I looked through the small window of the aeroplane and I could see the city lights shining bright. As we got lower, I noticed tall buildings and skyscrapers and could make out the cars running along the highways as well. After a short while, I was at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. At last, I had landed in the city of dreams, Mumbai!
It was my dream to visit the Bollywood of India. I had read a lot about Mumbai in my school books, in newspapers and in magazines. So like everybody else, I was interested to know why Mumbai attracts the youth!
My first morning in Mumbai was a bright and sunny day in the midst of the monsoon season. The sun was shining but the temperatures were minimal. We were lucky to have got such beautiful weather. So we decided to visit the places of interest in Mumbai. My uncle hired a car and gave us company. We visited the Gateway of India first. It is a monument built during the early 20th century, to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to India in 1911. Close by is the Taj Hotel, the landmark monument of Mumbai. When I look at this hotel, it reminds me of the November 2011 attack. I remembered all the victims of the attack and said a prayer for them.We even took a boat ride around the Arabian Sea. We then went to Nariman Point and visited the fish aquarium located nearby. Then we visited the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. It was one of the best experiences I had in Mumbai.
In Bandra, we went to see Shah Rukh Khan's house – Mannat, Salman Khan’s Galaxy Apartments and Rekha's 'Basera'. I even spotted 'Antilia' – the house of business baron Mukesh Ambani and his family. The house has a unique shape and is a like a tall tower. I also saw 'Jalsa' – the house of megastar Amitabh Bachchan. We then visited Juhu Beach and had spicy snacks at the numerous food stalls. It was sad to see the beach littered with plastic bottles and packets. While we were going from one spot to another, I saw how a few slums were now being turned into well organised buildings under the initiative of the Mumbai Government. It is good to see that every citizen has been given the equal right to live with the basic civic amenities.
The following day, we went to Lonavla and Khandala, popular hill stations in Maharashtra. That day it was raining a little. The zigzag roads of the Mumbai- Pune Highway, in between the hills, reminded me of my journey to Shillong. There we visited the Sunil’s Wax Museum. We also bought the famous Lonavla chikki from the shops there.
In Mumbai, we were staying at Thane, a nearby district of Mumbai. Thane is also known as the first place to be connected by a railway line from Bombay in 1853. And now, so many years later, the Metro railway line is under construction. We spent a full day at Thane, saw the Hiranandani Estate that was nearby. The architecture of the buildings was in classic European style which made them look beautiful and stand out in the crowd of other buildings.
We had kept the last two days for fun and so we visited all the shopping malls in the locality. We visited the Vivyana Mall, the Korum Mall, R City Mall, Infinity Mall, Inorbit Mall, etc., and many more shopping destinations of Mumbai. There are lots of mini marts as well for the low-income groups. I even took a taste of seafood at a restaurant and some chat at Prashant’s Corner in Thane. On a Sunday morning, we also went to watch a movie, and played a lot of games in a video parlour.
I loved my stay in Mumbai. On the whole, my trip to the Hollywood of India was great with so many sweet memories.