Mumbai Memoir – Rendezvous with Powai!
In my occasional Sunday morning exploration around the city I wanted to check out a place that’s within the city but has a unique natural flavour of its own. The ignition of my car engine also ‘ignited’ within me the desire to visit an area called Powai. Earlier I use to just swiftly pass it while commuting by my car. But last Sunday I actually decided to soak in the Powai juices and feel its morning air.
Powai is geographically located in the central most part of Mumbai. It connects the Eastern and Western suburbs of Mumbai. Besides its ‘pivotal’ location the vibrance of Powai is felt when one notices the various ‘genres’ of activities that happen on a normal working day, and also on weekends. As one approaches Powai from the Western Express highway end, the most striking feature that one notices is its lake. When I strolled near the lake area, a tranquil feeling stabilized my senses. The quite waters in front of me and the occasionally zooming of fast vehicles behind me defined Powai’s essence altogether. It’s the best place in Mumbai to see Mother Nature having a harmonious rendezvous with jet speed urban life of Mumbai! The promenade and green patches built besides the lake are well maintained by the civic bodies where kids, youth, couples and elderly enjoy with enthusiastic fervour.
Just as you drive further from the lake, one notices a high security campus wall of Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B) that touches the main road. It’s a government funded premier educational institution which was established in 1958. It’s dedicated to nurture the best brains of India in the areas of Engineering and Social Sciences. Besides enjoying the greenery and the lake’s ambiance, the students of IIT-B have their own social eco-system. To bring out the holistic best among students activities related to hostel life, tech and music fests, workshops, conferences and seminars, keep the 550 sq ft (2.2 kms) campus buzzing throughout the year. For more info about the institution: http://www.iitb.ac.in/en/about-iit-bombay
Near to the IIT-B campus is Hiranandani Garden Estate. Its Mumbai’s first planned township of international standards. Many food outlets and branded shopping stores have sprung up there. I happened to visit a unique restaurant, which is located in the estate, that was named ‘Mirchi & Mime’. The most unique feature of the restaurant is that the waiters employed at the restaurant are all hearing impaired. They are well-trained and are sharp to pick up the communication of their guests. This concept restaurant just doesn’t feed the stomach of their guests but also feeds their soul by creating respect for the hardworking waiters. The guest have to adjust and get customized to the sign language that the waiters know and only then can they place an order. After entering the restaurant, the dynamics of the sign language used for ordering is briefly explained by a manager (who is not hearing impaired). Using the sign language I ordered ‘Kothimbirwadi’ (a Maharashtrian starter dish) and custard pie. It was indeed a humbling experience to see deep sense of pride and reflection of high self-esteem radiating from every waiter who was serving at the restaurant. The restaurant’s promotional tagline is ‘Good food served quietly!’, which expresses the theme of the restaurant very well. More about the restaurant here: http://mirchiandmime.com/our-story/
The Hiranandani Gardens township of Powai is the most ‘happening’ area of Powai that’s spread over 250 acres of land. The model of the township is the first of its kind in Mumbai city. Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani is the mastermind of the architectural model and is the Managing Director of Hiranandani Group of Companies. There are residential areas, corporate parks, food joints and organized shopping areas on the lines of a U.S city centre. Many American and European ex-pats prefer living here as it’s a well-organized township which suits their needs. Having visited the U.S in 2010, I could see the resemblance between a typical U.S city’s downtown feel (minus the chill cold waves in the air!) and that of Hiranandani Garden township. Especially the neo-classical architectural resemblance is strikingly similar. For a glimpse into Hiranandani Gardens township here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXboGDQtAg
As I headed home, my visit to Powai flashed good memories of the day and feeling of a Sunday well spent. Indeed my ‘rendezvous with Powai’ educated me more about my city- Mumbai!
Photo credits: Sushma R and Shraddha C. Sankulkar. *Special Thanks to Sushma R for sharing her photographs.