No other city welcomed me like this. The city let me be a ‘madrasi’ in a salwar kameez, with rubber chappals and talk the language am comfortable talking – tamil and english.
A couple of days in and Bombay had cleared the entrance test in my mind. Public transport- check, roads – check, public services and utilities – check, helpful people – check, affordable tasty food – check.
I am a sucker for antiques, clothes and jewelry dont excite me as much. After a three hour walk in Chor Bazaar i was fully charged to consume more of Bombay. I took a taxi to Chaupati beach. For me, Bombay is all about marine drive and the queens necklace.
The beach begins with grainy sand well settled on a short patch of shore where the water is shallow, to the right of which is a thick green patch which is the governor’s bungalow. The stretch of sand ends with a boat club which is restricted. After that waters are obstructed by huge boulders creating a reasonable embankment, with a neatly cobblestoned pathway. This path curves into a bay the other end of which is Nariman point with a skyline of assymetrically aligned tall buildings. The road that runs along with bay is called the Marine drive.
I walked alongshore. The air was humid with patches of chill breeze that kept blowing at constantly shorter intervals compelling me to shorten my steps and slow down my pace. The water by and large, shy.
As I approach the embankments the colour of the water gets thicker, ripples shorter and more rhythmic. Along the way I am accompanied by sweaty fitness enthusiasts who keep to themselves; groups of giggling girls chitchatting about trivialities of their day; regular middle-aged men and women congregating and enjoying each others company; well-dressed youngsters smoking, enjoying a drink and snacking on packeted munchies; pet lovers walking their animals soaking in the fresh sea breeze; vendors singing and selling masala chai and potable water bottles kept cool in ice-buckets for those who were dry with thirst in mid-summer heat.
The sun started to lower itself only after 7pm. The shiney ultramarine-bluish water and the pale prussian bluish sky started to darken together – their romantic confluence was beautiful.
For a moment I couldnt seperate myself from that unison. I felt like the sky and the sea were just as heavy as my heart felt. Is that why spiritual realisation stems from an natural expanse causing the loss of the feel of all the five senses?
Whilst this thought lingered in my feeble mind the darkness was gradually illuminated by tiny dots of lights randomly glowing from inside tall buildings that spanned the skyline of Marine drive along with the steertlights getting illuminated from the two ends in a rythemic manner.
The operatic performance of the sea, was like a zillion small saphire stones crashing into each other with slow sound of waves and the music reaching its cresendo when finally her illuminating diamond necklace draped her petite nape. Ah! What a treat it was!
Bombay! You stole my heart and soul! Suddenly, the Nariman point pani puri was not as important anymore. I headed back home, with a unforgetable picture perfect memory etched in my pea sized brain. Thankyou Mumbai!