UrbanLegends: Renuka Singh from Voyager for Life
Renuka is a writer/photographer and a travel blogger from India. With her blog, Voyager For Life, she aims to inspire and awaken people to travel. She has been a native in four different cities in India and would not mind more city-hopping in the future. When she is not traveling, she likes to be a tourist in her own city. And now she is an UrbanLegend! Find out why she chose India’s ‘Maximum City’ as her favourite!
What is your favourite city in the world, and why?
My favourite city in the world, so far, is Mumbai. I love it because there’s an undefined magic thing about it. I was always fascinated by Mumbai (when it was called Bombay) even when I was a kid. Though I hadn’t been there, I could comprehend its magic in my mind – perhaps I got acquainted to its ‘magic’ by what I saw in the Hindi films that I grew up watching. When I finally visited Mumbai as an adult, I loved it – I found it somewhat similar to my imaginations. Then later I had a chance to live in Mumbai for four months, which allowed me to know it as a local, too.
When did you first visit the city, and what was your experience like?
My first visit to Mumbai was ages back when I was just out of school and entering into college. Though it was only a two-three day trip, it was fun. We went to Essel World and Water Kingdom, explored the street markets and visited the beaches and other iconic sites, such as Taj and Gateway of India. I wouldn’t say that it was a great trip, but it created in me an ardent desire to come back to Mumbai again.
What is your idea of a perfect day in this city?
My idea of a perfect day in Mumbai would be waking up really early, around 6am and setting out on a walk (depending on where you are staying). I enjoyed my morning walk along the Marine Drive pavement and Powai Lake. After the beautiful morning, you can come back home or have breakfast at any of the local cafes or restaurants. You can set out again in the late afternoon to explore the city on foot – I loved exploring South Mumbai. It’s full of great British-era architecture, old cafés and causeways. Colaba is my favourite place, where it’s fun to just stroll along the shops, sip coffee or bite on a pastry or two from Leopold Café and just take in the buzz.
Do you have a special memory attached to this city, and what is it?
Yes, Mumbai is very special to my heart. It was Mumbai, where I decided to quit the cubicle and set out on my own journey of an independent writer and travel blogger. I remember going for an interview in South Mumbai near Churchgate station and how perplexed I was about the job thing. My heart had indicated it to me that I needed to quit and do my own thing, but my mind was still confused. After the interview I spent the entire day exploring South Mumbai, clicking photos and interacting with random people on the road – that’s when I realised that that was what I truly enjoyed and that’s when I had peace in my heart.
What’s your favourite place to eat in this city, and what dish is your favourite?
Mumbai is loved for its street food! I particularly love the delicious sandwiches that they serve with sev (salty mixture). But my favourite place to eat is Theobroma Bakery in Hiranandani – I love the Red Velvet Cupcakes that they make!
If you could dedicate a song to this city, which one would it be?
Ummm… maybe “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt.
If this city was a person, what would he/she be like?
Shahrukh Khan! A combination of charm and imperfection.
Do you have any insider’s tips for visitors to this city?
The only tip I have for a first-timer in Mumbai is to be prepared for the distances, which are humungous! Avoid the peak hours. Start your day early!
Is there anything you don’t like about this city? (be honest!)
The only thing that I don’t like about Mumbai is its dirty areas, of which are quite a few!
Has this city been featured in any works of art, cinema or literature?
Oh, Mumbai is the soul of Indian Cinema. Of course, it’s part of so many books, too.
If you could sum up this city in a word, what would it be?
If you’d like to follow more of Renuka’s posts, don’t forget to check her out on social media!;