The city that never sleeps: right from hogging on delicious Vada Paav to Paav Bhaji or going for a drive to Colaba to chilling out at Marine Drive, you will always find a company on the roads of Mumbai even at the wee hours. Before I start giving you an account of how the city treated me, I would like to thank one of my coolest friends whom I met while on a trip to Rishikesh and who proved to be a very courteous host to me.
And here I begin:
1. Mumbai Locals: The lifeline of the Mumbai-Nagri. Yes, it does look a bit scary at first but I have been to Mumbai quite a few times before and I have never ever hesitated to hop onto the locals. You eventually get used to the crowd which pushes you into the train just as it pushes you out of it as soon as the train arrives at your station. ‘While traveling in the local, I observe the unknown faces and admire the spirit of the locals who, in spite of the rush and the madness have a serene expression on their face’
2. Gateway of India-It is believed that in the bygone times, The Gateway of India was the first structure that visitors arriving in Mumbai by boat would see. I cannot help but admire this place endlessly. The thousands of sparrows fluttering in the sky is such a comforting view. Whenever I happen to be in Mumbai I make sure to visit this place for the majestic view that it offers.
The Taj hotel standing proudly behind this landmark is an absolute eye-catcher. While shooting through the streets of Mumbai, it is inadvertent that the Taj would come into the picture. It is a landmark in more ways than one.
3. CST Terminus –This stunning structure has taken a good 10 years to complete. Standing in this station for a while makes me think that this city is tagged with the phrase ‘Time is Money’ for all the right reasons. It’s the spirit of Mumbai that no matter what bad omen strikes upon this lively city, people would wake up the next day and go on to chase their passion and achieve their dreams. Not even director Danny Boyle could resist the lure of CST’s grand edifice and so he filmed parts of the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire on the platforms of this historic station.
4. Marine Drive– People from all walks of life who sit on this vast stretch of the earth holds a story to tell or a feeling to confess. The fast pace of the cars along the huge stretch of marine drive defines the magic of Mumbai; where one side of stretch has come to freeze and the other side is racing ahead to be somewhere on time.
5. Juhu Beach– Home to many celebrities, Juhu Beach is one of the poshest suburbs of Mumbai just as it is the most sought-after beach for the shooting of films in India.
Juhu is famous for the characteristic Mumbai street food, notably bhelpuri, panipuri, chaats, and of course pav bhaji. The food stands are relatively hygienic. Italian cuisine is also very popular in this area with many restaurants like Little Italy, Penne, Don Giovanni, MangiFerra being some of the best.
6. Dhobi Ghat– The must visit place for the documentary shoot that I had thought of! We all have frequently come across Dhobi Ghat in Bollywood movies. I went to Mahalaxmi west suburban station. From here, it’s nearly a 5 minutes’ walk to this Ghat. I was escorted by the head of Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat community who asked for my student ID. I went on to explore the place with his permission and gained insight on the daily chores of this place.
7. Bandraworli sea link– Popularly known as Bandraworli Sea link, it is the first sea bridge of India. This place bothered me so much that I cannot help but remember every detail about my visit to this place. I went there thrice but neither of those times did I get the right lighting at any time of the day. So, I had to drop the idea of time-lapse here.
One of the coolest facts about Mumbai’s much-loved bridge is that its weight is equal to the weight of 56,000 African Elephants put together.
8. Dabbawala – Some called it the most ingenious food delivery system in the world. The Forbes magazine honored the Dabbawalas (lunchbox delivery men) with a Six Sigma performance rating or a 99.99999 percent of precision which means they make one error in 16 million deliveries! This system has revolutionized and made so many notable achievements that they are getting listed in the case studies of Harvard. They also featured at a TEDx conference in 2011.
9. Dharavi Slum– Amongst all the extremities of a poverty-stricken environment that exist in Dharavi, the dirt, the waste, the utter hardship, what was evident to them was what the residents lacked in material and facilities, they made up with heart. This was the thought which provoked me to visit this city. But the part that made the greatest impact on me was what these people shared: a real, genuine, unshakable and undeniable sense of community.
It was time for me to leave the city and it is now that the Mumbai Auto comes into the picture to test my patience and sanity. Let me put this clearly for you: the Mumbai Auto will make sure you lose your head at least once while you are in this city. They have mastered the art of nodding no irrespective of the number of time you plead them. So after I had been greeted with unshakable NO’s by four Autos, I finally boarded a bus from Malad West as I had to go to Vikhroli East. After being put through a rigorous test of my tolerance, I finally reached the bus stand as the rucksack on my back almost greedily drained the life out of me. At the boarding point, I befriended a pretty nice lad. My friend hopped onto the bus with me as I ended my Bombay trip on a high note.