Mumbai boasts of a gracefully curving promenade called Marine Drive, directly facing the western bay, a natural arm of the Arabian Sea. It's a gorgeous boulevard that spans 4.3 kilometers connecting the central business district at Nariman Point to Malabar Hill and Babulnath. The short drive was originally laid out some 70 years ago, a six-lane highway dotted with a rich boulevard of art deco buildings. The official name is far from poetic: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road while the Marathi people endearingly called it Sonapur. However, travel books have gotten used to calling it the "Queen's Necklace" in reference to how it looks at night when the promenade lights are all lit, and the dreamy breakwater turns into a wondrous piece of royal accouterment .. like a "cluster of diamonds at a pendant," wrote Nita Kulkarni in her blog, "Stock Pictures".
After a seemingly aimless day of unplanned wanderings, I finally reached this promenade all the way from the Gateway of India... and "on foot". I was tempted to rest my tired body the way a gentleman at the promenade had done: he laid there seemingly dead to the world. I walked along the concrete structures for an hour and by the time I got back to the same point, he was still there, fast asleep.
|Mindless and dead to the world|
It had been a long walk and I didn't want to test my luck in Mumbai's dark alleyways. Neither did I want the chance to risk my sanity with a taxi driver (a last resort) if I eventually get lost. With neither a map nor my LP guidebook in my backpack, I finally decided to say goodbye to what could easily be my favorite spot in Mumbai.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on a leisurely walk back to my hotel. I found a Post Office and mailed some postcards back home. There were simple pleasures along the way: two glasses of sugarcane juice (freshly squeezed), grandiose fountain designs, more colonial buildings, black-and-yellow taxi cabs, double decker buses, a last glimpse of the Gateway of India, more acquaintances with anonymous Indian statues. I realized it was a great time to be alive and even greater to be discovering a slice of India that I've always heard about.
As darkness eventually fell into Colaba, I was left with a sense of peace; of a calming ennui that shall take me to a restful, dreamless sleep.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
|The Queen's Necklace|
|Sugarcane juice near the university of Mumbai and the cricket field.|
|A post office in Colaba few blocks from my hotel.|
|Gateway of India up close|
|Statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri, India's second Prime Minister. Thanks to "Mom with a Dot" for the much needed identification. :)|
More of Mumbai: On a Leisurely Trail Across Colonial History - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2013/02/mumbai-walk-on-leisurely-trail-across.html