Being a local Bombay boy, I have always been passionate about the places that you find here in the city and the small by-lanes and small shops that thrive in the heart of the city. I also believe that Bombay was far better than Mumbai because the city did offer you with the kind of options that make you feel special. I will certainly write one more blog on that where I will try and compare Bombay Vs Mumbai and how people can see the difference that only locals can understand. I certainly believe that change is constant and that I cannot do anything about it, but change my perception and go with the tide of time. However, luckily there are certain things that haven’t changed much and that is Marine Drive.
Every time I take a pause to think, I go back years ago when I was just 7 or 8 years old and when I used to visit Marine Drive with my mother most of the times as it was just short distance from my residence. As a kid I was always fascinated to be around Marine Drive as I believe it was the best place to be in a city that was all about trade and commerce. Marine Drive is basically a 4.3 kilometer C shape boulevard that starts off from Babulnath Road on one side which is almost Grant Road area and ends at NCPA on the other. While I have spent many happy days here coming to Marine Drive with my mother spending weekend evenings, I also recollect times when I used to come here without her after she passed away. I was 15 then, alone, completely crushed down by the hardships that came upon me and angry with God on things that I was experiencing. It sounds unbelievable, but every time I came here I went back home with answers that helped me grow, not only in terms of how I can improve my life but also mentally.
So, what makes Marine Drive so special you might ask? To answer that, I will say you have to come here to believe it. It’s like the famous Taj Mahal, I can tell you all about the Taj Mahal and even click the best pictures of it that you have ever seen in your life, but you still cannot feel it because you haven’t been here yet. This place is not just a boulevard where you come and enjoy the sea breeze; it’s a lot more than that. You will find bundle of emotions here like desires, romance, fantasies, happiness, sorrow, freedom, inspiration and even tranquility.
In the morning, Marine Drive transforms itself into a giant health club and you will find people from all walks of life come down here with their sports shoes on walking, jogging and running around either with their partners or listening to their music on MP3 players. Senior citizens enjoy their time of life here with their friends and colleagues and when you see them you feel a feeling of camaraderie all around. You also find hawkers selling hot tea and coffee and even fresh coconut water.
As the sun climbs up the sky from behind the buildings we find these people going back to their homes and suddenly the number of cars on the road increases which eventually leads to lot of traffic noise. Towards afternoon, you will find less number of people here and that is mainly because of the heat factor. The sun is at the zenith so people usually avoid being here at these hours, but you will still find college kids hanging around especially those who have colleges in South Mumbai.
Evening is the best time to be here at Marine Drive and you will find thousands of people here every single day watching the sun go down the horizon. You can find couples hugging and romancing each other while you will find some discussing seriously about some turmoil in their life. You will even find some friends chattering and having a good time, clicking pictures through their smartphones trying to capture the essence of the moment. Interestingly, you will also find some people sitting solo talking to the sea, contemplating and finding answers and purpose to their life. You will also find many corporate executives and employees coming down here at the end of the day taking some time from their hectic life and enjoying the cool breeze trying to hold on to their sanity so that they can go back home, relax and continue with what life has to offer. Additionally, in the evening you get to see why Marine Drive is also called Queen’s Necklace as the street lights turn on and looks like a huge C shape necklace, but I like what my wife just said to me that the real diamonds in that necklace are the people of the city that come here every day and without them Marine Drive would not be as magical as it is.
Marine Drive is different things to different people, a weekend destination, romantic hotspot, meeting point and so on. To me, Marine Drive is a part of me, an extension of my soul and my life. It provided me happiness when I was a kid, it consoled me and helped me walk through tough times when I was alone, it gave me answers and strength when I wanted to do things but did not had the courage to do so. I also wrote my first poetry here at Marine Drive back in 1998 so it also ignited the creative person in me that I never knew completely.
I believe Marine Drive is the best place to be if you are in Mumbai because there is something magical about this place that is hard to explain in words.