Monday, June 1, 2020

Mumbai: A City Of Unforgettable Memories

A view from Marine Drive
Mumbai. One name, and many tags- the city of success, the city of dreams, the city with a warm heart. I stayed one month in Mumbai, all by myself last year, and all of that is true. It is a city of magnificent dreams, a city that never sleeps, a city where the people are so warm you feel welcome and happy the day you land, a city where there is no dearth for help anytime of the day if you are in need of it, a city that encourages you and your spirit. 

I had the greatest time in Mumbai every single day that I spent there. I explored quite a bit from the alleys in Parel, its famed Lalbaugcha Raja (being there during Ganesh Puja time is on my bucket list), the spice markets, the flower markets in Dadar, the gigantic malls in Lower Parel, Worli Sea-face, and then went up to Bandra, the famed Prithvi theatre and cafe in Juhu, the faloodas, ice golas and street food in the Juhu Chowpatty, then down south went around to Churchgate, Nariman Point, Colaba, and Marine Drive was a staple part of almost every other day! 

Chinchpokli
 And, while commuting so much around Mumbai, I got a guilt-free, embarrassment-free opportunity to try out all the Hindi that I learnt in two years of University. That way, Mumbai people were the absolute sweetest! It is heartwarming to see them break into a small smile when I communicate with my error-ridden phrases, and when I struggle to find the exact word of something and drag my phrases when my mind tries to scan the vague Hindi vocabulary in its racks. Every cab driver, every helper, every waiter always took that much time and effort  to give me a small compliment, and I felt so good about it. Till date, the compliments closest to my heart are the ones given to me by the benevolent Mumbai people- "aapki tooti fruity hindi humko bohot acha lagta hai".
Prithvi Theatre, Juhu

Food was great in Mumbai. Since I lived in a heavily Maharashtrian-populated area of Mumbai, I had the best and authentic taste of their vada pavs, bajji pavs, misal pavs, usal pavs, maska buns and the rest. I was also thrilled by the number of totally amazing dosa shops there. A couple of my favourites were eating in Juhu Chowpatty, I loved the faloodas and ice golas there. Another place that I went to repeatedly over that month-long stay was K.Rustoms & co. Ice Cream Parlour near Marine Drive. They had such beautiful and homely flavours, and for the first time I felt like I was eating an ice cream that was mindbogglingly tasty and yet didn't give that highly-processed feel. It was a great experience!

But, Mumbai is an expensive city. Either you had all the fancy restaurants that billed you in thousands, or you had those dirt-cheap restaurants that costed you less than a hundred for a meal. I found very, very, less middle grounds in Mumbai. For all its fame, I was very surprised to find Prithvi Cafe with great food at very nominal costs. I was lucky to have a lot of food joints that were sided towards a middle ground around my area, so that went better for me. 

Another thing that I clearly despise in Mumbai is its traffic- it is plain sickening. Having known this before even I went there, my only criteria for the place that I need to stay was that it has to be close to my office that I was interning in. And, I think that was the sole decision that made see the beauty of Mumbai. I don't think you can enjoy the city as much when you get stuck for 4 hours in traffic every day of that month!

What became my all-time-favourite ice-cream destination
in Mumbai
The pace of Mumbai is so fast, that whether you want it or not you have to match the city's pace. There is a certain energy that Mumbai demands of you every single day, and if you don't have it then it may not be a city that you would enjoy. More than whether you can match the pace or not, it is more about whether you want to. Coming from Chennai, I found cities like Ahmedabad, even though not as big as Chennai, more similar to the pace and culture that I have grown up being comfortable in. 

Mumbai is a beautiful experience, and an all-accepting one! It taught me many things, and this is a city that can make you feel welcome instantly. The beauty of Mumbai is its vibe, and whoever you are and whatever you like, given a month, you are sure to start jiving to the vibe! It was an unforgettable experience!

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