The charm of marine drive has always been hard to define. It isn’t the most beautiful sea face you’ll ever see. And I do doubt that it is its beauty that draws people to it (and I’m quite certain it isn’t the smell of the sea). But everyone has their reason.
Lovers imagining a future together before the madness of Mumbai rips them apart as they make their way back home.
Over-worked executives wondering if the struggle is worth it (and it often is, as they realize).
Families looking for time away from the four walls that seem to follow them around in their little Mumbai homes.
Or solo visitors conversing with the sea.
The Marine Drive wouldn’t be as beautiful an experience without the context of its city.
Mumbai’s magic lies in the pace of its pedestrians, the wind in its locals and the ambition in its lit-up high rises.
Mumbai’s charm lies in being part of a shared ambition – the promise of a future and yet being able to be alone.
The marine drive is this Mumbai experience. It is you alone, in a crowd.
Sitting by the sea, with strangers on either side as you stare into the distance you can pretend that you’re alone.
Marine drive, then, is your confession chamber.
A counselling session with the sea.
It is your coach, goading you to make more out of your life.
It is a champi that squeezes all that is Mumbai out of you only to help you face some more.
The charm of marine drive, perhaps, lies in how deeply personal a visit it is for every person in the crowd.
The blue and black sea is the visible rendition of the blank canvas that is Mumbai.
It lets you drench the sea with your thoughts, hopes and often your sorrows.
It is the only part of the city that listens.