Getting to spend a day in the business capital of India is a rejuvenation in itself. Having an interview shortlist from one of the most renowned business schools of the world, I had this unique opportunity to explore Mumbai.
One can get an aerial view of the island city while preparing to land. Various landmasses separated by water bodies make a treat for the eyes. Closing in, the renowned tall buildings of the city are recognised. Further as we swoop our way in the air to get to the ground, we see the densely populated nature of the city. The ground filled with small houses and perfectly blended with the luxurious buildings of the city. At the touchdown, one can feel the welcome offered by the city - ‘Swagat aahe’!!
Traversing the city towards south, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link is an interesting linkage. The trusses and spikes of the five kilometre long sea bridge makes the eyes marvel at its architectural prowess. The five minute cab ride over the sea makes one want to force one’s head out of the sun-roof and scream one’s lungs out.
The value of the surroundings keeps on rising from Worli to Pedder Road to Nepean Sea Road. We finally spot the Antilia among the other buildings - a landmark indeed. The elegance of the Victorian style buildings meets the eye of a history lover. Finally, we reach the signature of the city - the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace. The pigeons flying in unison make for an epic photographic moment. The crashing waves of the Arabian Sea would head a ferry towards the entrance of the city. The magnificent Taj retains its coveted spot of the most prestigious luxury hotel of India. Standing from 1903, the Taj has stood the test of time and has its fair share of dark moments. A symbol of resilience, its grandeur is reflected in the radiant Italian marble flooring. The palace, with its opulence encourages high and noble thought. Frequented by foreigners, it provides a royal golden bird image of India. The magnificent wall fountain serves as a heartfelt tribute to the victims of the unfortunate terrorist attacks.
After a nice interview at the Taj, it was time to explore the evening and night life of the city. To experience a confluence of cultures, I headed over to the National Centre of Performing Arts - the starting point of the iconic Marine Drive. The fusion of the Indian ‘kathak’ and the Spanish ‘flamenco’ mesmerised the audience. As the dusk sets in, the number of people flocking the Marine Drive promenade keeps on increasing. Everyone is struck with awe observing the illuminated ‘Queen’s Necklace’. While walking, people of all ages, classes, religions and regions can be seen. All of them having their own way of enjoyment. A little girl can be seen practicing skating while the old couple are seen hanging out with their grand-children. It is with this backdrop, I, facing the black waves of the Arabian Sea, let the city sink in me.
As my day comes to a close, I head towards the airport, revisiting the places on my onward route. The Terminal 2 recreates the vibe of the city through its splendid interiors. As I take off, I look at the splendour of the city shining with gold and jewels and then see it fade into the distance.