Ah Mumbai! That great metropolis. That colossal melting pot of cultures and civilizations. That hotbed of industry and finance. The city that cares for its inhabitants. The city that caters to every whim and fancy of its resilient populace as long as that populace is rich and influential or moronic and easily manipulatable.
Indeed Mumbai is a city of dreams.
Wait! You disagree with me?
The roads have holes in them you say? The trains are overfull? The police are corrupt? You got hit by Alistair Pereira too? Wadala bridge has been blocked for over three months and you drive by every morning wondering when work ever happens because, god only knows, how come you never see any construction workers around? EVER?
Petty cribs all of them.
For in return for your little troubles Mumbai gives you the largest stretches of public make-out locations the modern world has ever seen.
Never since the ancient civilizations of Rome (which rose and fell very frequently if you know what I mean), Greece and that yummy little place near Trivandrum, has the world seen such public expressions of love and passion and, never since Ben Hur, the ability to balance two extremely determined individuals on just one two-wheeler.
It is no secret. There is something about the fading evening light, the gentle sea-side breeze, the mild aroma of salt, surf, sea and suspended sewage mixed with industrial waste that makes Mumbai’s young lovers flock to our sea-side locales in search of unrequited love. I often spot them when I am on my twilight walks. But I never bother them. I respect people’s privacy and quickly go home when I have run out of memory in my camera phone.
Hotspots like Bandra Bandstand have seen lovers flock to them for centuries. In fact I recently came across this little paragraph in a very old and authentic book about Mumbai:
“Thence I was at Bombay Bandstand and I spotted what looked like a writhing silhouette. Intrigued by the vacillations I proceeded henceforth only to find it was a merry young couple engaged in the most divine coochie-woochie. The intrepid traveller I am I stayed long enough to make notes and sketches. (Alas one day man will find an easier way to do capture the wonders of nature. A digital camera perhaps.) Wheneth she proceeded to undoeth her Shaina N.C. tunic I retreated forthwith to the Cofee Daye adjunct.”
-Cornelius Hefner, “Lonelee Planette BomBaye 1764”
Of course this does make going for sightseeing with your parents a little awkward.
Dad at Bandra Fort: What are they doing Sidin?
Sidin: Err… umm… err… yoga…?!
Dad: Oh ok. (Unsaid: Loser! They are making out!)
But over the years Bombay has served up a whole plethora of similarly ubiquitous yet private lover’s lanes. And new stretches are coming up everyday especially in the suburbs. For instance the latest hang-out is that portion of winding road near Bandra Reclamation.
A true lover’s haven that is.
What is most astonishing is that the large proximity of thousands of similarly inclined couples does not seem to dampen the spirits of our merry cavorters one little bit.
Now I know exactly what you are thinking. Alien abductions!
If aliens ever needed to observe human species propagating in their natural environment all they need to do is pick up a couple from Reclamation along with a sturdy two-wheeler. Put them in a largish glass case and they are good to go!
Alien abductor: Excuse me
AA: This is what is called, (looking at clipboard), “Heavy Petting?”
AA: Thanks. Proceed.
But if you thought the only the Mumbai sea had the power to host frolicsome masses of young nubile couples you are so wrong. And obviously you have not travelled on the A-1, A-2 and A-4 BEST busses. These air-conditioned buses are often completely empty by the time they reach their last stops and only a few people like me and that COUPLE WHO WAS TOTALLY MAKING OUT IN THE LAST SEAT ALL THE WAY FROM PRABHADEVI TO CHURCHGATE were left.
I was disappointed.
These buses are meant for public transportation. Mothers, children and families travel in them. Making out in such environs is not just a little kinky but also extremely risky.
And I had forgotten mobile phone dammit!
But no matter. Tomorrow is another day and THAT is the next A-1 coming down the road.
Bye and wish me luck!