Mumbai Memoir 52- Manori Island- Instant Getaway within Mumbai!
Urban life has become very fast paced. Today the 20-20 format of cricket is enjoyed & appreciated compared to the bygone era of enjoying a 5-day Test match. An 8-hour sleep is a rare thing for a busy Mumbaikar & thus ‘power naps’ are in vogue.
As the proverb goes ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’ is absolutely true if people do not positively & healthily distract themselves before they get back to the urban grind! A ‘dull Jack’ then experiences boredom and loneliness which eventually hacks the quality of personal and professional performance over a period of time. The old school people may crib on the diminishing quality of everything around, especially when people are enjoying compressed versions of recreational activities. But from where I see, the positive thing is atleast there is a compressed version of recreation experienced, compared to no recreation at all!
Yet another recreation activity fantasized by Mumbai’kars, is a weekend gateway, but with constant time crunch, planning & executing an outing may just never happen for many, including me. But the other day I was totally surprised to experience the feel of a weekend gateway in Mumbai itself!!
Last Friday I had to catch up with my friend Nikita, who is a wonderful photographer herself. We had to discuss about few upcoming projects that we have in mind. We just drove randomly around Malad (suburban Mumbai Pincode-400102) and realized that we have reached Marve beach. After parking my car I noticed that there is a ferry service that takes people on the other side of the creek that’s a part of the Arabian Sea.
By enquiring with the locals I got to know about Manori Island, where the ferry service plied from morning 8am to midnight! The return ticket was mere Rs20 per person! And travel time to reach Manori Island from Marve beach was just less than 15 mins! All this information was tempting enough for us to hop on the ferry and explore the island as we simultaneously discussed our upcoming projects. I noticed that the ferry can accommodate two wheelers too, for which one has to pay Rs.10 extra per trip. As we were sailing, the cool evening breeze was an add-on relief from the Mumbai heat which nowadays reaches a high of 39 degree C!
Once on the Manori Island, I felt the joy of suddenly getting away from the ‘urban blues’ and being welcomed by Mother Nature, with her arms wide open for a hug! Both Nikita & me being ‘shutter bugs’, we started clicking snaps, left right and centre!!
As we saw the evening ripen we moved from the jetty towards the beach in a hired rickshaw (3 seater). The current one-way rickshaw trip rate is Rs.40-50 (from jetty to sea-shore). On the way to the beach we saw a typical village market, tiled roof cottages, coconut trees and mangroves. The residents of the island are mostly fisherman from Koli community and East Indian Catholics. Small chapels ornament the islands (just like you see in Goa) on almost every crossroads along with a cross erected besides it. The beach is almost a kilometre long and has fine powdery grey sand. Since it was Friday, the beach was not over-crowded, which is the case on Saturdays & Sundays.
We had a beautiful scenic view of the sun-set, as we played with the waves during our walk & talk discussion by the beach. On our journey back to main land Mumbai, we walked through the local Manori village till the rickshaw stand to get a feel of village life.
We got to know from the locals that besides the beach, there are couple of Shiva & Parvati temples to visit and an ashram of Swami Gagangiri Maharaj right near the jetty. Fish, pork and East Indian Catholic cuisines are served at most of the restaurants on the island. The locals speak in Marathi language and since its my mother tongue, I felt at ease as I was seeking more details of the islands from few people from around. As the ferry dropped us back at Malad’s Marve beach, I literally experienced the fun of 2 days in just 4 hours, just like I enjoy the 20-20 cricket matches or a half hour power nap!!
Photo credits: Nikita N. Kamat & Shraddha. C. Sankulkar