Mumbai Memoir 92 – Marine Drive- Jewel in Mumbai’s Crown!
A late evening walk at the Marine Drive promenade is a beautiful experience for one and all. The rows of street lights that adorn the entire stretch of the 3.6 km boulevard, creates a magical effect on its admirer. On a moonlit night, one can witness the romance between the waves of the Arabian Sea and the mischievous winds that kiss each other in the outstretched bay. Fondly referred as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’, the rows of glittering street lights create an illusion of a beautiful necklace, that adorns Mumbai’s most prestigious location- The Marine Drive. For a passenger observing from an aeroplane above, the C- shaped spectacle may seem as if, an attractive lady is mysteriously smiling back from the shores of Mumbai.
Been born and brought up in South Mumbai, Marine Drive was always a stone’s throw away from my abode. During college days, my friends, who lived in Central or North Mumbai, had major fascination for the ‘cool’ promenade. Probably the reason for the ‘coolness’ was the feeling of freedom being experienced as one sits by the bay, as one witnesses the end of urban living and the start of a natural marine world.
The Mumbai skyline seen from Marine Drive is amazing. Even today when I surf my eyes over the skyline, the location that intrigues me most, is the ‘Governor’s Bungalow’. Currently, the Governor of Maharashtra (State in which I live) resides at ‘Raj Bhavan’, which is the official residence of all the Governors of the State. Prior to Indian Independence the bungalow was the official residence for British Governors of Bombay Province. Since my teenage years I use to wonder about the lush green exterior of the bungalow area which stands at the tip of the rock. Two years back, when I read in the newspapers, of the discovery of a hidden bunker beneath the ‘Raj Bhavan’, my curiosity to visit the place grew in leaps and bounds. The British era bunker was reported to be 150-meter long which is spread over an area of more than 5000 sq. ft. Gazing at the Governor’s bungalow, during my evening walks, I have always dreamt that someday I will meaningfully visit the bungalow and would actually will see its interiors! Amen!
Besides having a view of the beautiful Mumbai skyline, the location of the Marine Drive area is favourable for occasional events like Mumbai Marathon and Defence parade that is conducted on National anniversaries. The Mumbai Monsoon too is blissfully witnessed by sitting or getting drenched at the promenade. Everybody has their respective memories attached to the Marine Drive. Some may have proposed marriage to their sweethearts here, some may have celebrated their birthdays along with their friends, some may have lend their shoulder or ear for someone who they care for, and some would be visiting the Marine Drive just for their evening walk. Whatever the occasion or reason, the place has a special place in everyone’s heart. A very warm memory that I nurture about Marine Drive is a film shoot of which I was part of. I was casted in a year 2000, Film’s Division produced, documentary film titled ‘Aaj Ki Naari’. The film was about ‘Women Achievers of India’ and their struggle. I had a symbolic role in the film. I had to run through a flying flock of pigeons, symbolising ‘freedom’ of expression & women empowerment. The entire shoot happened in the backdrop of Mumbai’s skyline at Marine Drive. Here’s the link for the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdBiwEvJxeM&t=645s (you shall see my cinematic glimpse at 11:39th min of the film). Like me, many Mumbaikar’s and visiting tourists may have numerous Marine Drive related memories which would be close to their heart. Ever since the first construction work of the Marine Drive boulevard took place in 1865, the place became a growing hub of
people to meet, exercise, celebrate, love and above all rejuvenate in their own small or big way. Back in the 19th century, the late philanthropist Bhagoji Keer & Pallonji Mistry, both ‘sons of the soil’, were instrumental in creating this monumental location for Mumbaikars. Little did the creators of this boulevard knew how their effort would put life into the heart of South Mumbai for centuries to come!
Shraddha C. Sankulkar, Satya Sai Pratishtan, Hindustan Times and free internet resources.
eroi Trident & NCPA apartments.