There are two things that Mumbaikars love to talk about – evening party scenes & Mumbai rains.
The first time I experienced Bombay rains was the first of that season. In May 2019. I was returning home from Phoenix mall, Kurla. I was just 5 mins away from my place when all of a sudden, like an old friend, rains showed up in Bombay. There were no thunders, no overcast sky, no signs really. Just a friendly shower. It lasted for 20 mins. Long enough to put me in a cheerful mood. The hype of Bombay rains was justified, it seemed.
Tryst with Bombay:
I shifted to Bombay in February 2019 and found a temporary residence in Maitri Park, Chembur. It was a nice, little society with parks, swings & huge gardens. We had one such garden to ourselves, with a white-coloured swing. It was perfect! At least it appeared so until we met the gardener who used our courtyard/ garden as his private property and continued to trespass day in, day out! And if that wasn’t enough, the lady who collected the trash kept neglecting us & our trash :D. On days she didn’t neglect us were the days when she left half the trash outside our home.
Felt welcome in Bombay?! Not so much. 😀
To top it all off, the whole cab situation in Bombay was testing my tolerance. My office was situated in BKC. Every morning, I had to wait for 5-10 mins for the cab to arrive outside my house. And in those 10 mins., I would invariably meet Bombay’s alter ego, the humidity. It was sticky, prickly & uncomfortable. On those days, I missed Delhi & its winters.
The Monsoon of Bombay:
With each passing week, I began adjusting. I made friends. They often asked me what were my evening plans. Yes, on weekdays! This is one great thing about Bombay. Everyone loves to hang out at a cafe or a bar after a long day at work. Or if not that, a quiet time at Marine drive, Bandstand or Sea-link.
I would often say ‘no’ to these evening plans since I was homesick or shall I say, Delhi-sick.
“Wait till you experience Bombay rains”, they would tell me.
Oh, you want to know which song?
Here you go:
बेहता है मन कहीं, कहाँ जानते नहीं
कोई रोक ले यहीं
भागे रे मन कहीं, आगे रे मन चला जाने किधर जानु ना
हाँ, चले ठंडी हवा, हाँ, संग मन भी गया
ढूंढूं मैं कहाँ उसको, बतलाये कोई मुझको
Things that NOONE tells about Bombay Monsoons:
Like a teenage affair, my romance with Bombay Rain was short-lived too. Soon the monsoons started showing their true colours. Bombay rains behaved like every possessive & insecure boyfriend ever- stubborn, insecure & relentless.
It would rain when you would get ready for work. It would rain even harder when you would have to leave for work making it impossible to step outside the house. And if you somehow muster the courage to be where you ought to be, the water-logging & traffic jams would make you question your existence.
In the evenings, it would get worse as if the rains were punishing you for stepping out. It would take you hours to book one cab. And even then, you would be in constant fear of what if the auto/ cab breaks down in between. How would you reach home amidst such incorrigible, moody rains?
If that wasn’t enough, your clothes won’t dry up for days. When they would, you won’t want to call those your own. Why? Because of moisture, fungi and mildew. All gifts of the Bombay rains! The gadgets won’t work. The walls won’t stop dripping. Furniture would creak more & everything in your house would develop a stale smell.
Still like the rains? Not so much!
Love it or hate it; you can’t ignore it coz Ye hai Bombay meri jaan!
I stayed in Bombay for close to one year before moving back to Delhi NCR. When I did, I spent the next one year bitching about Bombay, recounting everything that wasn’t right about the city.
A few trips back to the city in the last two years, strong friendships with Bombayites & part of my family living in Bombay have made me see how I truly feel about the city which is:
Now when I go back to the city, our (my sister and mine) favourite spot to hang out is Marine drive. We often sit there looking at the waves colliding against the stones. When it would be time to go back, I would invariable ask her to grab a bite at Pizza by the Bay. In response, she would always, without fail, remind me that good life is a sum total of healthy choices.
Oh, for me, life is a beautiful montage of moments. And those moments that don’t revolve around a cup of chai, often end up with me eating pizzas!