This post is probably going to seem like a page from a child’s notebook. Each city has an existence of its own, and although I understand that familiarity breeds contempt, it has been love at first sight for me with Mumbai. And I know that it did not have to do much to make me happy, but a promise well-kept by this place translates into its reputation as ‘the place where dreams come true’. And my simple wish was to simply stare at the sea.
As someone who had never gone even remotely close to the coast, it was exhilarating for me to see the waves come alive out of a science textbook. I could not believe my suddenly expanding good luck as I saw the sea during the very first few minutes into the city, traversed the length of the beautiful sea-link, witnessed my first drizzle here minutes after, and saw Haji Ali competing with the calm sea for pious attention. What more could have I asked for on Day Zero..or should I say, midnight zero? I don’t want the sun to rise tomorrow, lest it should distort my nascent love (or crush?) for this city.
This metro city feels like freedom. An Aha! moment. There’s no scope for disappointment this time because I’m just a visitor, but the sea exerts a subtle-yet-powerful pull. This makes me realise that in Mumbai, the sea can be a saviour. It can comfort those who feel home-sick, those who are homeless, and of course, it can act as a lover for those who neither have nor desire a tangible lover in their lives (because they enjoy turning the azure expanse of water into their muse in blog posts :p).
Thank you for such a warm welcome, dear Mumbai..it was the simplicity which felt grand, and if I could personify you literally, it felt like a warm hug after several days in limbo. I don’t look forward to changes much, but you have been a very pleasant surprise. I am aware that the British gave birth to most of you as a result of a reclamation of 7 islands, but there’s one thing we’ve got to be possessive about : the Arabian Sea, that is shared among so many countries. You sea, that’s your charm: you make even ironies seem so pleasant that people forget, no one can possess you. Nonetheless, I loved you.