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Submarine drive

Updated on: 07 January,2024 06:59 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

“Pierre, so Marine Drive, has transformed magically, from a six lane roadway it is soon to become a multi- level transport arena”

Submarine drive

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaA backpacker friend, Pierre from Paris, asked me, “Raoul, I’m coming to Mumbai, on my way through to Goa’s Palolem Beach, Lonely Planet recommends I see two of Mumbai city’s jewels, the Hanging Gardens and the Queens Necklace. Do you agree, mon ami?”

“Hmmm Pierre… the Hanging Gardens have closed for ‘renovation’, to be re-opened in seven years, so that’s a bit of a no-no…”

“And Marine Drive, tell me about Marine Drive..I believe it’s a beautiful stretch of land, looks like a string of pearls in a Queens necklace,” Pierre said, curiosity writ large on his face.

“Pierre, so Marine Drive, has transformed magically, from a six lane roadway it is soon to become a multi- level transport arena

“What do you mean, ‘transport arena’  mon mi?”

“Well Pierre, you know like in a theme park like Disney World, where you have a variety of rides, etc? Well, Marine Drive is attempting  to become a stretch of land where you may choose your mode of transportation—Marine Drive will soon become a tourist attraction, “Come ride with pride… choose how you’d like to ride on any side,” will be the tagline.”

“So fascinatingly, a beautiful six-lane roadway has been reduced to a single lane, Marine Drive will now boast the beginning of a coastal road, except it begins in the centre of the road, and the motorist suddenly finds himself underground, appearing magically in the suburban parts of Mumbai, 20 minutes later—how will you know you will be entering into this fantastical subterranean journey? Steel structures, harking back to a bygone era will welcome you. In keeping with the underground theme—to the right of this coastal road, on a parallel stretch of land called Charni Road, has been dug out a metro subway station, where fast trains will speed you to your destination—so that covers car and train travel. Cool, right? Then, in what used to be a snazzy aquarium that’s soon to be converted into an underwater snorkelling pool—children can partake in swimming classes, they can dive into the water and witness never-been-seen-before marine life… it’ll be magical.”

“What kind of marine life?” Pierre asked.

“I’d rather not say, Pierre,” I answered.

Pierre continued—“Raoul, I am on Google, I see there are many half bridges in the sea, to the left of Marine Drive… please to explain me what these are?”

“My French friend, one day, in the distant future they will all connect, into an impressive Shanghai like criss-cross of bridges and flyovers and freeways over the sea, they will connect us to Bandra, then Bassein and finally to Budapest—but in the meantime, you can take diving lessons off the half constructed bridges—the more adventurous of us can go bungee jumping—there’s a special Tom Cruise Mission Impossible experience, you will soon be able to hire motorbikes, or take your own Harley and ride like mad off one bridge, and land on the other half bridge. You can even moto-cross.”

“Wow, Raoul it seems like Mumbai will be a very exciting place to visit …”

“Well my friend, talking of visiting… so we have road and water travel covered… what remains is air travel. I’m planning to make a recommendation to the Maharasthtra Government—you see the new international airport is to come up in New Bombay, Navi Mumbai we call it—so in the future, a SoBoite like me will have to leave 48 hours in advance to catch a flight—South Mumbai needs an airport of its own—I’m suggesting that we create a full scale airline runway, for starters”

“And where will this be constructed?”

“Over the sea, we can build a beautiful runway… parallel to the road… passengers who wish to go anywhere in South Mumbai will land directly in South Mumbai. We will have a ‘Marine Drive International Airport!’” I concluded. 

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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