On Saturday afternoon, I set off for Marine Drive to pick up Hubby Dear who had gone for his walk. Actually he is supposed to walk half an hour every day but when things get too busy as they were last week, he prefers to do all his walking as a cumulative walk over the weekend. So he set off just before tea time and I followed soon after. It took me a good two minutes to exit our building and get onto the main road because the traffic was just stuck at the bottom of the hill. I should have realised that something was wrong but since I had no option but to keep going ahead ( I was on a one-way road) I went on hoping things would get better.
Normally the traffic does ease out by Chowpatty but this time I found the road blocked all the way to Nariman Point and, funnily enough, the return carriageway was empty. I wondered what was going on till I reached the Taraporewala Aquarium and found out that there was a snaky line four people deep going all the way from the newly opened aquarium till the end of the pavement at the Parsi Gymkhana. I’m sure if this line were uncoiled, it would have extended all the way to Nariman Point.
The reason for this huge crowd was the opening of the newly renovated aquarium. For years it was a dead looking place with dead looking fish and considering how opposed our government is to any kind of change or improvement, I am surprised that they actually bothered to renovate the place. For a while they actually wanted SeaWorld to open a franchise but true to form, they preferred to keep it local and cheap so that it would be more affordable to the masses that wanted to see the fish. Now this is what I find most strange; how come all those animal lovers don’t extend their sympathy to the fish? Why are they condemned to swim around in murky tanks and stare back and blow bubbles at the people who stare at them?
Tweet: Why are they condemned to swim around in murky tanks and stare back and blow bubbles at the people who stare at them?
From the outside, the new aquarium looks marginally different from the old one with some sea horses and an additional decorative element in the frontal elevation. When I found someone actually standing on his tippy toes outside the wall and flashing his mobile phone, I realised that there was a fish tank on the outside hence the gawking right from the road outside!
The sheer number of people waiting to get in is frightening and I feel that the Government Fisheries Department (which issues tickets) should give everyone time slots rather than have crowds squatting in the heat outside. It won’t be long before people start putting up pavillions and stalls selling pani puri and golas. Despite the hike in ticket prices, there are literally thousands of people willing to come from as far as Dombivili and Vasai just to have a look at the fish. This crowd was equally heavy on Sunday as well and I’m not surprised when someone told me that the fish were actually stressed out with all these eyeballs they were attracting and the seahorses had to be quarantined for some special R & R.
So, I think I’ll give the fish a miss this summer and let them recuperate and visit them on a rainy day with my little grandson (when I hope no one will make the trip to the aquarium) and write a review.
In the meanwhile, I hope the fish survive the stress and the stares and are still around when I venture to visit.
For those who want to brave the heat and the crowds and don’t mind staring at fish, the aquarium is at Marine Drive. It can be accessed by local train getting off at either Charni Road or Marine Drive stations. Don’t bother to take your car because you definitely won’t get a space to park and if you do, be prepared for people to drape themselves over the bonnet it while waiting to enter the marine paradise.
I’m also linking this to Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge