Ashish Vaswani
Last week, I was in Borivali with a couple of friends. All I knew about this place then was that it's a major terminus on the north Mumbai suburban rail network. But having spent half a day there has left me amazed by the diversity of Mumbai’s landscape.

I’ve spent most of my life between Andheri and Dadar. Occasional visits to So-Bo hotspots are restricted to old-world cravings with family. So I found it embarrassing to realize that I didn’t even know the order of the stations after Jogeshwari. Nonetheless, the work that took us to Borivali wasn’t meant to be, so when we saw a board that read ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’.

Voila! The last time I’d seen Borivali National Park, it was in my school textbook. It was a shame I hadn’t been here inspite of being a Mumbaikar for the past twenty years. Not having anything better to do, we decided to walk in.

We were not even 10 kms from Borivali station and this is what the place looked like…

It was unbelievable to be amidst nature in this form, right in the middle of a city buzzing with activity. And though I saw a few boards warning me about wild cats on the prowl, I was lucky to get away with spotting only a random bunch of monkeys on my impromptu expedition. A major attraction inside the National Park, is a group of 108 caves collectively known as the Kanheri caves. On my hike to Kanheri, the raingods were kind enough to let me enjoy the magical journey in all its glory.

I was at the highest point above sea level in Mumbai. The view was magical. But even at this height, people don’t cease to give up their charlatan ways. At the only canteen available there, I was being charged Rs. 18 for a bottle of mineral water whose MRP was Rs. 14. That sort of turned out to be the dampener and I decided against giving in.

But at the end of the day, what mattered was that an unplanned outing turned out to be the perfect adrenaline rush for the rest of the week. I returned home with even more love for a city that hides within its monotonous shell, a landscape that is so similar, yet so different...

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