It had been almost a decade since I went to Mumbai for anything other than taking a flight out of the international airport. I probably avoided actively going there because of it’s difficult weather and the overcrowding. My wife however had been wanting to go visit for a while. So an invitation from her friend took us there on a weekend where the summer was just ending and monsoon had not yet begun.
This was the first of Mumbai’s iconic locations we came across. While I didn’t dare descend into the chaos below I stood there for a few moments trying to comprehend the scale of the activity that happened here.
I noticed this beautiful clock tower while walking around called the Jijamata Udyan Clocktower
Driving through this area felt like I was in a secret area of Europe. Only the presence of big Indian brands and some Indian folks gave it away. It was a stunnning place and it being a Sunday let us appreciate it a lot more.
Elphinestone College, Kalaghoda
A stunning mural somewhere near the Kala Ghoda area
Artisan’s Gallery, Kalaghoda
Gateway of India
The Gateway I visited several years ago, was the one untainted by one of India’s worst terrorist attacks. While the place was even more crowded than it was back then it felt a lot more restricted with a security check before entering and a lot more barricades all around.
The Taj Hotel
I’ve always wondered how magnificent the Taj would be on the inside. We weren’t really dressed for it so we thought we would try and make an entry into it and hoping no one would question us once we entered. We quickly went through without lingering too much at one particular place. The swimming pool was stunning with nary an Indian to be seen besides the housekeeping staff. We kept walking through until we reached the Hotel bakery where we had some expensive pastry. It was worth it though, just to be able to see the hotel on the inside. We exited through another gate and I noticed someone else trying to convince the guard to let them go inside. The guard flatly refused them. I guess we got lucky.
Off all the places I remebered from my last visit to Mumbai Victoria Terminus really was the most vivid. The architecture is absolutely stunning and timeless and it continues to to wow me even today.
When you move across Mumbai one notices buildings in progress at a massive scale. However there are several of them that have also stalled progress due to various legal issues. This one was one of them.
Bombay High Court
Monorail Joy Ride
The monorail service in Mumbai covers a very small area currently. We decided to board it anyway for a joy ride from the Wadala station and back. The tickets are very cheap and it’s a fun experience if you’ve never ridden one. The stations were clean, rail compartments were air-conditioned and there were very few people around.
I had heard so much about the Sea Link and was absolutely looking forward to driving on it this time. All I can say is that is certainly a magnificent modern structure the likes of which I have never seeen in India.
Other odds and ends
While driving around our friend also pointed out to the the infamous billion dollar building Antilia that is the home of Mukesh Ambani. It was absolutely horrendous. I have never seen such an ill concieved billion dollar home.
Traffic in Mumbai is bad as any other major city in India in terms of volume. Discipline wise compared to Pune at least it was so much better. It was refreshing to see traffic rules being followed in most places. I’m not really sure if it was a cultural thing or a result of a stricter police force.
We ended the weekend with dinner at the Prithvi Theatre cafe. It was time to go back to Pune the next morning. Our bus was to leave by 6.30 a.m and we were dripping with sweat while walking back to the bus. On the ride back I was talking with my wife if her desire to stay in Mumbai was any greater. She said it’s nice for a weekend but she could never stay here.
My personal take on things were that Mumbai is a fascinating city without doubt. It has incredible architecture and offers a lot for the curious. The weather is one of the most serious considerations for anyone planning to stay there. It was a wonderful weekend trip. There was so much that was left to see and do there. The people of Mumbai are certainly full of verve. To eke out an existence in big city like Mumbai with it’s overcrowded streets and expensive real estate is a miracle. Given everything that I experienced in a couple of days while wondrous, wasn’t enough to convince me to stay. I simply couldn’t get past the weather, crowds and the vast distances one needs to cover. Perhaps a few more trips or an extended stay might finally make me understand what it is that makes Mumbai the city that Mumbaikers can never leave.