The city had changed. And changed a lot. Here's a look at it through my eyes.
Landing at the airport, at half past ten in the evening, the thoughts of a delayed baggage arrival plagued my mind. But to my very surprise, the baggage arrived within seconds of me standing besides the conveyer belt.
It was end May and Mumbai was sizzling. Sitting in the front seat of the taxi meant sitting inside a pressure cooker. I caught onto some mammoth structures on the way home - a mix of hotels, apartments and what nots. Mumbai had developed by a long way.
The next day was office day. And train travel after a long time. Well, the trains have changed - I think from AC to DC - which is supposed to be more energy efficient.
Apart from that, nothing much has changed. The trains were bulging with the populace. It was a struggle to get into the compartment and a clamber to get out. What happens inside is anybody's guess. And for those standing on the footboard, their life is on the line.
It reminded me of a certain Shashi Tharoor - who was pulled out of his ministerial office in Delhi - for tom-toming that he had traveled Cattle Class across India on a plane. Mr. Tharoor has possibly not traveled by the trains across Mumbai and India, and does not actually know what is Cattle Class.
Every day, I have a bath 4 times a day. If you are surprised, it includes once in the morning, and twice while traveling in either directions, and finally once when I'm back home. It's end June, and the rains are yet to bless us with their full glory. It means more sweat, and much more sweat in the rising humidity.
Next stop, Dadar. Taking a taxi to Worli was a task in itself, for finding an empty taxi was a challenge in itself. Rows of taxi with office goers made their way to the offices dotted across the city. Finally, I managed to get one and reached my destination.
The office place itself stunned me. A BMW and a Audi A8, standing at the entrance welcomed a humble me. I was impressed. What disheartened me was the fact that such plush cars stood just meters away from very simple homes.
Mumbai dreams, and dreams in style. One morning as I was walking to my office, I saw a boy and two ladies talking excitedly about the Lamborghini's. They were impressed by its looks, and were possibly amazed by its small height, and awed by the enormous cost. One lady asked - What's this car? The guy replied - "It's the Tarzan Car".
Mystery solved, the group moved ahead.
Mumbai is known as the city that never sleeps. Whether you are coming at 8PM or 9PM or 10PM or 11PM, the city is always buzzing. The trains are full of people, the buses, taxis and rickshaws are traveling in full occupancy. On my first day back, I thought that getting a bus or rickshaw back home, at 10 in the night would be quite easy. How wrong I was?
A queue of 200 odd people welcomed me, and it took a full 20 minutes for my turn to take a ride back home. And the count has been increasing steadily.
The city has grown vertically. Looking out of the train, I see hundreds of buildings which have dotted the skyline. And yes, they are sky scrapers. While 4 floors was a reality a decade or so back, more than 15 floors is a practicality today.
Every day, on my back home, I take the blessings of many Gods - including Lord Ganesha at Siddhivinayak, and many more. I also pray to God Almighty to influence my destiny.
All in all, Mumbai has changed. Yet, it's inherent underframe remains unchanged. And let me tell you - It's addictive. Long Live Maximum City.