Mera Mumbai! Your Bombay! Our Mumbai. The city is an addiction, an emotion speaking limitless words in one voice echoing our belonging to the place that welcomed us with arms wide open like Shah Rukh Khan’s signature style embrace. It’s an obsession the moment you step your feet in the city that offers unadulterated love. It is the greatest devotion on earth, like the bells at Siddhivinayak Mandir and moments of solace at Haji Ali Dargah.
The deep connect that I have with the city, surrounded by the Arabian Sea, chime a bell with the language of the heart that knows no barrier. It only knows one language: love. Mumbai just grows on you and you never gets enough of it. It’s the celebration of life in zest, vigor and passion. The year was 2002 when Mumbai called to embrace me and it’s tough to survive in one of the world’s fastest cities. Dejected, I left! Destiny had other plans. Don’t they say, when love gonna happen, it will. One year later, I visited the city and fell in love.
The Deccan Queen train ambled slowly at Chembur where I sat by the window seat,gazing at few yellow-and-black cabs and buses on the highway. The scene is so vivid in my mind and my eyes focused on the city as the train sped past the road. I wouldn’t lose sight of the city’s vivid infrastructure. Every now and then, I would pack my bags to Mumbai and it was sense of what was coming for me. Every time, I visited Mumbai, I stayed more days that I initially planned to. The city is like magnet that just draws you into its belly and I looved watching the busy road from my cheap hotel at Colaba Causeway during the night. The honking of buses and cars, the Queen’s necklace shining bright and light flowing at different directions in our very own SoBo (South Mumbai). Mumbai gets very flirty and playful during the night. Sitting at Marine Drive in the evening and watching the crazy traffic, it makes the city comes to life. I love walking on the boulders, sipping cutting chai and walking till Nariman Point where I would climb as high as I could on the stones, sensing flowing water beneath and sitting atop watching the waves.
I would never ever regret my decision of moving to Mumbai for two and a half years in 2006 and it was one of the best decision where I lived and breathed the air in the city, making every single moment of life worthwhile. It made life time memories. Mumbai gave me an identity, sense of purpose and a connect where my heart truly belong to. Our life lines-local train-was a daily love story, struggling the tiny body inside and battling the crowd, listening the child singing Himesh Reshamiya song in a coarse voice breaking at every second in exchange for few coins, sipping cutting chai on the street and gorging Pani Puri at Bandra Bandstand, which lingers houses of celebrities. Running to catch the BEST Buses moving and walking in the scorching sun from Churchgate to Chowpatthy Beach. Yet! I would stay refreshed.
It’s been my favorite thing to do, watching the city from atop a building, vehicles moving at fleeting speed, people walking and it gives a peek what Mumbai stands for. It’s independence, freedom, breaking free, dreams, aspirations and our infrastructure-large streets and sky risers. It’s all about longing and craving for more at maximum speed. Mumbai can be a hard life but if we got the pace, nothing shall stop us. The city just pulls us in.
Today, I feel like showering love on the city and Mumbai is present in each tiny cell of my nerves. Even after leaving the city, I am longing for home coming and cannot imagine my life without Mumbai. It’s my identity. I experience the kindness of fellas on 9/11, the day I took the bus to pursue my dreams. How the people came together!! It’s the Spirit of Mumbai. Perhaps, Mumbai Calling! Hope this time when I come back to create new memories and weave new dreams, I will drive a small and cool TATA car. It’s been more than three years I met my muse and perhaps, some magical feeling must sparkle for us to unite.
I didn’t plan to do a post on Mumbai but after reading Archana post, it brought tears to the eyes and little I realize that I am missing the city. One thing led to the other, watching countless Mumbai videos and Lancelot post added to the urge to write on Mumbai. An ode to my Mumbai, Our Bombay, Amchi Mumbai cannot be separated from our lives. Once a Mumbaikar, always a Mumbaikar.