Bombay – Mystical love -Part 2

Monsoons have a special connection with this city. Both have always been in a deep love- hate relationship. Hate because, obviously, monsoons exponentially raise the difficulty level of everyday activities (read struggles) and love because…well, read on…

Have you ever witnessed heavy rains while on the beach or by the sea? Have you ever seen it pouring non stop for a week? Most of all, have you ever craved for fried junk food while it rained cats and dogs? If the answer to any of these is yes then you might be able to understand why Bombay loves monsoons. Because there is no joy greater than getting drenched in the heavy rains while watching it dance over the fierce ocean or waking up to dark, damp mornings that smell like fresh dewy grass or having a gastronomic orgasm while munching over piping hot bhajiya and vada pav accompanied by ginger tea. Bombay is a hopelessly romantic city when it comes to monsoons.

From the time Bombay became Mumbai a couple of decades ago, it faced enormous changes with respect to the infrastructure, population, culture and its own geographical boundaries. But still the city remained what it was at its heart. Every new migrant that falls in love with the city is bound to fall in love with monsoons. Or one can say, because of the frenzy monsoons, people fall in love with this equally insane city.

Just a normal rainy Sunday evening at Juhu beach, Mumbai. Yep, cotton candies, corn, chat, ice gola… there is no better way to enjoy the weather than hogging around!

You may see Mumbaikars crib about potholes, water logging, delayed trains or dengue because of the rains. And though some of these problems are way severe than one can imagine, Mumbaikars refuse to give up on their happiness.

Mumbaikars celebrate their love for monsoons with great pride and enthusiasm. They would overcrowd the marine drive or gateway of India just to enjoy the rains during the high tide or they would set out of the city over the weekend to bask in the glory of the western ghats or they would attend some cultural activities especially arranged in the honor of the monsoons. It is not a sin either to sit at home and do nothing. Monsoons are a perfect excuse to slip under your blanket and doze off. But you see, be it an oldie or a newbie Mumbaikar, everyone is smitten by the monsoons here and one cannot understand this love by being in their own town. One needs to come here, spend at least a couple of monsoons to let go of the anger and frustration of it, because only then one can completely see and feel the magic of monsoons of Mumbai.

(L) a view from the Priyadarshini Park, (R) Marine drive. The sea faces are always crowded during the monsoons. [picture courtesy : Vinaya Shirsekar]
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A lovely cloudy sunset captured around fort, Mumbai
A tiny caterpillar keeps me company as I sit on a hill-top, a few hundred km away from the city, gazing at the rains in the distance slowly approaching me.
If you are a nature’s lover, trekker or just looking for an escape from the chaos of the city, travel a few km away from the city and you will find all the peace, solitude, adrenaline, oxygen… whatever that you are missing in your day-to-day life. Monsoons are the best because everything is lush green and pleasant.
When it rains in Mumbai, it pours! That’s clicked from my window!

Here are my top 5 ways to enjoy the Mumbai monsoons:

  1. Food – Be it Bhutta, bhajiya, maggi, Vada pav or Samosa… Anything that is hot, spicy or fried goes well with the rains. 

    Rainy foods
    Rule #45 to be a Mumbaikar – You must love the Vada pav (unless you are a Jain). You must crave for it during the monsoons. You must never eat the vada alone unless it is from Shrikrishna, Dadar. *Tip to conquer the food cravings –  Food cravings are guaranteed in this season. There are chances of you getting stuck at home on a crazy rainy weekend and your food cravings driving you nuts. Be prepared! Keep some Maggi handy.
  2. Music – Ah, the 90s or the oldies… or maybe Hindustani classical instrumental… I cannot do without music in the rains. 

    “Malhar” is a raga dedicated to the monsoons. ‘Mal Har’  literally means ‘cleaning (negativity)’ like the rains do.  The raga evokes romance in all it’s moods.  There are a lot of versions of this raga but the essence remains the same. Try it on a rainy evening maybe on a flute or a santoor. Goosebumps guaranteed!
  3. Morning walk and breakfast in south Bombay – On a cloudy Sunday morning, when it’s not pouring heavily, a walk by the gateway of India followed by a breakfast at one of the cafe in South Bombay could be the most satisfying experience.

    Cafe Mondegar is one of the oldest and the most famous cafe in Colaba, South Bombay along with Cafe Leopold. The ambience, coffee, location everything is just perfect but wait!  There are a lot of equally good  (but not as famous) cafes around Colaba and fort area (some could be really expensive). There are still some Irani cafes near Kalbadevi / Grand road where you can enjoy a good sumptuous breakfast without burning a hole in your wallet! I strongly recommend the mava cake at Merwan’s, Grant Road and Kharee biscuits from Kayani & Co, Lohar Chawl.
  4. Traveling/ trekking in the outskirts – Driving out of the city in any direction would take you to some amazing places. I love doing short trips during the monsoons. Maharashtra, especially western ghats are at their best during this season and provide breath-taking views. 

    Somewhere in the outskirts of Mumbai
  5. lazing at home – Me, my blanket and a book 🙂 

Check out Bombay – Mystical love -part 1 here.

Check out my instagram (@demaditiny) for photos from my recent monsoon trips!

One Comment

  1. lazing at home – Me, my blanket and a book 🙂
    My fav kind of thing