After a lengthy bargaining session at Mangaldas Market, we unfurled our umbrellas and headed to the place we had been dying to visit ever since we began planning our Mumbai trip- Marine Drive. Anyone who has watched any movie set in Mumbai knows the significance of this place (cue song- Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye). After a lot of direction-seeking (up the steps, under the bridge, around the bend, through the puddles), we saw it. We ran toward it, trying not to be run down by the zooming cars. And got thoroughly drenched.
A giant gust of wind came up just as we crossed the road, flipping our umbrellas over and spraying us with seawater. Shivering, we made a beeline to the coffee guy and warmed ourselves with a cup of ridiculously overpriced ‘Nes-coffee’, before climbing on the promenade. The ‘Iktara‘ song kept playing in my head as I gazed at the vast stretch of water, and I wondered if today would be my lucky day, when Andrew Garfield, on a secret trip to Mumbai, would be strolling down the causeway and catch sight of me, and fall head-over-heels for me and whisk me off on a world tour and propose on the banks of the Seine. Unfortunately, the only people who came down the road were couples, intently discussing their life and their future and, in one case, how that complete b**** Seema behaved during the rehearsals. A melancholic pall settled over me as I walked down the promenade alone.
The pall was dispelled by the aroma of hot food awaiting us at the end of Marine Drive. The rain started again when we reached Chowpatty Beach, and we took shelter under the tarpaulin sheets of the vendors and started on the main reason we wanted to come to Marine Drive. Pav bhaji vendors beckoned us, as did bhel puri, samosa, sandwiches and kulfi vendors, and we did not disappoint any of them. So what if we did not find the loves of our lives at Marine Drive; our true love is and will always be food.
An hour later, we tottered out, groaning with satisfaction at a meal well eaten. The lights were coming on, and the city skyline gleamed in the distance. After some time spent standing at the seashore letting the waves wash over our feet while we contemplated life, universe and everything, we retraced our steps down a glittering Queen’s Necklace and began the long journey back home. Mumbai, you bemused us, toyed with us and frustrated us, but we made good memories despite it all. Or maybe because of it.