Recently, in an attempt to escape the humdrum of the city life, my friends and I booked a last minute trip to an even more fast-paced city, Mumbai. (Yeah, we're not the brightest lot in the world, but we are definitely one of the more impulsive ones).
Now one of the things Bollywood movies do get right is that good company, alcohol, and an escape from your everyday life is a near-perfect recipe for a good time.
And the second thing that Bollywood movies get right is the magical charm of Mumbai's Marine Drive.
This wasn't my first time in Mumbai. It wasn't even the first time that I visited the Marine Drive. But this was the first time I truly experienced it.
This was the time that I spent hours just sitting at Marine Drive (or what felt like the edge of the ocean) and let the sound of waves, mindless chatter, and cool winds brush over me. And I fell in love.
A vast stretch overlooking the ocean, a deafening silence even in the midst of all the chaos, and the inescapable feeling of peace - Marine Drive gifts all this and more.
I've had friends who've stayed in Mumbai tell me stories of how this was the spot they came to, just to relax, and I finally understood them.
I could see how, whether it is dealing with a break-up or a bad day at work, enjoying an unexpected surprise or a first date, Marine Drive is like the perfect canvas to throw life's situations at.
Because at the end of it, a visit to the Marine Drive tends to leave you a little more in peace than your original state of mind.
Yes, driving across the wide stretch at night will provide the breathtakingly beautiful view of 'The Queen's Necklace'.
Yes, the mornings are perfect to watch crabs scuttle around rocks, and the afternoons to watch adventurous souls scurry on those same rocks for the perfect picture.
Yes, the simple yet savory delights of keri, chana jor garam, and chai does feel like food for the soul.
And yet there is something else about this place. Something that is hard to pin, and even harder to capture in words.
After all, outside of Mumbai, you have cleaner beaches to laze on, pristine riverbanks to enjoy views from, and countless places to capture the perfect setting sun. So what is it that makes Marine Drive special?
If you ask a hundred people, you'll receive a hundred different answers. Hell, even amongst the five of us, we all experienced Marine Drive differently.
Perhaps that's what the beauty of Marine Drive is all about. The fact that there is this one spot, in the middle of possibly one of the fastest moving cities in the world, where your heart feels content.
The one place that is more than just another 'hangout spot', because you don't always need a company to experience the feeling it invokes.
For the first time in all these years, I truly understood how you can find an escape even in the middle of mayhem.
Though I'm a true blue dilli ki kudi in a lot of ways, Marine Drive will always have a little bit of my heart.