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Your Bombay, My Mumbai our Bombaiya!!


Marine Drive
Marine Drive

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.

All Images are copy righted@Vishal Bheeroo
All Images are copyrighted@Vishal Bheeroo

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.

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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.

Note:

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.

Love

V

 

 

Posted in uncategorized

Mumbai local- Rail ki Katha


I plodded my way at Dadar station, waiting with bated breath for the local to Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus. The train would be running late, crazy rumors are doing the rounds. I kicked a storm as I tried to put a patient face and attempt to control my hyper self. No, that cannot be. Certainly, not in Mumbai where every five minutes, a local chugs its way. I am feeling drowsy. The craziest thing I can do is sleep on the bench, among swathe of human masses, ever ready to pounce their fist inside the local train.

Image downloaded at Google India.

I heave a sign of relief. Suddenly, a train is slowly approaching the station and shakes me out of my slumber. Get set! Ready! Sprint! Dash inside! The inner self tells. I turn and furtively look around. The station suddenly seems like Wankhede Stadium in Churchgate vying for their slow local, their hero, Sachin. Blame it on the rain that is holding the city at hostage. It’s scary! Today, I lack mental and physical strength to jostle with the infuriated crowd to storm my way inside the jam-packed local. Oh! Lord! Will I ever get inside this crazy train? Incredible Mumbai, you are such a bundle of contradictions, at times!

I have no time to think, gotta be on my toes and ready to fight my way toward the goal post. As the train halts, I focus my eyes on the door, ‘The finish line is that way’. The spirit of Usain Bolt is entering my body and I thrust the back pack, pushes the body and legs as if I am batting at the stadium, my body squeezed like Orange, pushing few homo-sapiens, almost suffering a blow on the back as someone’s elbow reaches my face. I made it in the nick of time,  holding my hand tightly to the spec that could have easily landed on the railway track, to be consumed by the fast local zooming its way in full speed.

Like the ping pong ball, I land on the berth facing the window and feel like patting myself, ‘well done, Boy.’  What a fight it’s been and totally worth the effort of battling my way inside the ‘life-line’ of Mumbai. I barely had time to revel in my victory when I felt surrounded by a mass of menacing looks. It got me wondering, ‘Are they planning to kill me or throw me off my prized possession, ‘window berth?’ Better sense prevailed! After all, it’s just the crowd, straggling their way and striving for a tiny space to stand. Finally, the train moves its fat ass towards CST.

I close my eyes and pretend to sleep, the horns blaring loud in my ear lobs like the Shehnai announcing the arrival of the newly wedded couple. Local trains in Mumbai redefine the struggle, the rush and glamor in a new fashion that we face every single day.

Mumbai Local…Mumbai local..Mumbai local….

V

Posted in poems

Mumbai Musing (5): Dadar, Double Decker bus and blind date


Yay!!!! SYBA exams was over. I was thumping my chest and jumping with joy. What’s life without dollops of excitement? Next stop is quite naturally Mumbai city, my dream land and gonna chill for few days in Maximum City. The best thing bout’ visiting Mumbai is no plans, no place to stay and just the thrill of adventure made my heart jump agog with excitement. I took the bus at 7 p.m at Jungli Maharaj Road and reached Maximum City at around 11.30.

It was plain humid. I was sweating heavily as I got down at Andheri, the nearest stop, to Chitrapatti Shivaji Terminus (CST) International Airport. I lit a cigarette and hailed a cab towards the airport since I gotta meet someone. I checked the arrival and there was still time. I grilled few cigarettes and sipping tea. It was almost 1 a.m and Mumbai is still alive with passenger swarming their way out of the airport. I met the person and we took the car to the local airport as he was supposed to fly to Assam. I collected my stuffs from him and hanged around at the airport. Hanging around the modest airport, I gulped tea after tea since the night was far from over for me.

Finally, at 5 a.m, I took a rick to Santacruz station and boarded the 6 a.m local to Churchgate. It was early morning and I am feeling sleepy. My only priority is to find a place to sleep. I checked few hotels at Colaba as I held a huge back on my back but the places were not within budget. My shoulder was hurting profusely and walked in the scorching sun. Finally, I checked in a cyber cafe at Colaba and time to check the net at 8 a.m. I asked the guy that I am looking for a place to stay and he asked the attended to take me to a hotel near the causeway. We climbed the stairs and am pinning my hope for respite. The hotel rate came as a shocker and I couldn’t get luckier than that. 100 bucks per day and we are in 2005. Now, who get a cheap room in such a posh locality in SoBo.

Image courtesy:@Dadar/Google India
Image courtesy:@Dadar/Google India

It’s a dingy room with space enough to sleep and put the luggage, but, cute room. I slept during the day and woke up in the afternoon. I saw several miss calls from Adi who joined me, along with his, then, girl friend. We met at Leopold over beer and hanged out there till 10 p.m. We met the next day at Nariman Point and walked all the way towards Fort University. It was the first time I traveled by the double decker bus and Adi urged me to sit in the front to get a magnificent view of the busy and maddening road in the city. It was, indeed, a beautiful and amazing sight. After traveling for more than an hour, we got down at Dadar where he was supposed to introduce me to one of his best pals, A for a kinda blind date. We chatted and spoke on the phone for almost three months, getting to know each other. We met at a small hotel and Adi was teasing me, speak, speak to her. Finally, Adi and girl friend left us alone and we walked to Barista at Dadar where you starting chatting with each other, attempting to break the ice. Finally, we parted saying bye to each other, promising to meet next time.

best bus

It’s another story that we never met. But, it’s one kinda experience in amchi mumbai, double decker bus, blind date, hanging with your best friend and local trains that makes cherished memories in the city.

Mumbai is a city that does things to you! Once you get there, you become so addicted since it’s a city that has  a beautiful and vibrant soul. You can take a break but can never leave the city forever. Mumbai is a muse for millions and even if you stay faraway from the city, it haunts you and drags you along.

Love you, Mumbai

V