I am a girl from the hills. The mountains, the greenery and the peace have always bought much joy in my life, but the moment I visited a beach many moons ago, I knew I was a water baby. The sight of sea, sand, sun and sky merging into one is pure magic. In fact, the seaside was one of the reasons I had to work in Mumbai. In the few weeks I have been here, I have come to believe that if New York and London have humongous parks to flaunt, aamchi Mumbai has beautiful beaches to show off. Okay, Juhu beach or Chowpatty aren’t exactly pristine and picture-perfect, yet they epitomise myriad shades of this colourful city. But what fascinates me most is how the sea has come to mean different things to different people.

Don’t know what I am talking about? Just spend one entire weekend on a beach. I did that once and what an experience it was! At dawn break, have you noticed how beaches turn into a paradise for fitness addicts? Go to any of those beaches and you are sure to see hot and aspiring-to-be-hot men and women of all ages and sizes dedicatedly walking, jogging or sprinting on the sandy turf. Also, if you are a dog lover, you get to see amazing pedigree dogs prancing up and down the beach, taking advantage of the space that they otherwise must be craving in box-like-apartments. And who can forget the sound of laughter coming from different directions, thanks to the many laughter clubs?

By noon, I figured a corner with shade in the afternoon sun, next to a guy selling coconut water as I waited for the sun to say goodbye for the day. As I gazed around, I also happened to spot a cute guy who, I must say, like me, was away from the crowd, penning down something as he gazed into the sea — perhaps a poet or an author. Of course, there were also college goers, who must have bunked lectures, gossiping away but it was otherwise dead quiet where one could literally hear the waves whooshing away.

As the evening set in, I saw the calmness of the afternoon metamorphose into a more vibrant, slightly chaotic mela. With every passing hour, the place got more crowded — youngsters taking selfies, moms with kids, couples trying to find some space and more.

Soon, it was not the sea, but fancy food stalls that drew locals in large numbers to the beaches. From bhelpuri to dosa to gola to pav bhaji to paan and what not, there was so much food out there. With everyone thronging around the food stalls, it was mayhem — an absolute contrast to the morning calm.

Walking away from the cackling crowd towards the calming waters, I realised the sea is a reminder to the always-in-a-rush Mumbaikars to stop by and make time for themselves. Each one has a different approach — some enjoy the chaos; some, like me, come here for the peace, but it offers the much-needed balance to the chaotic city. And it’s this diversity and serenity that makes Mumbai’s beaches all the more beautiful!

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