It was way back when I first came to Mumbai. The memories and feelings are still vivid as if it was just a couple of days back, Konark Express Train No. 1020 Up, from Visakhapatnam chugged into one of the outlying platforms of the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus erstwhile known as Victoria Terminus. The outlying platform i think it was No 17 had the musty smell that long distance platforms generally are associated with. I still remember it was four thirty in the morning but CST was buzzing with activity and I looked wide eyed as to why on earth are there so many people up and about at this hour. Little was I to know that there is no hour when Mumbai sleeps in its entirety.
Coming out of the station i hailed a taxi, the ubiquitous Kaali Peeli with green florescent cabin lighting to take me to my destination in Colaba. The station that I had emerged from did not get too much of a thought or look but as the years rolled by my love for its architectural beauty and yeoman service has only grown and now I wait for those days when it is decked up in all finery and stands proud and regal amongst all others that have come up all around over the past century .
In the initial days of my time out here, i did feel out of place and after work just hated to sit in the room waiting for dinner time. Gradually I started venturing out and as it happens when the city is by the coast, the steps lead to the sea shore. Marine Drive (Queen’s Necklace) call it what you may but for me it has and will always remain the “Go To “place in the entire city.
Marine Drive, for me and for scores like me out there in this city has been that silent friend that was sorely needed on days when the going got tough, when the burden of everyday living just went over the head. It was her vibe and freshness that infused warmth and hope inside as one sat out there looking out into the ocean as waves one after the other came on and on .. Relentlessly with single minded determination. I am sure many would echo the same thought when I say that in moments of gloom or joy, time spent on marine drive makes one feel positive and enthusiastic towards life.
I wandered through the lanes and by-lanes , each lane displaying a different personality of its own , interspersed with humanity .
As months rolled by I became a part of the social fabric of this city and another important aspect of this city integrated me with her: Mumbai Local; Come rain or shine this journey is performed by lakhs everyday morning to evening. To the newcomer a journey in the local it is a daunting task but then its only the first step that is put forward with hesitancy. My trysts with this aspect have been memorable and most pleasant and standing near the open doorway of a hurtling Churchgate Fast does bring out the child in every adult.
After a few months went by I felt that it was time I bought my vehicle to this city. The Indomitable as I call him has been my able team mate on numerous road trips through this country so it was only apt that HE too experienced Mumbai. So with him came the trips on yet another iconic landmark of this country or should I say of India itself: Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link or as it is popularly called Sea Link. This narrow sliver of spectacular six lane tarmac swinging high above the Arabian Sea changed the skyline of Mumbai for ever. Now every visitor who comes visiting this city definitely undertakes a ride on it for remembrance.
As June arrived into the city, I witnessed Mumbai Monsoons; it was definitely unlike the bleak monsoons that I had seen in other places where the grey overcast skies accompanied with the steady drizzle sank the heart from within, where the onset of the dark evening made one feel uncertain of what lay ahead. Out here the bleaker the sky the colourful the streets and the roads. The colour on the streets seemed to offset the bleakness of the monsoon. The onset of the evening instead of dampening the spirit made it surge ahead even more as the warm lighting that lit up on various street intersections and corners bought hope in hearts of all those who were out there amongst the drizzle and deluge.
Days passed and converted into months and i joined the band known as Mumbaikar… the daily happenings of this city affected me as much as it did any other individual. Soon September arrived and so did the spectacle known as Ganapati. The arrival of the Elephant God in the city and the tales of his glory and benevolence sung by everyone left me mesmerised. As I walked from street to street late into the night paying my respects to HIM I was overwhelmed by the devotional fervour within. In no other city is the Ganesh Mahoutsav celebrated as it is done here.
The most famous of all, the Boon Giver himself…
The city has its own story in every street, monument and place of worship… be it the churches at Bandra or the streets of Matunga or be it Muhammed Ali road , there is a fervour that is shared by most of the denizens of this concrete jungle irrespective of individual faith and thought process.
An integral part of the city fabric though not frequented by me but used by the lakhs are BEST & MUMBAI RAIL. There have been innumerable stories that have been woven around these two, no other transportation system in the whole country is as woven integrally and been resurrected to almost being alive in its own way as are these two … they are as Iconic as any other within this metropolis …
Should I name the places seen by millions across this country depicted in the dreams of Bollywood; Nay …. I think the visuals themselves will do justice and speak while I pause for a while to have a “Cutting” , I think I have earned it ….
27 Replies to “A journey called Mumbai !!!!”
Wow. Simply stunning pictures!
thank you n glad 🙂 , do check out the other articles too , u might find a resonance out there
Great Article Sir!!! Truly Resonates with me….. Reminds me of the good old days….
glad u liked 🙂
All the people who love Mumbai like me, would definitely relate to this.. pics are just amazing
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and detailed article about Mumbai. I will surely add this place to my bucketlist.
Sumit, you captured the essence of Mumbai ! I have not lived in the city, but had the opportunity to experience all you have listed except the gloriously lit Victoria terminus. It is a sight to behold. Mumbai can be many things to many people, but I do love visiting Marine drive each time I am there. There is something there that calms your mind, just sitting there and staring away at the waves while munching street fares and getting a foot massage 😉 . Thanks for sharing !
m glad u could relate to the article
Mumbai is magical! I have been there couple of times and that too for brief duration. These pics bring in such wonderful essence of the magical city. I feel like living the moments.
glad u could relate to the article
How you described Mumba is so poetic and beautiful it literally makes me want to cry. It’s just lovely writing and very inspiring, makes me want to go to Mumbai just by reading this. I have never been to India and I don’t know exactly where to go but I think your article just gave me the answer.
glad u could relate
Mumbai looks like an awesome place to visit! I actually have a few friends that went there last year and loved it! Will definitely have go add it to my bucket list 😊
I truly love how you were able to express your experience in Mumbai, and I feel like I’m traveling with you. This is just wonderful! I heard about Mumbai and I have always been dreaming to traipse my feet here and enjoy all what it has to offer. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
Love your photos! My friend is actually heading to Mumbai in November for a work trip, I’ll definitely share this article/blog with her. Maybe – hopefully she have at least one day off to go look around Mumbai. Looks so interesting!
thx n glad
You described Mumbai in a magical way. Mumbai is dreams to many in the country. I personally have found it super busy but that’s its charm. I remember the hassles in Mumbai train, but it is injected with so much of life, moving life. Your post did a great justice to life in Mumbai. Thanks for the share. Hope to visit the city soon!
Interesting place and culture! I love the colors and the way you tell the story of Mumbai! Thanks for another idea!
Such a great detailed blog. I learned a lot about the place and the culture of Mumbai and amazing photos you have here. Thank you so much for sharing.
glad u related
Mumbai is no doubt one of the greatest cities of India. Although I haven’t got a chance to be here yet. But I already like the place from what I have been seeing and reading about it ever since my childhood. I would love to see a Ganesh Puja here and eat the vada pav from the street side stall when I make a plan to visit here.