Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

One of the advantages of travelling to the south of India by air from Bombay is the beautiful sights one encounters, especially that of South Bombay. While aerial photographers have captured the southern tip of the city multiple times, the joy of seeing the familiar buildings and streets right from above is a joy unparalleled. Take the left window seat (A) and you are in for a treat. The aircraft prepares for ascent by departing from the aerobridge and moves sharply to the east, the shanties of Andheri east come into view, not far away you can see the hillocks of Jagruti nagar.

It turns sharp to the right and waits for clearance for take off. I think every 2 minutes a plane lands or takes off at one of the busiest runways in the world. The takeoff is also quite dramatic. As the plane lifts off, the shanties bordering the airport comeinto view first, followed by the orderly oclonies adjoining the western express highway and then the western railway line and then comes the star of the suburbs – SV Road, just as you cross SV Road, the sea comes into view and stretching endless to your left are the Koliwadas of Juhu, Danda and then beyond lies the Sea Link.

The aircraft moves sharp into the clouds, tiny fishing vessels bob below. If you are lukcy you may spot the dolphins which have been visiting but maybe I am being too optimistic. Once it move far ahead, the seatbelt sign is turned off. But this is where the magic begins. The pilot turns sharp left, towards the south and before you know – the islands of Worli, Bombay and Little Woman’s Island appear right in front of you.

You see the land’s end at Malabar Hill and the Raj Bhavan, beyond which lies the magnificent arc of Chowpatty and the Queen’s Necklace. As the aircraft glides forward, the reclaimed land and the business districts of Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade come into view. If the skies are clear, you can see the last point of Bombay marked by the Prong’s Lighthouse. After a brief interlude of just the emerald sea, the beaches of Akshi and Alibagh come into view. The aircraft flies parallel to the northern Konkan. An island comes into view, but no it is not Murud Janjira – its octagonal shape far more prominent. But before you can decipher more details, the altitude increases and the coast becomes, nothing but a narrow strip of brown as you disappear into the clouds.