‘Bombay is boiling men!’, as a certain section of Mumbaikars exclaim, reveals the sweltering grip in which the city is held every summer. True the mercury has not yet bust the slender tube in which it is trapped, but the sizzling weather has sent quite a large part of the city’s population to their hometowns. And those who are stuck behind for whatever reason battle bravely the heat. The flamboyance of the fiery Gul Mohurs is fading…Tempers explode…Chilled beers perspire…Rain day predictions dominate conversations…Heaven is invoked… The pied crested cuckoo, the harbinger of the monsoon shrills frantically in the leafy boughs…The rains can’t be very far now!
The giant azure canopy of summer is now replaced with a dull grey, while the city that was once shrouded with a film of dust and grime is now alive with colour.
Mumbai has now happily switched from the ‘sweat set’ to the rain soaked. The city takes on a new perspective during the monsoon. The image of Mumbai – a city that is constantly on the run doesn’t get washed away by the rains. It takes much more – even a deluge can at the most derail the frenzy for a few hours. So let’s take a quick run across some of the happening parts of Mumbai and see what keeps it ticking. And talking!
The monsoons can best be encountered at any of the waterfronts – and you can take your pick, as Mumbai is blessed with many. You could start at the majestic Gateway of India, where you can survey the angry Arabian Sea rising and falling with an abundant energy. The black stoned waterfront bears the brunt of the heaving sea as it thumps rhythmically against the solid walls. A brisk walk along the glistening roads with the icy raindrops pin pricking your face brings you to where the action is much larger.
Nariman Point – the city’s premier business district has a waterfront where the fury of the sea can be best described as ‘awesome’. Marine Drive stretches gracefully in a gentle arc and is lined with massive concrete tetrapods and boulders to tame the mighty sea. The monsoon is the time when the action out here is fast and furious – giant waves stirred up by the relentless breeze crash into the concrete breakers with a roar. Throwing up a wall of water and a salty invigorating spray. Stroll along and you will discover the hot spots – with loads of teenagers and couples having fun just getting soaked. Towards the suburbs, one could check out Haji Ali and Worli Seaface, though the seething sea is a little thanda ( subdued in Bombay speak) out there.
The other places that are much recommended and attract hordes of excited young visitors are the waterfalls (Tungareshwar, Chinchoti, Bhimashankar…) that gush into life only during the monsoons. These are located in the distant suburbs and can be reached only if you are equipped with a sturdy pair of legs. Half the fun is in getting there as you stumble along a winding uphill trail that’s strewn with stones and criss-crossed by swollen brooks. Once there, the view is spectacular and the waterfall, a real delight – spouting a steady stream of foaming water.
The monsoon is a good time to wander around the city and admire the colonial architecture. The sandy brown stone delicately chiseled, takes on a soft glow as the continuous rains wash it. The Gateway of India, Victoria Terminus (Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus), BMC building, High Court and university complex should give you plenty of walking and some beautiful clean views. Then there’s the view of rain-washed Mumbai from the Hanging Gardens that is quite mesmerizing.
With the advent of the monsoon all of nature seems to have joined the celebration. Mumbai is...