Mumbai has a personality and character of its own. Yet, every individual can derive new meanings and attributes with their own experiences. In a city like this, where people battle the metropolitan hustle every day, finding time and space for oneself is almost impossible. Whether it’s your first time in the city or it has been your home for a long time, there are a lot of things one could do amidst the commotion that can give you the “me time” you need and deserve. Here are a few things I could think of if one has a day to themselves in the city of dreams. You may perhaps realise your dreams on your personal escapade.
1. Cycle at Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
Riding eco-friendly in the greenery is refreshing
Cycle through the Sanjay National Gandhi Park at the break of dawn. The feeling of being in the middle of lush greenery will not only help you breathe better but will also rejuvenate you. There is a provision made with smoothly functioning bicycles which can be rented by the hour and a fully refundable deposit. Admire the miracles of nature and if you have extra time that you’d rather spend at SGNP, then wander into the Kanheri Caves or take a safari. If you’re extremely lucky, you might very well spot a lion.
2. Sail with the Gateway Club of Sailing:
Sailing is a less discovered activity to do, not too crowded and always a learning experience
The Gateway Sailing Club of Mumbai at Colaba has several provisions for people who want to be closer to the sea’s horizon and farther from the city. Cruising around several lighthouses and some interesting trivia about them is fun. A few splashes of water, good music, and some snacks are all that you’ll need to keep you company. The club at The Gateway of India also has courses for enthusiasts and amateur sailors and windsurfers.
3. Enjoy the essence of an Irani Cafe:
Bun Maska at an Irani Cafe is a great snack for a quick bite
Take a break and get yourself some simple yet delightful bun maska and tea at a nearby Irani Cafe. Mumbai boasts of several of these homely set-ups and scrumptious food. Interact with the owners and I am sure you will get to hear stories about generations of legacy. Even if you’re not a tea lover, this is one of those experiences that lets you be a part of the city and gets you closer to it.
4. Watch a live performance:
Live performance audience
Watch a live performance at the iconic Prithvi Theatre or National Centre of Performing Arts. Enjoying art in its best form gives you the opportunity to think about it in retrospection and cherish its simple complexities. A music gig or a standup comedy act can be enjoyed at places like Bluefrog, Mehboob Studios, Bonobo, Canvas Laugh Factory, etc.
5. Buy a book from Flora Fountain:
Heaven for avid readers and easy on the pocket-books!
Buy an old book from one of the stalls at Flora Fountain in CST. Check out books like The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry, Breathless in Bombay by Murzban F. Shroff; few of the finest books written with a setup in Mumbai. Write your name on it and treasure it as a souvenir from the time you had a good day all by yourself. These stalls boast of a collection of decades-old original copies, some new pirated books along with the old school charm of second-hand books.
6. Go shopping:
Antique shops in Colaba Causeway have some things worth grabbing
Street shopping is one of those things you can do to indulge yourself. From Hill Road, and Linking Road to Fashion Street, Chor Bazaar and Colaba Causeway, one can find a variety of apparel, shoes, accessories, home decor, antiques and other utility items for all types of people. Not only are these options pocket-friendly but they allow you to go that extra mile for self-love.
7. Indulge in some savouries:
Get yourself something scrumptious that you’d anyway not share
Hit a bakery, a cosy cafe or patisserie to treat yourself with some croissants and rolls, a good beverage and the perfect dessert. Sit and sink in your own thoughts, invest in a conversation or read that book you got. Try out places like Le 15 patisserie, Theobroma, Merwans, La Folie, etc.
8. Go someplace quiet:
A library is a great place for peace and quiet, even if it’s for a short nap!
Visit a library or a museum for the silence. The architecture of the British Council Library, the David Sassoon library, Kitab Khaana, Strand Bookstore and the various crossword outlets will be a good way for you to rest before you take on to the city. Not only can you read books and pass some time away, but random conversations with strangers reading interesting books could give you a good story to take back.
9. Listen to the waves from the shore:
The most spoken about part of Mumbai basks in its glory throughout the year
Walkthrough Marine Drive, Carter Road, Band Stand or the Gateway of India to breathe in the saline wind, an essence that you will find nowhere else in the world. If you can, watch a sunrise at the Gateway of India and a sunset at Marine Drive for your day to round up.
10. Grab a beer:
Leopold’s is one of the many places in the city where one can spend hours at a stretch, losing track of time
Last but not the least; grab yourself a beer at the famous Leopold’s Cafe, Colaba Social, Toto’s Garage, British Brewing Company, Lagerbay or Barking Deer before you call it a night. Take the time to map out some things you would like to do the next morning.
The best part about Mumbai is that it invites you wholly. Though you have to be the judge of the people around you and work your options wisely, some experiences, good or otherwise only grow into becoming stories to be shared and reminisced.