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BACK in Dehradun, life after sunset meant staying at home, reading books, watching TV and some family time. It wasn’t exactly thrilling, but one learnt to live with it. In Mumbai, life is more chaotic and colourful. Of course, there are many who insist the city’s nightlife is nothing like what it used to be. But then I don’t know any different, so what I experienced on my first all-night out in the city was magical. Mumbai is an open playground for nocturnal souls.
One Saturday evening, I pestered Samira to show me around post-midnight. So, in Cinderella style, at the stroke of 12, we took off to this famous party place in town. First, I suggested we take along Mia, but on second thoughts riding a bike at night wasn’t exactly a good idea so we fell back on the ever reliant public transport. I have already acknowledged that the transport system here is simply out of this world. Imagine getting a cab or an auto at 3 am! In Mumbai, it’s as easy as getting one at 3 pm.
Coming back to my evening, if you think Mumbai’s local trains are crowded, welcome to the 500 square feet of space, known as the town’s most happening club. I wondered, ‘How was everyone able to breathe with so much crowd around?’, but people seemed extremely comfortable with all the shoving and pushing as they swayed to the groovy music that the DJ was dishing out for them. I am so used to the concept of space and here, everything is smaller than the size of a typical army quarter I am used to. But Mumbaikars take it in their stride and enjoy life to the fullest. Another loud cheer to the spirit of this city.
After a few of hours of dancing, Samira, I and a few other friends decided to get out as we couldn’t afford the food the club offered. I was set to go home and make a quick round of ready-to-eat noodles, but surprise, surprise! Welcome to the real nightlife of Mumbai — yummy anda bhurji, lip smacking rolls or finger licking kebabs. It will never let anyone go hungry. Our food trail lasted almost two hours and let me spare you details of what and how much I gobbled.
After a happy tummy, my friends were ready to retire. But good food had awakened my senses and I wanted to continue my night prowl. Samira didn’t have a choice but to join me. The sight of lesser traffic was thrilling. As we reached Marine Drive, Mumbai was back in its original avatar — vibrant and crowded, but not like what it is in the day. There were enthusiastic souls like me just chilling out and there were entrepreneurial hawkers, chaiwalas, paanwalas selling all the essentials needed to stay awake in the dead of night. And yep, the ever-ready-to-serve city cops taking routine rounds, so no one disturbed the temporary calm in the otherwise chaotic city.
Just sitting at Marine Drive, watching the sea as the city sleeps and waiting for the sun to go up — so I can go to sleep — felt beautiful and liberating! Now I get it why Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. I think the city doesn’t want you to sleep and miss out on the beautiful life experiences that only Mumbai can offer.
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