Saturday, July 8, 2017

Soulie Saturday #12: Intimate Moments With The One (Monsoony Marine Drive, Mumbai)

Monsoon at the 3.6 km long boulevard Marine Drive, South Mumbai
Dark grey monsoon skies at Marine Drive, South Mumbai.

The sky never ceases to amaze me. As I sit on the narrow dry promenade doubling up as a bench and watch in rapt attention, the experience is almost surreal. My gaze is filled with a sombre grey horizon growing in color and depth with each passing moment and a thick blanket of fog hovering a few feet above the endlessly raging ocean, giving the high rising world of concrete in the distance a claustrophobic feel.

I have far left behind the city hubbub and honking of the taxis but a swarm of people are all around me – they come in groups, as two, three, four, sometimes alone. Sometimes for a brisk walk, sometimes to take in the sights and sometimes to just stare listlessly at the incessantly changing canvas like me. A father and a young kid are sitting next to me, the father listening ever so intently to all that his son has to say. On the other side are 2 men lost knee deep in conversation, their battered slippers neatly tucked beside them. There is a continuous stream of people strolling and jogging on the broad windswept promenade, each marching on in their own personal missions, treading over annals of ground fused with impregnable laughter, chatter and cacophony and yet, the air is seized with such perpetual stillness.

I inhale a slice of the stillness as my vision is arrested by a 360 degree panoramic view of the endless amounts of space stretching seamlessly across my field of vision. A space where dreams are rooted in the waking world… where lines between the real and the surreal blur, where all the great worries wash away, where life acquires a new meaning, the magic of living in the moment comes alive, also the space every breath becomes a connect to the vibrant energy flowing through the Source from where we come and whence we will be gone.

Two friends lost in conversation on the Marine Drive promenade, Mumbai

I am at the 3.6 km long boulevard, Marine Drive in South Mumbai - a C shaped promenade sweeping around the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty Beach to Malabar Hill only to realise and reaffirm my faith in how much more there is to this place than what meets a simple definition. It is a sacred space; all the time spent in her presence, a prayer, a meditation.

Sacred because here, there are no distinctions made. Every mortal being who comes here - no matter what the age, stratum, status or other tangible strings attached - is revered as a precious child of the all pervading Master in the tapestry of the universe. Marine Drive goes through, past the veins and into the blood, piercing the heart of each person sitting in her comforting blanket of embrace. It is not just another landmark of a city that never sleeps, it is a world where innumerable memories, feelings and emotions are splashed upon such that dreams take shape on the canvas of the infinite.

That is the magic weaving in and out of the misty veil of Marine Drive today, perhaps this will also be the case tomorrow, every day. Such is the lure and the enigma of one great masterpiece by an artist at work blending the material with the ethereal attracting people from all over the world, there is love and compassion and acceptance and empathy all rolled into the fabric to craft a creation that touches everyone who comes in contact with her beauty.

It must be the wonder of her beauty, why! even time here comes to a standstill… perhaps to gaze its reflection in the roiling waters of the oceanic cosmos. The waves are alive, and breathing - each moment, new ebb, a different low, often a moribund zenlike flow – transient yet always there. The movement of the waves create music and magic, each note spraying a myriad of feelings and emotions as they keep resonating through the empty spaces above, and keep beckoning for more. The waves dance, crashing on the rocks, breaking to soften and rest - as if sorting their life and then flowing again all at once to embrace their destiny unafraid. Isn’t the movement of the waves a choreograph of life? I wonder.

Within the choreography, what delights me are the hidden gifts of nothingness, void, introspection, lull and pause. Waves fall and rise again, coming back with a power even more expansive and energy more abundant to fearlessly live their fate. Time, every moment spent in nature, shows me the path to self-renewal, self transformation and self birth – seamlessly blended in one another as fleeting threads of life. It reminds us that in periods of nothingness, there is a force of creation at work which we cannot see. Amid all the introspection and reflection, there is God’s basking presence. Amid all the aloneness and silences, there is faith and a prayer of patience and a souvenir of inner peace.

Waves crashing on the rocks at Marine Drive, Mumbai

A few drops of water suddenly splashes onto my face, another wave has met its fate or has it started drizzling? Whatever is the case, I close my eyes and consider it a blessing, it is my memento for the stay. It carries the gift of the musical waves - to me as also to every one sitting at the shore - no distinctions made. I inhale deeply and feel grateful for mine; the fresh sea air pumping right through the windows in my spirit, opening the doors to joy and happiness.

The sky never ceases to amaze me. Everything I am, have ever been or ever will be is concentrated in these little petals of moments tossed upon the canvas of an endless sky – this is the moment I am truly born.  As I hop down from the promenade ready and revitalized to step back into the busy city streets, my heart feels infinite, still humble but deep enough to encompass everything and everyone. Everyone is a piece of myself as I am a part of the oceanic humankind – and we share our thoughts, struggles, nothingness, aloneness, joy, hope, happiness and dreams – all roaring, raging, falling, breaking and rising again in our quest to embrace The One.

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We return to each other in waves.
This is how water loves.
~ Nayyirah Waheed.

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A Soul Selfie series or '#Soulie' series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you can choose to call Him by any name you like as long as the reference is maintained and more importantly the essence) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here are things you can do if you want to join in.

1. Send me one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

Would you like to share this article with your friends?


  1. दो बार यहाँ घूमने का मौका लगा।

  2. Beautiful post. Nice to read.
    ~ da

  3. Impressive images. Mumbai city under the dark grey looks so moody, and simultaneously I imagine the city must be so busy. Have a good day,Arti.

  4. Thanks for bringing back the memories of my long walks along Marine Drive and it was such a bliss!

  5. Wow ! Loved your pics and the way you expressed yourself, so beautifully - I inhaled and exhaled while I read your post and calmed myself down, looking the images. I have always loved the sea and enjoyed watching whenever I get a chance to visit places that has beach... remember Pondicherry beaches, vizag and chennai ones and all those lovely moments that are now memories for me... thanks for sharing :)

  6. Love how philosophical your thoughts are! Marine Drive surely is a place that makes one ponder.

  7. Beautiful and soulful post, Arti... I would love to send a soulie girl, just tell me how.☺

    1. Thanks so much, dear Kokila. I would be absolutely delighted to have your soulful words and inspiring perspective resonate in my diary. You can send a soulie over either by email ( or you can blog and leave a link to your blog post here or you can post it on instagram and use the hastag #soulie.

      I will be collecting all the #soulie moments in an upcoming blog post soon. Thanks again for your kind words :)

  8. This was so beautiful, Arti. I have had a connect with Marine Drive since childhood as I grew up in South Bombay. As a matter of fact, I was visiting my father this April and guess what, I came with the family to Marine Drive for a long stroll. As I read your words, I got lost in my own thoughts. Sitting and watching water does that to me. Thank you for this beautiful post. Let me share some image with the hashtag that you mentioned. Instagram works?

    1. Thank you so much, Rachna! Water helps me dive deeper too and soak myself with my own thoughts and ideas. It's good to know a little more about you and your connect with Marine Drive. Can imagine your walk with family here to have been truly memorable. Thanks for your interest in the concept, yes, Instagram works just fine. Look forward to see your share! :)

  9. Your writing has so much soul in it, Arti. Always a treat to read your posts! This is a beautiful, introspective post :)

  10. Marine drive is my fav place in Mumbai. No matter how tired you're or what are you going thru in life. This place always fill the heart with great positivity and calmness. It is one place that soothes my soul to the core. Thanks to your beautiful writing that one can easily create an image of marine drive in his/her mind. 😊

  11. Dear Artie - I totally agree, “The sky never ceases to amaze me.” I’ve experienced the similar emotion whenever I had solitary time at beach or seafront. We came from the sea originally and the sky is the place where I believe simple truth exists. I felt as if being there in person, being enchanted with your writing, or magical power of your words. I have sympathy with the quote from Nayyirah Waheed, which sounded kind of thught-provoking at first but so comfortable with.


  12. I love Marine Dive- The Queen's Necklace.

  13. A long time since I last stopped by, greetings.

    As always beautifully written. I feel such an infinity with the sea, the stormier the better.

  14. Dear Arti, thanks for the poetically philosophical post. Two feelings are delightful,one is to spend time in nature and the other to read about such time of stillness in your words and stills. :)


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