Mumbai. The city that is an enigma and where enigmas are created for real on the reel-life. But there’s so much more to Mumbai than it’s heartening vignettes marked by mushrooming of love in Nana-Nani parks, the walks at Bandstand facing the sea, the driving through fast corners of the mega sea-link bridge or the charm of simply biting into a snack whilst allowing the breeze to graze your locks at the marine drive.
In Mumbai, where football and cricket are two lasting passions and not impetuous loves, it seems a new hobby has taken its course. And much to the fondness of it’s practitioners and watchers- it’s to do with the sea. Sailing, apparently, has taken the imagination of young kids in Mumbai by storm. These-days, if you happen to stroll past the ever buzzing Gateway of India or happen to stare at the harbour off Colaba, a distinct site of keelboats and little hulls and tiny boats with fluttering flags will catch your fancy.
Mumbai’s young sailors-in-the-making are seen hovering around the idyllic water bodies with their sailing paraphernalia, prepping to ready their mini sail-boats. The nautical lingo is the new lingo of an ever-enthusiastic class of pre-teens who are honing their skills and preparing eager minds to understand the tricks of sailing from the Indian naval watermanship training centre at RC Church at Colaba. Before they set out their boats into the water, onlookers can be moved in admiration by the penchant of young Mumbaikars lining up to work on their wirelines, straighten their ropes and mainsheets as part of their zesty new pursuit.
Class X students and Class IX students are among the bunch of learners at the Indian naval watermanship training centre at the RC Church, tucked into a corner of the posh South Mumbai, also known as the town. And in here lies the real difference, a welcome one at that. At a time where sailing has remained ever so often a pursuit of a select few and part of an eye-pleasing sight experienced on luxury travel shows, out here in the parameter of one of India’s most vibrant cities, it’s turning into a hobby of many a bubbly youngster.
The heat- it ought to be said in the summer months of April, May is severe- and even that hasn’t stopped the young minds from going out in the sun, desiring to take to the ocean to realise their field of dreams. While most schools are shut during the peak summer season here in Mumbai, the students are glad to be learning the tricks of a new trade in the post afternoon hours and those who are still jostling with the remaining few days before the school’s get shut for the summer vacations, there’s always the after-school hours to engage in one of a kind activity, a world away from the sprawling greens of a football field or cricket turf.
Many of the students, it’s been found, have remained in key pursuit of their newfound interest in a bid to connect with the nature, sharing candidly, “through sailing you get to connect with the nature, to understand the power of nature which in most other cases one would never get to learn.”