Chembur: A city in itself

Chembur: A city in itself

While my first employment brought me to Mumbai – and what an eventful or rather dreadful first day it was when I hopped into a Virar fast from Andheri on my way to Churchgate. The experience left me shaken. I was well dressed in a corporate attire with a tie when I was on the Andheri platform and I was one disheveled piece when I landed at the Churchgate station – shirt was out, crumpled even. Shoes were a mess; my tie’s knot was not to be seen. 

But then, I met some colleagues in office and even before receiving an induction or rather an introduction into the company, I received the valuable lessons of how one should learn the art of travelling across the city of Mumbai. Luckily, it brought my sunken spirits back to normal.

Time went by and couple of years later my marriage to a Chemburite brought me into this beautiful suburb. I was staying pretty close to OLPS and the serenity and green cover of the area stood in sharp contrast to what I had seen in a packed locality at Andheri. While it took me some time to get acclimatized to the environment, the calmness and the soft sounds that a green lung brings with itself grew on me. 

Of course, as I settled in and moved around the place, I started realizing that Chembur is just not any other suburb and it has a lot to offer as a self-contained zone. With the development that has taken place over the years it feels like a city in itself today.

Let me take you a little deeper to help you understand why I say so?

The marketplace is the heart of this suburb. It’s always buzzing with activity. It’s a combination of a couple of roads on the eastern side of the Chembur station. You just need to look around to see a variety of shops (it is highly unlikely that you won’t find something that you are looking for) and hawkers by the dozens. The market street is a foodie’s paradise too. The waft of aroma and flavors are most likely to invade your senses every five meters of the way. It is a busy thoroughfare for public transport too and it isn’t unusual for even a humble autorickshaw to take twenty minutes to travel a five hundred meters distance during the busy morning and evening hours. 

Just 200 meters away towards Ambedkar Udyan and beyond, you come to a road that feels therapeutic. It’s called the ‘Central Avenue’. You can spend your entire evening  walking along this road. The roads are wide enough and pedestrians are delighted to see a well-maintained walkway. The by lanes branching out of this road are no different. There are several heritage houses that continue to maintain the aura of what Chembur looked like decades back. 

It’s not often that I get to walk into two nearby absolutely well-maintained gated colonies – BARC and RCF. Both are a huge mass of green lung that is hard to find anywhere else in the city. 

The biggest concern that anyone coming into the city is faced with is the commute. The way Mumbai as a city is structured (in a relatively narrow south – north stretch) makes several people ask – how do I get around? Is there good connectivity?

Well, Chembur is as central as it can be – Sample this

You are not far from other main hubs in the city or even Navi Mumbai. Credit to the amazing road and transport infrastructure, you can literally reach any part of the Mumbai city, Thane or Navi Mumbai in 30 minutes (in normal traffic conditions). Sample this – The freeway that is just a kilometer and half from the station can take you to town in 14 minutes flat. The slew of flyovers takes you to Sion, Kings Circle or Dadar in about 20 minutes. You have a BKC flyover that takes you to the center of the business hub in the shortest possible time. The SCLR helps you navigate to the airport in 45 minutes even during peak hours. You can travel to the busy Lower Parel area in the comforts of the Monorail (the first station is Chembur itself) in about 25 minutes. The highways towards Thane and Navi Mumbai can take you to either places in 30 minutes or less. Last but not the least, Chembur will be easily accessible from any part of Mumbai city using the Metro (which is likely to get completed in a year or so). And not to forget, the local trains are the backbone not only for Mumbai but for everyone who lives in Chembur.

If the basic needs of living in a city are taken care of, what does one do for leisure? Well, you needn’t go far or rather you have so many options to keep you culturally occupied. The biggest attraction If I may add is The Fine Arts Society. To help you with a bit of a background….

In 1962 a group of enthusiastic volunteers sowed the seed on the 26th January for what is known as the Fine Arts Society. Their tireless efforts to seek a piece of land for setting up a multipurpose complex bore fruit in 1993 when they completed one of the finest auditoriums of the city (the building houses a marriage hall too along with several chambers where various art forms are taught under accomplished teachers). Every notable artiste in the field of art in India has either aspired to or performed at the auditorium. It occupies the place of pride for every Chemburite.

As our family grew, we were obviously concerned about our Children’s education but Chembur had several answers to that too – from pre-primary schools, to schools with varied curriculum affiliated to the state, central or international boards – you have it all within the three kilometers radius. If you desire to pursue higher studies you have good graduate and post graduate colleges too (TISS, TIFR, Swami Vivekananda, N.G.Acharya college just to name a few).

We have had old people at home and health issues have been addressed by several hospitals in the vicinity. You have many well qualified and able doctors (depending on what your ailment might be or the problem you may be facing). Many have spent their life in Chembur and are alumni of local schools / colleges. 

While I don’t play golf and neither am I a member of any of the prestigious clubs in Chembur, the clubs offer a range of amenities and activities. The one I particularly like is the Chembur Golf Club. The have one of the finest 18-hole golf course and kind of unparalleled if you compare them with several others in the city.

Last but not the least, this suburb feels safe and fairly secular. Yes, there are people of all faith living in Chembur. You are woken up in the morning through an Azaan followed by the ringing of bells in a nearby temple or a Jain derasar and the gentle chant of the granth at a gurudwara to the regular morning and evening mass at a church. Name a faith and there are many families that come to the fore. It is the perfect harmonized living that one can find. 

What more can you think of in a city that you may want to live in? Well, Chembur has it all.

The views mentioned in the article above are of the writers alone.

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