There is a certain pastoral charm about a leisurely Sunday morning drive to Mandva Bunder, the Bombay Sailing Association's beach across the harbour.
The city still getting up, lethargic after a week of toil, mostly pointless toil. Most of us do jobs that, if they were not done would not matter. Chembur in the its haze of pollutants Vashi and New Bombay which already looks like old Bombay minus the old Bombay's soul shuddering old Maharashtra State Transport buses, probably the saddest looking vehincles in the world.
Past the out skirts of Panvel, then a sharp right turn and straight into the birdwatchers country.
In the distance is the Karnanla peak, like a Thums Up sign, and the road turns suddenly wooded and green. The nearest green spot around Bombay nature in its favorite dress."
A halt at Karnala is obligatory, for the driver and the vehicle to rest. The Karnala hotel and Tandoori Corner, not the most imaginative of restaurants, provides tea, fresh batatawadas, and water for the car.
There are always buses of day's tourists the Siddharth College of Law Students Association 1985-1986 annual picnic to Karnala Point. A host of erner learner students, who are trying to get a law degree in order that they may get a 100 rupee increment in their present jobs. The harsh cruelty of an over employed country.
The road runs straight out of Karnala, past Pen, ignoring the Goa-Mahableshwar diversion over the Dharamter creek, and into Alibagh. Women carrying three tiers of shining brass water pots walk along the side of the road, like models at an Eve's weekly show, only less self-consciously.
Beyond Alibagh, everything has changed. Industrial India has moved in the shape of a fertiliser plant with all its ancillaries. Where there were paddy fields, there are concrete stacks. But the roads have improved and the driving is smoother and Mandva Bunder is approached that much faster.
On the Mandva beach also things have changed. Old Mr. Bakhle's house is being turned into a mansion. And the clubhouse is renovated and looking like a resort hotel, though mercifully a very small one. And in the place of Mr. Bakhle and Dr. Joe De Sa, there is Mr. Vijay Mallya, dressed in a sailor suit.