In the cacophony of the congested bylanes around Malad station, there is little reason to believe that this part of the western suburbs is home to a vast expanse of the sea. The beachside of a sleepy town called Marve is an hour’s drive from Malad city – a long winding route through kuccha roads punctuated by the overwhelming smell of freshly caught fish. “Shahrukh, Amitabh and Salman, all of them have houses here,” claimed an auto rickshaw driver as he navigated through a road dotted with villas, many of them with display boards announcing their availability as shoot locations.
“Shooting of serials take place here. Have you heard of Ice Factory? Crime Patrol and Savdhaan India are shot there,” the driver added. Marve beach does not have an endless expanse of sand unlike the the popular seasides elsewhere in the city and significant portion of the area is cordoned off by barbed wires with a board stating that it belongs to the defence ministry.
From the seafront one can see a green shore line and the golden dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, a meditation centre in Gorai. Everyday, people from the fishing community, tourists and vegetable vendors line up to occupy boats anchored along the beach. The place has a jetty and boat services to Manori or Gorai.
“The crowd here is a mix of locals and tourists. Since the exam season is on, families don’t visit all that much,” a hawker said. Marve’s small beach has a number of stalls selling light snacks and cold drinks that cater for local and tourists.
“They charged Rs 1300 for 1 kg of prawns,” said a shocked Juhu resident Renuka while her little daughter took a horseride.
“Rs 50 for one round,” said the horse’s young caretaker. The fishing communities camp on one section of the shore and boats with fluttering tricolours arrive all day with the day’s catch. As the sun sets, the rhythm of churning sugarcane and the chatter of hawkers keep the beach alive.