Mumbai- City of Dreams
August 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm
Delhi, the National Capital of Indiaand Mumbai the Financial. While Fashion & food are like two lifelines for Delhizens, its sensex, film stars and larger than life dreams which gave Bombay its identity. What to talk about those cities which are in news every day? What is that you already don’t know about them and we can tell you? The sole purpose of this two part series ‘ Tale of Two Cities’ is to look at the cities from a perspective of two individuals who found everything here from work, home, friends- in short a new beginning to life!
Mumbai – City of Dreams ( Part I)
For me, Mumbai is a city of dreams. So am I living my dreams, yes you can say that I am living in my dream city. And like me, millions of dream filled eyes come to Mumbai every year to make it big. And it is the place where dream do become true. The city has something for everyone. So many times we have heard Shahrukh Khan saying, “When I came to Mumbai, I didn’t even have a penny in my pocket.” And he is just one among the many many people who came, saw and conquered. The city is kind to those who believe in themselves.
When you hear a morning 6’oclock alarm ring, you just can’t ignore it and sleep back. A minute extra sleep means you will reach the bus stop late. A minute late and you would be welcome by huge queue waiting for 6:50 AM – 461 BEST bus. A minute late at railway station means you will miss your 6:58 AM Churchgate fast local. The effect will be you would have to wait for the next train/ bus and the whole process makes you delay by 20-40 mins at your work place. So the system makes you disciplined. You start valuing time. You prioritise and plan ahead. Number becomes part of your life.
When you are in the office, you forget all the hassle you managed to reach the office. At the work place, you meet a hundred people, bright, young with one thing in common – all outsiders i.e. non Mumbaites. And if you happen to come across a localite, you can’t resist exclaiming, “Oh, you are a localite. Cool! Where do you stay in Mumbai?!” So you end up meeting people from various parts of the country and share different cultures but similar dreams – to reach at the top of the world!
In the evening, when it is the time to wrap up from the office, you get charged up once again to face the crowd and fight for your square centimetre of space in the local train. And again if you miss your 7:37 PM local from Fort station to Borivali, you get late for the dinner atleast by 50 mins. But you can always munch on a Vada pav. Cheapest and best snacks of Mumbai. There are people who survive only eating Vada pav, so if it is just a snack for you, you are a lot better off!
By the time you are done with your dinner, it is 10:30PM. You talk to your parents over phone and then you realise it’s time to signoff for the day. The next day is 6hrs away from waking and you need to rest before you gear up again! The sleep you get after toiling for the complete day cannot be bought from any shop. You sleep with a faith and wake up with a hope the next day! Are we missing something here? Oh Yes! This is just the starter and the main course and deserts are still waiting. You have only tasted first dish of the Chappan Bhog food. (Chappan Bhog – 56 variety of dishes served on auspicious events)
The day you feel life is getting monotonous, you need a break – you message your friends “Today evening at Marine drive, dinner at Jazz by the Bay.” So you meet up your college friends at the Queen’s Necklace. You chat with them, share stories, watch the ocean waves moving and stare at sky thinking. You land up at Pahlwan dhaba behind the historic and royal Taj President hotel for dinner. Paratha – curry with Coca cola and friends. You end up running towards station to catch the last local. Not that staying all night awake at the sea shore would not have been fun, but the next day office drags you home. A day well lived.
And the weekends are much awaited time. You sleep out till the noon. Do your pending work and plan for the evening. You hang out with your roommates at Juhu beach, go to Versova beach with office gang, at the ISCON temple with closed ones, Siddhivinayak, Mahalakshmi and Haji Ali with relatives, Hakone Go Carting with your friend’s group and now you are also part of that group, Water Kingdom water park with your project friends, latest flick with your ex project friends, English play with random friends (term I came to know in Mumbai itself), Lonavala on a rainy weekend with old friends. Your cousin visits Mumbai and he is a great fan of Shahrukh Khan so you take him to Mannat (SRK’s bunglow) at Bandra.
The city never sleeps. And not just in the literal sense but also when it is gripped by foreign attacks. 26/11 the biggest terrorist attack in the history of India – yet next day offices was open. Life was at normal, up and running in few days time. The city has its own challenges. The traffic is maddening at times, slums is as much an integral part of the maximum city as the Sensex, Bollywood and politicians, food is cheap but living is expensive, yet “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse perfect banaya jaata hai!
The post would remain incomplete without the mention of vigilant and agile Mumbai Police. They are the once who keep crime under control and ensures fearless mobility. They are the once because of whom people like me can go to Juhu beach at morning 3 o’clock and sip road side ginger tea!
fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: There has been a Harshad Mehta and there is a Ratan Tata. There has been a Dawood Ibrahim and a Hemant Karkare. Monika Bedi or a Priyanka Chopra. Or you can be larger than life, Sachin Tendulkar is an example. This is ‘the’ city where people come to make their career and end up making their life, it depends what dreams you want to realise!
*This series will also be published simultaneously on Karan’s blog. Part II titled ‘Fashionable Delhi’ will be posted in days to follow!
Entry filed under: Tale of Two Cities.
Wine SellerDelhi – Cities with a City
Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is a sprawling, densely populated city on India’s west coast. It is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Its eclectic and cosmopolitan nature is epitomised by the presence of Bollywood within the city, the centre of the globally influential Hindi film and TV industry.
I took a flight in June from Delhi and was excited to see the city that never sleeps. I stayed at my brother’s house, located on the 17th floor of a high-rise building, with a mesmerising view of the whole city. The weather in Mumbai was a little warm during the day, but it got pleasant as evening drew closer. My three-day trip began the minute I landed at what is probably India’s most busy airport.
Eating through the beginning
My day began with treats from a variety of the famous street food in Mumbai, starting with Vada Pav and grilled sandwiches. First, we made our way to south Mumbai. We travelled on the beautiful and modern, Worli Sea Link. Our car shot through on the smooth straight roads, offering us a mesmerising view of the sea to either side of us.
Once across the Sea Link, we were at Marine Drive, a 4.3-kilometre-long boulevard in South Mumbai. This natural bay is a 'C'-shaped six-lane concrete road along the coast. It looks like (and is often called) a Queen's Necklace, as the streetlights resemble a string of pearls in a necklace when viewed at night from an elevated spot anywhere along the drive. We stayed there until evening, munching on the roadside snacks.
Later, we made our way to the Gateway of India, the most famous monument in Mumbai, which was built during the British rule. It was the place where the viceroys and governors used to land upon their arrival in India. The cold breeze, amazing view and beautiful scenery made our day. We also reserved a table at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for dinner at the one of the most famous European restaurants. It offered a delicious fine dining menu and an exceptional wine cellar, ideal for special occasions and celebrations.
Fun and games
Next, we visited the newly opened theme based adventure park, Adlabs Imagica, located 2-3 hours away on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. We spent a completely fun-filled day at the amusement park. It was based on different continents, with themes such as Viva Europe, Arabia, American, Indian and Jambo Africa. With various eateries throughout the park, we ate at the Red Bonnet American Diner. They served delicious American food that re-energised us enough for us to continue enjoying ourselves. I would recommend buying an express ticket to skip the long queues and save time with the water rides being the best of all the rides.
Early the next morning, we visited the famous Juhu Beach. Juhu is among the most affluent areas of the city and home to many Bollywood celebrities. The food court at the main entrance serves Mumbai style street food, notably bhelpuri, pani puri and sevpuri. We enjoyed ourselves at the beach for a few hours and came back home to get ready, then visiting the local market in Bandra for some street shopping, where I picked up some artificial jewellery for my mother and sister. Then we travelled towards Phoenix Mall, which was home to several high-end shopping outlets under one roof.
Finally, we visited the Bandstand Promenade, where we saw the Mount Mary Church and walked down the kilometre long walkway along the sea in Bandra. The path featured about six statues of famous Bollywood actors as well as about 100 brass plates embossed with the handprints and signatures of other stars. The place was utterly peaceful, ending our holiday on a good note.