What I will REALLY miss about Mumbai
Aditi Bose has lived in three of the country's biggest metropolises. As she moves from Mumbai to Delhi, she lists out the things she will miss about the city that never sleeps.
I have spent each of my summer vacations when I was a child in Delhi. My maternal grandparents lived in Delhi so when it was time for me to leave my birth town, Kolkata, to pursue MBA the natural choice was Delhi. After all it was my second home. It was a known place for me. It gave me more when I not only found my husband here but also had my daughter.
So when I had to leave this city and move to Mumbai because of my husband's job transfer, I was heartbroken. Leaving Delhi meant leaving a part of me behind. Mumbai was unknown and unexplored. I was scared. But I knew that things would eventually fall into place. I had to make it work. This was four years ago. And now, the time has come when we are moving back to Delhi. Life seems to have come a full circle.
I have often heard animated conversations about 'Delhi v/s Mumbai'. Consciously, however, I have always chosen to remain a passive listener. The reason is simple -- both have been good to me.
So, as I begin my journey back to the Capital, I have a lot of thoughts in my mind and emotions in my heart which I feel like penning down. It's a sort of emotional catharsis.
So here's what I will miss about Mumbai the most:
The sea breeze
I will miss Mumbai's sea breeze. The salty fragrance wafting into my soul is an experience worth remembering forever. Be that a morning walk on the Carter Road promenade, an evening jog on the Worli Sea Face or even a stroll on the Marine Drive while watching the Queen's Necklace. The well-maintained clean sidewalks, the occasional spray of the waves during high tide, the parking space, the enchanting sea in front -- all together rejuvenates and refreshes. In a city that is always on the move, these are the three places where I found my calm. Thank god for them.
A parent always wants the best for her child and I can proudly say that my daughter not only goes to one of the best schools in Mumbai (Bombay Scottish, Mahim) but also went to the best play school in Mumbai, The initial years of education hold immense importance in a child's life. What Little Bo Peep Playschool taught my daughter since the time she joined them at the age of two, has carved out a bright path for her. They taught, they protected and they understood. It was an environment of joy and discipline. This 37-year-old school located in Khar West truly satisfied the curiosity and desire to learn of a two year old. As a mother, I will always be indebted to the school, its teachers and to the principal -- Ms Poonam Mirchandani.
My domestic help
Four years in Mumbai and four years with the same maid is a miracle, trust me! I have heard innumerable times about people cribbing about their servants, drivers, gardeners etc. I have been very fortunate in this department. When we walked into our new house in Mumbai four years ago, she also walked in with us -- looking for work! She was godsent. With a smile on her face that never faded, irrespective of the hardships in her life, she is the most hardworking person I have ever seen. If I made the new house a home, she contributed to it as well. I will truly miss her!
Image: Children have a ball as huge waves hit the promenade at Mumbai's Worli Sea Face.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
What I will REALLY miss about Mumbai
The drive to Lonavala from Mumbai is one that I have always enjoyed. Be it to watch waterfalls during the rains or for the strawberry chikki from Maganlal and the chocolate walnut fudge from Cooper's during the winters.
In fact, if I were to be totally honest, for as long as I was in Mumbai I wanted to return to Lonavala every week. And it was never really to appreciate nature but to get more of the fudge!
Of course, till last year Amby Valley, a little further from Lonavla, was also a favourite weekend getaway for us. Sadly they shut down hotel accommodation. Someday, maybe, they will open up again.
No, I won't be talking about the usual shopping centres like Colaba, Benzer etc or even the malls. I have two special places where I have loved shopping for the past two years -– Cheap Jack and Something Special. Both are very nondescript shops located on Hill Road near St.Joseph's High School in Bandra. But they always managed to take out just the thing that I was looking for everything I had to complete an art project for my child's school. They are both a heaven if you are looking for beads, Christmas decor, return gifts, ribbons, paints, party supplies etc. Just go there with some time and go through all their drawers and the nooks and crevices. They are both a treasure trove.
Every time I think of Mumbai I think of the delicious food at Bade Miyaan. A road side food stall in Colaba is surely carved a name for itself in my heart. I had never dreamt that a cleanliness and hygiene freak like me would ever eat, leave alone like, a place like this. But their food is unbelievably tasty.
Eating the roomali roti and the bhuna mutton on one of those rickety tables has been a wonderful experience indeed. For every time that I visit Mumbai I am sure this is one place I would not fail to visit.
Not to forget here is Juhu Beach. Well, I won't really miss the beach because nothing called a beach really exists. It is more of filth and muck strewn all over the sand. And yet I will miss it. I will miss all the mouth-watering kulfi, falooda and pav bhaaji from the small kiosks. And yes, the sea breeze on my face at sunset will be missed too.
There are two more places that I will always fondly remember. And without mentioning them my list here will not be complete. The first is the club C'est la Vie where I have spent many mornings swimming to de stress myself. The second is the MCubed Library where my child has spent many evenings. A special thank you for both these places.
Image: A view of the Western Ghats, Lonavala
Photographs: Arjun Singh Kulkarni/Wikimedia Creative Commons
What I look forward to in Delhi
For me, nightlife in Delhi has stood for a stroll near the India Gate. I love watching the flame from a distance. It envelopes me with a sense of pride. And of course a walk down Rajpath to the other end till Rashtrapati Bhawan. Not to forget, with an ice-cream in my hand!
It amazes me how despite all the fear in people's minds because of the various recent untoward incidents, thousands still sit and spend time in the lawns even amidst darkness. It just shows how Delhi never stops enjoying. How it never stops living. And I feel happy to be a part of it.
For me being in Delhi has always meant being with family. When I was young it was the perfect summer getaway for me because that's where my maternal grandparents stayed.
Even now, many years later, I still feel at home here. And it is not just because of the brothers, uncles and aunts who live here. It is also because some of my closest friends are here. And everyone, together, weaves a spell of family hood and kinship.
Yes I have shopped in Mumbai too. And I have shopped in many other cities in India as well. But I love shopping in Delhi. Yes, the word to be stressed upon is 'love'. And I am not talking about all the branded shops which are in plenty in the innumerable malls that dot the city and Noida and Gurgaon; but the small shops at Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Karol Bagh where I enjoy haggling for prices and the cosmetics from Khadi. As for window shopping, nothing beats a stroll in Greater Kailash M Block Market, South Extension or even the Emporiums.
Image: Nightlife in Delhi has stood for a stroll near the India Gate, says Aditi Bose.
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters
What I look forward to in Delhi
The foggy winters
For every year that I have spent in Delhi, I catch a horrible cold very winter. And yet I like it! Be that the cosy evenings in front of a heater with a cup of coffee, the early morning dew drops on the leaves, a walk in the afternoon sun with woollies on or the smell of dried leaves as they are burnt by chowkidaars to warm themselves at night.
I missed the greenery in Mumbai. Not only the verandahs with potted plants which almost ever Delhi home has; not only the trees and bushes on the pavements; but also the innumerable gardens in the city.
My favourite has always been the Lodhi Gardens. It's a beautiful garden with rose bushes, tombs from the 15th century, jogging tracks, greenery where one can sit and read a book under the shade and even spots to enjoy birds.
There are a plethora of places to which one can drive to from Delhi over the weekend. And staying options are easy to find too -- be that luxury or budget options. Jungles include Corbett and Sariska, Baratpur for bird watching, Agra and Jaipur for historical and shopping pleasures, Shimla, Chail and Naintal for the mountains, Haridwar, Mathura and Vrindavan for pilgrimage, or simply the Neemrana Fort palace of Chowki Dhani for a relaxing fun-filled weekend. Yes, the sea is missing. And Mumbai does score there!
Image: Few things can compare to the wonder of foggy winters of Delhi.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters