queue and hop on sans pushing, pinching and tugging! INHS Asvini and the Gun House always evoke vivid memories. Traffic is a killer but I guess that's the scene in every city that you travel to these days. We met as many friends and family who we could in that short time... Some we couldn't of course.

The icing on the cake… A meal at Mahesh Lunch Home… Satiating our bellies with fish, crabs and prawns while guzzling down beer!

There wasn’t time to indulge in Parsi food or in sizzlers and steaks and other food delights… Some things must be left for another trip! But we managed the classic ‘vada-pav’ by a hair’s breadth! Bombay has a character to it — a character that moulds with yours and accepts you as you are and makes you return rich with experience and history.