Yes, the first rains did arrive before time this year. Bombay’s pace slowed down and brought back, the not so pleasant memories of 26/7. The rainy season may not be a favorite with Mumbaikars who commute over a long distance from home to work as they have to travel with wet commuters, trudge through pools of water, struggle to open their umbrellas in the wind and reach their offices very wet. Nor for people who live on the streets, slums and low lying areas as they are fearful of water rising and entering their homes.
But on the flip side, Mumbai rains do have its own charm and romance. Here is a list of things to do in the rains but as a true-blue Mumbaikar don't miss work and indulge in these activities. May be, on that Saturday or Sunday when it pours cats and dogs…
Get Wet (For the adventurous, in pouring rain)
- Take a walk on Marine Drive, Worli Sea Face, Carter Road, Bandstand or the Gateway of India, You will get doubly wet with the sea waves splashing and the rain. (Dont lean or walk on the parapet,you could fall in with the strong winds).
- Sit on the front seat of a BEST double decker bus in pouring rain leaving the windows open. (Don’t do this if there are other passengers sitting behind you)
- Walk around in the ‘chikhal’ in any of the Maidans (Azad, Oval, Cross, Shivaji Park)
- Play cricket in any of the maidans or gymkhanas. Yes, go around on a Sunday to any of these places and you will see many die-hard cricket freaks playing in the rain. Football freaks can play football.
- Stand by at the door of a local train. (Be careful and don’t lean out, the wind and speed of the train will make the rain get to you anyway)
- Just walk around without an umbrella/raincoat in your neighborhood.
Get Eating Out (For the adventurous, in pouring rain else it wont have the same effect)
- Have chai and bun maska at an Irani restaurant or just plain chai at a roadside chaiwala.
- Have some piping hot Manchow or Hot and Sour soup at some Chinese joint.
- Have a Cream of Mushroom with Celery Soup at Café Churchill or Mocambo.
- Have a garam garam batata wada with chai at a roadside tapri or at a Kutumb Sakhi outlet. They make very good batata wadas.
- Have kanda or batata bhaji (fritters not subzi) at a roadside tapri.
- Have garma garam kande pohe at Vinay in Girgaum or at Aaswad/Prakash in Dadar.
- Have bhutta with masala and lime at any of the Chowpattys – Juhu, Dadar or Girgaum
- Have hot coffee at a place where the rain almost comes in and hits you. Try the Cafe Coffee Day's outlets at Chowpatty, Just Around The Corner, Bandstand, Carter Road or the Barista outlet opposite the New Empire theatre and at Bandstand or the Mocha at Bandra and Juhu.
- Have a toasted cheese sandwich at the local sandwichwala
- Dine at an ‘open’ restaurant like the Star Lit Café, Prithvi Café,Koyla,Sheesha and Salt Water Grill.
- Have some steaming rasam at Café Mysore in King’s Circle or at any other South Indian restaurant you love.
Get Outdoors (For the adventurous, not necessarily in pouring rain)
- Go for a trek. Lots of places to trek around Bombay where you will see lush green hills and waterfalls. Go to places like Tungareshwar, Chinchoti falls, Palasdhari, Bhimashankar, Matheran, Khandala, Lonavla, Karjat, Malshej Ghat and Kamshet.
- Take a walk at the Borivali National Park, Mahalakshmi Race Course, Aarey Milk Colony, Vihar and Powai lakes.
- Take a BEST bus ride on a picturesque route like 123,108( Marine Drive), 398( through Aarey milk colony),82,89 ( Worli sea face)
- Go to Esselworld for some wet rides or to Water Kingdom
- If all of the above is too far, then just go to the nearest garden in your area and soak in the greenery. Go to Navy Nagar area, Hanging Gardens, PDP, Colaba Woods, BPT Park, Horniman Circle Gardens, S.K.Patil Udyan (Charni Road), John Baptista gardens on Mazgaon hill, Joggers Park (Bandra/Andheri), Diamond Garden (Chembur), Kings Circle Garden, Sion Circle Garden, Yogi Hills Garden(Mulund) and so on.
- Go to Manori, Aksa, Madh, Gorai or Marve beaches. Don’t go swimming, as the waters can get very choppy.
- Take a train ride to Khandala/Lonavla or Igatpuri. Get a window seat and absorb the the greenery and watch the waterfalls while passing through rain soaked tunnels.
Get Indoors (For the non-adventurous, in pouring rain)
- Just stare out of your door, window, verandah, balcony and watch the rain.
- Listen to music and play rain themed songs like ‘Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain, ‘Ab Ke Sawaan’, ‘I wish it would rain down’, 'Rain drops keep falling on my head', Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si' and the likes or if you love classical music, listen to some 'Raag Malhar' compositions.
- Make bhajiya’s and chai and eat them whilst watching the rains or television
- Read a book and if you want to read something keeping in tune with the season, read ‘Chasing the Monsoon’ by Alexander Frater.
- Just stay in bed and listen to the rain bang onto your ledge/roof.
- Go and see a Museum. There are many in Mumbai. The Bhau Daji Lad Museum at Byculla, the BEST Museum at Wadala, The Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangharalaya at Kala Ghoda, The Monetary Museum at Fort, The Naval Museum at Ballard Estate, Mani Bhavan Museum at Gamdevi, (Though you will have to step out of your house for this, as you will still be indoors- this has been put in the indoor category)
Get Helping (For the adventurous and non-adventurous,in pouring rain or no rain)
- Give plastic sheets/umbrellas/rain-coats to the needy. It would be most useful during the rains. Check if NGOs collect them for distribution.
- Serve all your visitors hot chai with bhajiyas
- Shelter a stray dog or a cat.
- Plant a sapling and see it flourish in the rains.
- Reach an injured bird to an animal NGO. In the rainy season, you might see many young ones falling out of their nests.
Feel free to add to the list