Walking in Mumbai - a new perspective

Adventure Oct 20, 2013

While walking through Mumbai during my practice for OxFam Trailwalker 100 km walkathon next month, I saw Mumbai in a different light – at the pace of walking, you get to see many things that are normally not visible when you zoom around in a vehicle. But the highlight of the day was meeting Nadeem!*

This entire year, I have tried to religiously follow my weekend routine of cycling to historical sites in and around Mumbai. And it has been a truly rewarding experience that I hope to continue till the end of this year and cover most of the sites that I have mapped out.

But this weekend was different. Next month, I am participating in the OxFam Trailwalker – a 100 km walkathon where our team “Walking Souls” has to walk the 100 km in 48 hours! Now I’m quite comfortable doing 100 km cycling, but walking 50 km in a day is not something I have ever done before. So I thought I should give it a try, and so this Sunday I did a long walk – hoping to cover as much of the 50 km distance as possible.

Here is the route I followed:

I started from home at 5:15 am and headed towards Juhu beach, using the entrance to the beach near PVR Juhu. It was still quite dark as I entered the beach, and the full moon was shining over the sea in the west

It was low tide, and the water had receded far leaving a wide patch of sand for several people who had come out to walk or jog. As I walked south towards Khar Danda, the sun started rising in the east, and coloring the sky with its magnificent rays

I was happy to discover that there is a way to walk along the beach all the way to Khar, where one has to walk into the Chuim fishing village to emerge out at Carter road… amazing short cut! I walked along the Carter road promenade and near Lands End, climbed up the hill towards Mount Mary Church

Outside the church, the road-side shops were brightly decorated with these colorful candles. Once I got down the hill, I went via Mehboob Studio and then instead of turning right towards Lilavati, took a left to enter St. John Baptist Road to head towards St. Peters Cemetry, and discovered this cute lane barely broad enough for one person to pass through that emerges out near St. Francis of Assisi Church, from where one can directly enter the Bandra Worli Sea Link road

As I walked along the Bandra Worli Sea Link road, I noticed these bright yellow flowers on the side. Such pleasures are not available when you drive – and in fact not even when you cycle, for you are too busy looking at the road even when cycling. I was really enjoying the walk!

I walked over to the BWSL Promenade that is now quite usable though not yet completed. I got this wonderful view of the boats lying around in Mahim bay. I walked the entire stretch and then went into Kalanagar at the WEH junction, so as to avoid the highway. I took a short break to rest for 20 minutes in a cute temple near Chetna College, and then walked out to join the Western Express Highway

As I was walking on the highway on the feeder road at Kalina, I saw this cyclist riding ahead of me. What was amazing was that he just had one hand and one leg! He seemed to be riding the cycle without any trouble as if it was a natural thing to do! I walked faster and stopped him, and had a nice chat with him over a cup of tea and bun-maska. His name is Nadeem, and he lost his right arm and leg in a train accident when he was 15. That was about 5 years back, and now Nadeem has got used to living life with only half his limbs. But he has not lost his spirit! He works as a mechanic and still manages to be productive with his disability. And he rides his cycle everywhere! What an inspiration! I was blessed to meet him!

It was now past 11 am and the sun was beating down on me and it was really hot. I stopped at a paanwala for a cold drink, when I noticed his T-shirt that seemed completely out of place in a paan shop :)

I reached back home at 11:30 am covering a total distance of just over 30 km. I was not too tired, but my legs were sore from walking over 5:30 hours. I think with a little more practice, I should be able to do the 50 km in a day! Looking forward to more walks!


Ashutosh Bijoor

Adventurer, mathematician, software architect, cyclist, musician, aspiring wood worker