Single in the City: From beaches to seafood... An Alibaug odyssey

Alibaug for me is an entire mood. I go there when I am happy. I go there when I am sad

Promita MukherjeeUpdated: Saturday, January 22, 2022, 05:18 PM IST
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My friend, a die-hard Shah Rukh Khan fan who had accompanied me, was instantly curious to find out more. So was I! “So, who all were here Prasad?” I asked. An Alibaug local, Prasad seemed as chatty as we were. All he needed was a little prodding. Out came a plethora of information that soon made my recent Alibaug trip the most entertaining of all my trips so far.

Alibaug for me is an entire mood. I go there when I am happy. I go there when I am sad. I also go there when friends visit me in Mumbai and I need to take them on a minication. I love the calm and quiet that most beaches in Alibaug offer — whether it is the black beaches of Kihim and Akshi (that used to be a very secluded beach even five years back) or the fun-filled Nagaon with dozens of tourists and adventure sports. But what I like the most about Alibaug is that even at a crowded beach, all you have to do is walk a little farther from the crowd and there you will have your own oasis of peace.

A second home to a lot of Mumbaikars, not to mention Bollywood stars, Alibaug is just a hop, skip and jump away from the city after all. On each trip, I discover something new — be it an unexplored beach or water sports activities that have sprung up at a beach that used to be a hidden gem till not too long back or a new restaurant serving lip-smacking Malvani food.

This time though, the chatty and helpful Prasad was the actual ‘discovery’. “Shah Rukh, Amitabh, Akshay, sab they yahan aapne bungalows mein (Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, they were all here in their bungalows),” he continues. But it’s Akshay Kumar who turned out to be Good Samaritan to locals during the lockdown, says Prasad. From food to medicines, the Sooryavanshi actor had apparently organised them all for the locals. What about the others, I asked curiously. “Idhar toh kuch nahi kiya madam (they hadn’t done anything here),” informs Prasad. (Full disclosure: This column is not sponsored by Akshay Kumar).

Being a local, Prasad has anecdotes about other actors too who have a home in Alibaug. We don’t like Akshaye Khanna much, he says candidly about the reticent actor. But what has he done, I ask. “Woh selfies nahi lene dete,” says Prasad. In a selfie-obsessed world, where you remove your mask in public places to take a selfie, risking the chance of catching the virus, or a BMC marshall who comes out of thin air just to fine you, refusal to take a selfie can be cause for annoyance.

Alibaug is never short of entertainment. If you have never been there, it would be a good idea to go after the third wave subsides a bit. If you are like me, you would hop on a ferry early in the morning from Gateway to Mandwa. Fix a rickshaw guy for the day from the jetty, have your fill of the sun, sand, Malvani food (I recommend Sanman, near Alibaug market) and adventure sports, take the last ferry back and grab a drink at Mondy’s or Leo before heading back home. I usually cover about three-four beaches in a day, including a quick tour of the Colaba fort for some Insta-worthy photos.

But of course, if your idea is to chill with a loved one or family, book any of the many hotels in Alibaug, stay near Kihim or Akshi beach, and just soak in the vibes before you head back to the city for a week full of grind.

(Calcutta girl for whom Bombae is love, the writer is a senior journalist and editor who has lived and worked in three metro cities. A dog parent, you will often find her at a beach with a box of cupcakes in hand or at one of Mumbai's several party hotspots with a Cosmo. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @calcuttacliques)

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