Mumbai Revisited…er… Navi Mumbai!

Mumbai Revisited…er… Navi Mumbai!

Mumbai has always held a special place in my heart from my childhood.
We had our dear uncle and family living there when we were kids and had made quite a few trips in summer when we had good fun with Shashi, my cousin out there.

I loved using the Electric local trains those days having come from Bangalore which did not have any ( It does not, even now), getting to know my way on Central and Western Lines. Even beaches were nicer then, esp Versova and Juhu to some extent…
Bandra Bandstand was lovely at sunset too…

And then I got my first job in Gammon, in Mumbai. It is another matter that I had to go far away from Mumbai to a misty Meghalaya and its project sites to serve.

Mumbai (Bombay, it used to be called those days) was busy, and sultry but never lacked in energy and cosmopolitan ethos. Yes, trains were always packed and traffic jams common then too..

Well, life happened since then and I have been now all over the globe. Well, almost!
As I recall, I left visiting Mumbai some decade ago now. Till the last week I mean, a rare trip to the once favourite city. On a professional cause.

Before I visited it this time, I was now not so enamoured of the metropolis having lived all these years in Bangalore and Chennai with their equally busting lifestyle and jostling crowds.

But Navi Mumbai and Mumbai ( ‘proper’, should I call this old one?) had something in store for me this time.

While Navi Mumbai (Vashi, to be specific) still has a certain charm and calmness to attract you, its roads let you down. Mahape a famed IT sector is poorly connected, with inadequate transport and food facilities. The MIDC area which houses the renowned flagship companies of today has several buildings that look like a big earthquake shook them not so long ago. There are snakelike cracks and rough plaster repairs adorning the walls are all too glaring which at first glance cut a sorry figure.
On the other hand, it has some glittering new Malls, where one can shop till you drop.

We could grab some South Indian snacks- Idli, dosa in the Hotel where I stayed but for dinner or Lunch, I do not think you have any other choice to go in for anything other than the typical North Indian Roti- Biryani menu. Mumbai will be cooler than Chennai this time of the year, a friend had promised me. No, it wasn’t.

But it is now Mumbai City as such, which sends chills down my spine with its almost horrendous traffic conditions. The roads just seem to be bursting with vehicles and they crawl for hours, inch by inch, even on six-lane roads like the ones from Mahim to Santa Cruz. We had a definite scare that we would miss the flight home when a 2 ½ hours of cab ride from Vashi could not get us there in time. If we made it, it was only by the skin of our teeth, as they say.

I do not know if it is a daily ordeal for Mumbaikars, but it certainly cannot be lot better. Is Mumbai’s golden days over? I daresay if I am being too sceptical.
When we were wiping sweat after running into the airport and trying to catch breath, the modern airport certainly held my attention. It looks wonderful and superb after the recent modifications. To dampen my spirits, the announcer said on PA system that many flights were delayed due to ‘existing congestion over the airport’..
Was he talking about the clogged roads leading to the airport or was there a traffic jam in the Mumbai skies too? I wouldn’t wonder…

To make our miseries complete, the plane waited for a good half hour on the runway after starting almost an hour late in the first place. Traffic jams have certainly come to stay.
At midnight, when I reached Chennai, the roads looked contrastingly empty and peaceful but then it was only midnight yet…The day and Chennai’s own bustling and unruly traffic was just hours away, I reminded myself on the way home.

20 responses to “Mumbai Revisited…er… Navi Mumbai!

  1. Hi Nagesh – Excellent recap on Navi Mumbai! You surely deserve to be christened a “Born Writer”. Your language has an added flavor of naturalilty in it which is the ability in it to drive the reader into the topic. Expressiveness is a rare quality in writing though, many are good writers.Enjoyed the narration thoroughly! – Ramesh [Singapore]

  2. Anna… congestion on the roads areok and acceptable. Well they are a known fact, be it Mumbai or Delhi.But this congestion at Airports is something new and probably a new sense.Most airlines charge u a certainamount as Passenger Congestion Fee.They have hiked that fees from this quarter onwards.I wonder why that fees is for?.to discourage congestion or to encourage it?.Good that u made it to Mumbainow, for later on during the month, Jan, Feb, you would see lotof delays all around due to FoG.There is another kind of FOG thatwe experienced during our Goa-Bangalore return flight , during in Feb’ 2006.That day, George Bush was to landin Delhi, and no flights were allowed to take off/land withincouple of hours of his AirForceLanding. Our flights were delayedby one hour, then. Where is Delhi,Where is Goa, where this charliehad come from?.All is funny all over.k.v.raj

  3. Nagesh,It was nice to read your blog after such a long gap.You should be more regular.Mumbai happens to be my hometown.I left it for good in 1967 at the age of 18 and I visit the city once in about two years on an average just to keep in touch with my parents and brothers and their families.I was born and brought up at King’s Circle, in the heart of the old city and have experienced the BEST buses and the local trains in my boyhood.There is still an emotional bond and I always enjoy my brief visits but I am quite sure, it is not the place to settle down in.I am happier in Bangalore.But of late, Bangalore is becoming another Mumbai. In fact worse. Mumbai is an efficient city. Bangalore is a laid back city.It is remarkable that Mumbai has been able to survive this expansion in size and population and the civic agencies have managed to cope up.I wonder if Bangalore can cope with a similar expansion.Anyway, the weather here is one thing that will never be affected by the population. Let me enjoy at least that.I too have started blogging.Though I don’t have a blog of my own, there is a web site which hosts my writings.In case are you are interested, you may visit Tarakash.com/forum This is a Hindi web site which also accommodates English posts.Click on Blogs in the menu bar at the top of the screen and you will have the option of English blogs and Hindi blogs.All the English blogs posted so far are written by me. I have also posted about 5 blog entries in Hindi.Keep in touch.RegardsGV

  4. nagu,brilliant blog as always. really enjoyed it.anyway how was your trip to mumbai? this blog certainly brought back memories of bombaykeep in touch sridhar

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