A Sunday morning walk in Mumbai

“Lets go for a walk. You can see a different side of Mumbai that way,” I said to a friend who was visiting Mumbai from Delhi on work and wanted to experience the city in a zara hatke way.

“A walk? In Mumbai?,” she asked incredulously.

“Of course,” I replied.

She laughed herself silly over my suggestion and then asked, “But where is the space to walk in this city? And what about the weather, the crowds, the traffic, the pollution, etc.?”

“The weather is not too bad in Mumbai now. Besides, if we go for a walk on a Sunday, the crowds, the traffic and the pollution will be manageable,” I responded.

“Er… what is there to see in Mumbai, apart from the not-so-clean beaches, the Marine Drive, the Siddhi Vinayak Temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, and houses of film stars?” she asked a little too politely.

Since this was the first time that my friend was visiting Mumbai, and was only repeating what she had heard from others, I guess she could be forgiven. But still, it was a matter of pride for me to present my city to a visitor in a way that only an insider can. “You and I are going for a walk this Sunday. No ifs and buts or whats and wheres. No arguments. Meet me outside Platform 1 at CST station at 8.00 am. And try not to be late, will you?”

The front façade of the UNESCO World Heritage site and Central Railway Headquarters, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

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Mumbai Lens: The Asiatic Library

This blog post was featured in the “Around the Blog” section of the DNA newspaper published on December 7, 2011 (pg.7). :-)

The iconic building of the Asiatic Library of Mumbai, also called Town Hall, was recently in the news for a rather sad reason. Renovation work, which had begun in 2008–2009, had been stalled due to unpaid bills amounting to nearly 2 crores ! (You can read more about this here). When I had last walked by this beautiful building one August morning earlier this year, there was scaffolding on the sides, scraped and chipped paint on the ground, and blue protective sheets covering the exposed parts. Sounds of repair work could be heard even over the traffic.

The entrance to the Asiatic Society Library

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