July 1 2009. Momentous day for all us Mumbaikars. Many called us (read me) insane. A bridge was being opened, and I was feeling sad that I couldn't be there to go cruising on it. For me though it was not just a bridge. It was the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, called a modern engineering marvel by the designers. Now, whether it is an engineering marvel or whatever, is something left for my civil engineer friends to debate, comparing the Golden Gate with BWSL, and so on. For me, the BWSL (Bandra Worli Sea Link) was something that would redefine the Mumbai landscape forever. Why am I so attached to some piece of infrastructure being developed in Mumbai? Well, the answer lies in the fact that I - like almost all of my friends who sat together lamenting the fact that we were away from the sea link - am a true Mumbai-phile - one who loves anything and everything about Mumbai - from the Vada Pav to the rains, from the people to the trains! So, yesterday while I was finally on my way home, my list of things to do included an 'I HAVE TO VISIT THE SEA LINK' entry. Getting home, after downing my cup of filter coffee, I started 'pataoing' dad to take me on the sea link. Heavy rains rocked Mumbai all of yesterday, and even more rains were forecast for today. My dad was a little wary. He wasn't too keen on agreeing to the plan up front, but, the blackmailing power of a homesick girl coming home after 3 whole months is rather immense, (as dad soon found out).
Today, as though on cue, it rained, and rained but thankfully not as much as it did yesterday! So after some more rounds of pataoing and promising never to ask him to go driving in colossal rains again, dad relented. We decided to leave at 9 pm, go to the sea link, approach it from Worli and return through Bandra. Ta daa!! It didn't rain all evening, and I thought that perhaps I had sold too low - my promise of never asking dad to take me on a drive in pouring rain (asking him to let me drive in a drizzle, let alone a downpour would be imbecile, let alone futile!!!) was perhaps too high a price! Call it winner's curse if you will? But as though the rain Gods were reading my nefarious thoughts, it started to rain, and rain it did indeed! We were somewhere crossing Worli Naka to enter Sea Face when it rained like the clouds were out to empty their store on just this one night. My dad was driving at the pace of, well a snail, since he could not see beyond his own nose! He looked at the rear view mirror and gave me a look that conveyed a whole host of emotions ranging from ' I told you so' to 'GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR' to 'Pampering hamein kis mode pe le aaya......' A sheet of drops thudded down the car, while I chose to maintain a dignified silence. As we drove on, we realized that we had entered Sea Face, and there, slowly moving away from my field of vision was the Sea Link on my right. I screamed out! 'We missed it.. It's gone, now we'll hit Haji Ali and have to retrace all the way back!!!' Exasperated, dad just said, " The entry is on the other side of the road. It's called the Bandra Worli Sea link for a reason - The ease of entry and exit is from Bandra to Worli, not the other way round. We would need to traverse the whole length of the sea face, to make a U turn and take the road that leads up to your dearest bridge." Afraid that any protests might result in either me being 'de-carred' (as in de-planed) or in a U turn that'd lead back home instead of to the sea link, once again, I chose my dignified silence. The rain continued to pelt down mercilessly, the speed of the wiper was 10 times that of my car, the guy ahead of us was even slower, and the guy behind us decided to pull up to the side flashing his distress signal. My mind kept screaming ' Dignified Silence, Dignified Silence'. Finally, we reached the curb, and took a U turn, and traversed the whole Sea Face again, to hit the entry point of the sea link.
A wave of emotion swept through me and forgetting my resolve of 'dignified silence' I just let out a whistle of awe! Yes, it is an imposing structure, and the feel of whizzing on it, while imagining the sea underneath was truly immense. Add to that, the fact that the rain was pelting us from up above, while we could imagine the sea lashing at the pillars of the bridge from down below. It felt like creative poetry of sorts! I know, some would call me crazy, but who cares, it felt awesome! Smooth roads, no congestion, people driving like civil human beings, felt like as if I was in another plane altogether! And then we reached the section of the suspension bridge. The part of the bridge that is generally seen in all pictures and images - the picture that evokes images and the inevitable comparison to Golden Gate. the gradual triangular picture of the cables slowly rising up, culminating at the peak of the pillar and then descending back in a perfectly isosceles manner honestly left me thinking about Rembrandt! Ok Rembrandt is perhaps an overstatement, let me say Rothko. (Who else models pictures on geometrical shapes???) And then within around 10minutes, we were at the end of the link, and at Bandra! Fast and fabulous was what came into my mind, and I thought back about the numerous times I spent almost an hour and a half in the bus to college at Bandra! If only I were a few years younger and were going to college at Bandra now, I would wake up at 8 for an 8.15 class!!! Well, if I were wishing things like that, I guess I have a separate wish list. Anyway, I somehow felt that I had paid my respects to a new development in Maximum city, given the due that the creation needed.
But somehow I felt I wanted to do this again, perhaps approach BWSL from B instead of W??? So, all through our return journey back home from Bandra, I embarked on another pataoing session, this time careful to avoid mentions of promises, and monsoons, but rather playing the 'thank you sooooo much', 'I am soon heading back out of here' card, much to my dad's chagrin. The pataoing is still on, and when it produces the desired results, I will tell you about my BWSL part 2 - the daytime story... Till then.. tata...