One Friday evening, my hostel girls decided to wake up a little too early on a Saturday only to go cycling. The idea seemed exciting, so around 10 of us didn’t mind sacrificing our Saturday morning sleep to take a tour around south Mumbai (or SoBo like we all call it). We woke up at 5 am (did I mention it was a Saturday?) and managed to take a train by 6:30 am to Churchgate. While hunger started creeping into our stomachs, we were way too excited to even stop by to grab a bite. We were also scared of the traffic crowding the roads, making us all the more nervous on the streets of Mumbai.
Quickly, we headed to the cycle rental shop, took our bikes and set out. I thought I’d forgotten how to ride a cycle. Silly thoughts! But once I started peddling, I couldn’t hide the grin on my face. Memories of my school days cycled around the winding lanes of my mind. I remembered how I used to wait till 7:58 am to leave for school. Even though my mother didn’t quite approve of it, I loved unleashing a wild streak every time I set out. I gave myself only two minutes to reach school. It wasn’t all that far anyway.
And oh! It wasn’t just me. All my girls had their own cycle stories to narrate, and most of them were funny. One, twice, some of us lost balance and the cycle tilted a little too much, but we straightened up and started cycling again. We decided our own route and roamed around for more than an hour.
As we cycled, the people who were running, jogging, walking et cetera stared at us. Along the Marine Drive promenade, some people even stopped to watch us cycle. I was having so much fun that it did not even strike me that our uproarious laughter and mirth was attracting far more attention.
It was a good decision to ride early in the morning. Because by the time we were on our way to return the cycles, the deserted roads of south Mumbai were getting populated with traffic. And you know how each junction in SoBo is! Happily, we gave back the cycles and headed straight to Colaba Bakery to grab breakfast. While some of us gorged on scrambled eggs, a few of us couldn’t resist the tempting mutton kheema. Of course, tea and coffee brought along a bittersweet ending to the morning.