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Kindness of a stranger

It was Christmas of 2019.

We were in Mumbai to show my son (3 yrs old) all the Christmas celebrations.

Christmas in Mumbai is an affair not to miss.

With all the Churches to visit and entire Bandra decorated in Christmas lightings, it is a treat to one's eyes.

Mumbai was buzzing in merriment.

Even though we had been to Mumbai many times before, we were equally excited to explore the city as our curious kid.

We had curated the entire trip keeping in mind the Christmas celebrations.

We took adequate rest before starting our day. Post lunch we headed towards Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay in the heart of South Mumbai near Gateway of India.

CSMVS is probably the first Museum in the world located in a heritage building, in a heritage precinct to achieve such a distinction. The museum houses approximately 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history as well as objects from foreign lands.

We had planned this visit to the museum because there was an installation of a giant Book Worm at the Children's Museum premises.

The Book Worm (House of Book pavilion) is an experimental public art installation. The 120 feet long and 40 feet wide Book Pavilion was installed at the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in collaboration with their newly opened Children’s Museum. Priyasri Art Gallery is supporting this endeavour with the aim to foster a fondness for reading in the youth and encourage curated reading content for children, promoting the tactile experience of reading books in this day and age of hand-held devices and digital content.

We were on our way to another exciting adventure after spending the entire afternoon in the spectacular museum.

An open deck bus ride.

We went for the Nilambari Open Deck Bus tour and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The bus tour starts from the Gateway of India; it showcases major South Mumbai tourist attractions such as Mantralaya, the Queen’s Necklace, Vidhan Bhavan, Asiatic Library, Hutatma Chowk, CST station and so on, without any stops. The tour guide provided an interesting and informative commentary about each place. It is best to buy an Upper Deck ticket to get an unrestricted view of all the attractions, in the bus route.This tour is highly recommended for everyone to get a glimpse of famous landmarks in South Mumbai, at night.This bus was used to parade the Indian cricket team when they won the World Cup in 2011, at the Wankhede stadium.

Soon it was dinner time. We had dinner at our favourite restaurant and headed towards Bandra West from Nariman point. We always make it a point to visit Carter Road Promenade whenever we travel to Mumbai.

We just love the vibe of that place.

There is Arabian Sea at one side of the road & other side is bustling with locals of all ages.

Locals jamming at favourite songs, taking dog for a walk, couples discussing their future

And so much more.

After spending some time enjoying the cool sea breeze at the beach we decided to get back to our hotel as it was almost midnight. But it felt like the city has just come to life.

My son was still awake and I don’t blame him. All the excitement of watching the cats chasing rats, counting the airplane taking off every minute kept him awake.

And all the walking alongside the Promenade also made him hungry.

I always carry snack with me to satisfy his hunger pangs. But he refused to eat anything I had to offer. Toddlers are a bit tricky to handle at times.

On the other side of the Carter Road Promenade is a whole array of small eateries selling everything from waffles to idli. You name it and they have it. We decided to go to a small paratha shop. It was packed with customers and everyone was busy eating the sumptuous parathas.

But as soon as we got there a policeman came ordering the owner to shut his place down as it was past midnight.

The owner obliged. Switched off all the lights and stopped taking orders.

My son was now crying because he wanted to eat paratha. My husband requested the Paratha shop owner to make just one paratha for our son. The owner hesitated in the beginning but agreed later.

When I was feeding my son the hot paratha, my husband tried paying for the order. But the owner declined accepting any money. He refused to accept the payment.

The owner didn’t look older than 18, working hard to make ends meet in a city like Mumbai but still refused to accept the money.

He said “more than the money, feeding your hungry child is more important to me.”

I am forever grateful for the experience the Paratha stall owner gifted me with his generosity that day. Of course our day was filed with memories that we would cherish for a long time but the generosity of that shop owner won my heart.

Seen in the picture is "My Bookworm sitting on Bookworm."

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