Talk about sea breeze and some more freedom, the only thing that comes to the mind of a Mumbaikar will be ‘Marine Drive’. Some of us might have seen this structure in movies. The iconic landmark completed a century on Friday. Also known as the ‘Queen’s necklace’ because it looks like one when it gets lit up at night, this place is Mumbai’s pride. As the iconic curve completes 100 years, it is the celebration of a memory that Marine Drive has given to every person who visits this beautiful place.
A day at Marine Drive would be something like this. The morning starts with people who go for morning walks and yoga. In the afternoon, college kids bunk their lectures and make the promenade their ‘adda’. The evenings are for too-much-in-love couples, who sit by and watch the sunset together. It also serves as a livelihood for hawkers who sell tea and chanas. Monsoon is the best time for strolls as the water from the sea makes big splashes. At night, it sparkles like a queen’s necklace, shining bright like a diamond in Mumbai’s armour.
To mark this memorable occasion, the Marine Drive Residents Association (MDRA) succeeded in getting the General Post Office to come out with a postcard which was released at an event on Friday evening. A stone post near Chowpatty announces Marine Drive’s birthday with the simple inscription: “Kennedy Sea-Face commenced 18th December, 1915. Completed 1920”. Marine Drive has recently been nominated for a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning structures from the 19th and the 20th Century art deco style buildings.
Many big industrial tycoons and celebrities were seen walking along Marine Drive before they acquired their status and shifted to swanky cars. The legend Amitabh Bachchan, who hoped to make it big in Bollywood, settled for spending a night on the Marine Drive wall in his struggling days. The Marine Drive has witnessed heart breaks too; the stunning actress Suraiya reportedly threw a ring presented to her by Dev Anand into the Sea from the Marine Drive after their real life love-saga ended decades ago. Vinod Kambli loves to share his memory of the Marine Drive as he talks about how he used to hit sixes straight into the Arabia Sea while batting at Hindu Gymkhana. A braveheart, police constable Tukaram Ombale helped nab alive a Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, even as other bloodthirsty terrorists created mayhem at the other end, the Hotel Trident Oberoi. The Marine Drive has seen it all.
Marine Drive stands firm in all its glory, telling stories from the past and linking them to the future. You cannot just visit this place once, because it keeps calling you back to make yet another memory and cherish yet another moment.