I 'm back in Mumbai, in the chaos and hustle bustle of day-to-day life. The sheer number of people who call this city their home is mind-boggling. Every square inch is filled with crowds, noise, and more people.
And yes in the midst of it all the commotion, our mind seeks solace. It looks for some peace, a getaway. One could call it a secret spot.
As a little kid, my biggest thrill was on discovering a secret spot. I assumed no one knew about the place and then I would show it off to my friends. Kids have terrific imagination. The secret spot would fit easily with my imaginary friends (pixies and elves), and the real ones too.
Talking to myself
As I grew up, the city seemed smaller and smaller. It was difficult to even walk by myself in a fairly isolated part of Juhu Beach, without someone stopping me to sell me something.. or an urchin asking me for money. I would also bump into intimate couples looking for privacy.
Now it seems as if this city does not have those secret spots any more. I need them for some peace and solitude. I enjoy ‘Me' time, during which I introspect or do nothing.
Now for my little secret - I often talk to myself. At times, I'm unaware of this. If I'm looking for a solution to a problem, I weigh the options by talking to myself. I'm sure this would look very funny in public. So very often, my hideaway is my car. I enjoy going for long drives on my own with some great music playing on my car stereo.
But the ever-increasing cars on roads and pollution.. and of course, the escalating fuel prices, have killed the joy of those simple soul searching joyrides.
My secret spot
One night, I accidentally discovered a spot to beat all hideouts. I live very close to Juhu beach. There's a road that leads to the beach, and comes to a dead end after a while.
One evening, I went for a walk to the beach and stumbled on this spot, which is hidden by shrubbery . It's at a slight elevation, so it opens to a view of the ocean and sand.
No one can see you there, not easily at least. And on a full moon night, the reflection of the moon in the water is simply magnificent.
I experience a kind of peace when I went there. It was a place to clear my thoughts, do some soul- searching and talk to myself. At times, I could see stars when I looked up. Solitude in the midst of the city commotion. My problems seem to dissipate here. It's gone And then, last week as I returned from London and went straight back to my hectic shoots, I thought it was time to visit my secret spot. It was well past midnight.
But my favourite spot was gone. The shrubbery was no more, the elevation had been flattened.. now it's exposed to the world.
An ugly structure stands there now. When I asked around the next day , I learnt that a local fisherman was going to build a house there. But a construction on the beach? Wasn't that illegal?
I know all good things in life come to an end but I was hoping this one wouldn't. Will I ever find such an amazing secret spot again?
A poet once wrote, "I hide while being in plain sight.. I hide in me, with all my might.. in the doing sometimes is the best hiding place."