Sobo (South Mumbai) is famous not just for the sea wave and wind breeze, stroking your hair, as you are surrounded by the Arabian Sea and plush five star hotels. A resident of Marine Drive for two years, I made life time memories, taking long walks, to and fro, Chedda Sadan and Nariman Point, sitting on the parapet among hordes of South Mumbaikars. A place that I fell absolutely in love with. As I hark back, I couldn’t believe how lucky I’ve been to get a room in the super expensive part of SoBo for grabs, doesn’t matter if it’s a hostel room on C-Road.
The hostel’s window gives a view to Marine Drive as one would feel the breeze wading through the room. One could see people thronging on Marine Drive, doing the morning and afternoon jog and couples cooing. It’s pure bliss, sitting at Mumbai’s most loved spot. Marine Drive is home to a peek into celebrities making a blink-and-miss appearance to the great delight of Mumbaikars. The sleepless nights spent in the room made me wait for the hostel door to open at 6 a.m as I would rush out for long walks. Rushing to the stalls for a cutting chai, smoke and buying the morning newspapers, spread on the pavement as stacks of them are thrown from the truck. Walking to Nariman Point for my favorite Sheera, I hop straight at Marine Drive, sitting on parapet. As the morning wind blows mercilessly, I tried to save my newspaper from falling apart and torn. See! I love reading my newspaper in order and not laying scattered from one end to another.
Bang on! After trying to save the newspaper from the wind and breeze, I fold them since I am tired fighting the wind. I sit still and saw Black Cat commando in a jeep, armed with guns. Baap re Baap! Itni Subha! I’m wondering whether Mumbai are chasing some thieves or terrorists. Saw a short athletic guy, in short and black Banyan, sweating profusely as if he is taking part in the olympic, taking big leaps as he sprints his way to victory. I must have seen the guy, somewhere, may be on TV or newspaper. Silly me! Kem-cho, I wanted to yell! The man has already disappeared, trailed by his Black Cats. It’s our own Gujju Bhai, Anil Ambani. Saw Anil-Bhaiyya a couple of times sprinting his way to heaven. They tell me, Anil-Ji favorite track to jog is Marine Drive.
Double-decker BEST Buses and Mumbai is an ongoing romance. What a feeling joy to spot the red bus as you sit on Marine Drive, as passengers glance at the Arabian Sea. It was past five in the evening as I get set for the evening walk following a gruesome lecture at Kalina Campus in Santacruz, struggling my way in the jam-packed local and finally nestled-cum-sleeping in the room. The cutting chai ritual and smoke at the tapdi, Marine Drive is the ultimate destination.
Now, the crowd cheering and waving to the BEST Bus..double-decker wala. Has Mumbai gone mad?! I turn around and saw an open double decker bus, corrugated roof removed and may be flying somewhere like a sauce pan. The crowd must be cheering UFOs! Not really! Saw Bobby Deol and Priyanka Chopra dancing their way to heavenly bliss. See! I was a huge fan of Piggy Chop at that time..she waved back to the crowd, smiling coyly and hiding her face, as the phone wale camera tried to capture her photogenic face. Bobby looks dashing in a shirt tucked in his blue denim. I grew envious, secretly wishing I was him as the crowd would delight at the handsome me and clicking. I was bowled by PC and absolutely love the way she carried herself. No arrogance and comfy with the crowd. I cursed my luck coz the Nokia camera phone was stolen.
I message Aparna, ‘Guess, whom I say? Pat came her reply, “Mumbai people sitting at Marine Drive are so lucky..’ Indeed, we are lucky to stay at Marine Drive and spotting stars. I become crazy when I see stars in public view. I am already dreaming that I am a film star and fans rushing to click me and asking for autograph. Truly, Mumbai Musing.