Mumbai can be very unsettling for someone who’s from Delhi. What makes it worse is going back home well, home and all its love and luxurious and friends and family and loud people and louder parties and bros and beer and brawls, you get the gist. After a nightmarish flight I landed back to Mumbai, where the monsoons had taken charge with their full fury. I could see the wings of my plane almost flapping down and I was scared to land back, land back to Mumbai life. Hey, which moron likes to get back to studying and work after a holiday back home, right? I knew I was back in Bombay when I was at the airport. The constant claustrophobia, the always-moving-but-never-getting-anywhere crowd, and the way the weather fucks up my hair, I knew there was no escaping Bombay. My heart was still in Delhi. I needed to connect to this city again. For almost 3 years now, I have treated it as my home. You cannot be disconnected to your home. I needed to visit the one place that made me feel this city, relish this city, love this city and live this city- The Ocean.
I can completely identify with the moods of the ocean, that certain untouched calm, the sudden violent outbursts, the unstoppable storming, the graceful ebb and fall of waves that emanates from it. Damn, I think I was a mermaid in my previous life, I feel that attached to the ocean. This is weird cause my mum would always keep me away from the ocean thinking I was scared of the water. But then, she eventually taught me swimming once she heard about global warming as a potential threat to end the world in Al Gore’s documentary. But I was more than comfortable during my first bonding with the ocean on a beach. I loved the way the waves touched my feet and the winds caressed my short wavy hair. Mumbai is surrounded by oceans (well, almost) and they sooth me. Some of the best memories of this city I have experienced by the ocean at Marine Drive.
The way that place makes me feel is otherworldly. Oh, you have to be there to experience it. Its definitely number one on my list of the 7 wonders of Mumbai, if there ever was such a claim. There is definitely some sort of a charm hiding under the depth of the sea or concealed between the rocks, that provides people with the serene feeling of just being there. You can sit there with a million people around you and yet it will feel like your sitting there alone as you talk to yourself. Unless of course you have the bad luck of a Marwari family of retired stockbrokers sitting beside you, but then again there is no place on earth that can give you peace with a Marwari family screaming “Jai Shri Krishna” near you. I’ll be honest, It doesn’t look like it does in the movies (most recently the climax of Wake Up Sid), but it feels like it does in the movies for sure. Because it’s exactly like God is sitting on the other side and talking.
I’ve celebrated the Mumbai monsoons there by getting soaked in the heavy rains. I’ve relished evenings by standing on the embankment and getting sprinkled on by high tides. I’ve jogged here at 7.30 in the morning with my ipod plugged in with my uncle cracking bad jokes that I wasn’t listening to. I’ve gone there at 4.00 PM in the evening when the sun is too hot to handle and stayed on till sunset while munching on popcorn, cold drinks and gossip. I’ve been there on Diwali night sitting and staring at fireworks for hours and trying to burst some myself. I’ve seen the sunset as the sky color change from array of oranges and purples to dull steel blue of the night, and that’s when the Queen’s necklace transforms itself instantly. Thousands of floodlights light up the beautiful night sky. And I’m reminded of all the reasons why I love this city.
Until of course beside me I notice a couple sharing their first kiss and I’m like “Get a room guys”.