Everything, or everybody, was on the move in every direction;
there was no place to stop, no place to dawdle,
You either moved on or got mowed down. - Kalpish Ratna
For a long time I have wanted to describe Mumbai as it ought to be described; but I have been too lethargic to strain my encephalon to pry facts and narratives, marshal them, and dish them out in a baroquely coherent way. However overcoming dawdling finally I had a dash to explore and define what exactly mesmerizes me so much about this harbor city!
On a sojourn to other cities there are some places which you can't stop rambling about. They simply amaze when you are exploring them. But the city that you are living in, or the roads that you travel by each day - they take you by surprise? Hmmm, a bit difficult to believe right? Actually, it is not so difficult if you live in a city like Mumbai.
People are very opinionated about Mumbai, either they love it or detest it. Usually, the ones who detest it have their reasons; it’s too crowded, congested, smelly and filthy. Well, that’s okay. Everybody has a different view point. However the ones who love it (like me) have an interesting perspective. If you have a sight for it, dexterity to glance beyond the rush hour, ghetto and unwelcomed lodging spaces, there’s this charming city awaiting to win your heart. You come. You see. It conquers.
Every single day, you experience something new. Each time you step out, you spot something neoteric, brisk, beautiful, vexatious, thought provoking, irritating but at the end of the day when you ruminate about those events, you end up finding them amusing.
One thing I absolutely like about Mumbai is Marine Drive; the entire stretch at night is an object of devotion in itself. Just stand at Marine Drive and let the breeze kiss your cheeks. Usually sea depresses me, but strolls or sits by seaside; the water drops draw to their beauty, as splashes of water hit face gently once in a while. While waves touch your soul deep inside.
A ride around Queens Necklace, Colaba and Fountain at night is so vivid. More so if it's drizzling. The raindrops lift spirits instantly and you discover the beauty of the monsoon in this city, it’s unlike anywhere else. The swirling aura of Juhu beach reminds of various Hindi films that you have seen over the years.
And there’s that modest side about the city in contrast to its glamour quotient. Just the dirt, the grime, the rustlers, and the blighted area, all of this makes me more aware as well. It is quite amusing to drive them around in the car and listen to irked and aghast outburst one moment, to cry of disillusion the next and then to enthusiastic and loud laughter (And they are Greek, so no hiding of emotions!).
What instinctively connects you to Mumbai is the vitality of the people. They are buoyant and hustling. They seem to wriggle the worries off their shoulders. From the moment it is dawn till the time sun goes down the horizon. It’s a pleasant buzz all through that keeps you alive from within. Instead of leading peaceful life people bring in turbulence to a level where the word peace itself finds it impossible to exist. Comfort means getting a space to stand in the train without getting your foot stamped even once.
Despite the exploding population; the variety of jobs available for a man to survive; the efficiency they have to execute them is mind boggling to say the least. And off course there’s that Mumbai’s fighting spirit that everyone is pretentious about, I think this fighting-spirit officially qualifies me to say I am a Mumbaikar, after all. And for me that is Mumbai in a nutshell.
Mumbai is not a city, it’s a cavalcade of life.