Being a typical “Dilliwalla” or shall I say a “Dilli waali”, I was never attracted towards the dream land that defines you. I wondered how can anyone love residing in a city which is longitudinally distributed with super narrow roads and never ending traffic jams. I thought why people are attracted to your towering skyscrapers with shreds of greenery? Every year and now, the monsoon winds unleash their havoc on you in the form of floods, resulting loss of life and property, but still people love you.
That “Mumbai” feeling was difficult to fathom for me. I agree that the climate is great apart from the monsoon months, but hey, I can not imagine my life without the chilly weather that I have experienced every year since my birth. I would miss my over coats and jackets if I ever get to work in your abode. I detested the rudeness in the “Mumbai accent” that I got to hear from the dwellers of your land. Never in my life, I could even remotely think of having some amount of liking for you.
But then, I visited your fantasy land and every thing changed.
Your airport is as organised as the T1 at Delhi. It has to be, because after all, you are the financial capital of India and have been for decades.
Your roads and streets, however narrow they are, are thronging with the common man even at 9 in the night! I could never imagine that, even in South or Central Delhi or even the millennium city of Gurgaon. Your public transport system is way better than Delhi’s though the latter boasts of a metro rail system. Your breweries and restaurants are open till mid night and girls can safely travel alone in the middle of the late hours. Forget travel, two woman folk can enjoy the night time wander outside a brewery with no interruption or judgement from any man or a passerby.
As a solo traveller, I gained more confidence while rushing for a morning stroll to the Juhu beach. I thank Google maps for assisting me but even at 7 am in the morning, you were lively. Delhi, sadly is calmer at that time. Your beach was not as clean as the other beaches I have been to but I could silently watch the light waves of the Arabian Sea and the morning jogs of the Mumbaikars. I could stand there for hours and let the waves wash my feet time and again, but I had to rush to my office.
I traversed through your streets in order to find an HDFC ATM for changing my credit card pin. And in that quest, I walked around a kilometre and observed your localities. I felt a sense of peace that I feel when I visit a government colony in Delhi.
Your huge Marine Drive impressed me to the core on my second day. I went there with my friend and stayed there for an hour at around 11 in the night, just looking at the endless sea. I was amazed at the crowd there – families, kids, couples and girls playing, jogging or just chit chatting. I could never imagine such atmosphere at the India Gate.
Your Bandra Worli sealink is a heaven for travellers who have a penchant for the swift winds along a well laid bridge and a sea view from windows. The pavement before this engineering feat is a serene place to sit down and watch the Arabian Sea.
Your newly fashioned Bandra Kurla Complex can give our Cyber Hub a run for its money. The magnanimous complex with a host of offices and classy restaurants provides a flawless merging of the professional world with a gourmand’s one.
Mumbai, you are not one of the best places that I have visited so far, but you broke the arrogance of a Delhi girl with your freedom loving airs and a liberal feel.
You gave me a sense of security while walking down your alleys – no unannounced whistles from onlookers and absolutely none of the creepy stares from the opposite sex at night.
You are that place where a woman or even a man can enjoy a solitary drink or a smoke without any passing judgement or lingering gazes.
If given a chance, I would love to visit you again and maybe have a stay of a few years, provided my office is near my home.
An over enthusiastic South Delhi girl