Reasons to love Mumbai

“No other city in the world, in any kind of weather, has damp streets that reflect the light quite like Mumbai. And this, more than anything else I suppose, is what I miss and love most about Mumbai. I like the food and the smells and people and the frenzy and the ‘fuck you, get out of my way boss’ attitude. But I terribly miss that feeling, because it is a feeling, when you drive back into town from the airport at night, after it has rained all day. That slick layer of water and oil and Mumbai’s fluid detritus reflects everything: streetlights, headlights, neon lights, traffic signals.

As my taxi swoops up and down on the Western Express Highway, I just sit and watch the light. Sometimes, when there isn’t too much traffic, I experience this on Marine Drive as well. But this is very rare. Because there is this gentle equilibrium between wet and clear and night and traffic and dysfunctional drainage that is needed for the perfect Mumbai glow. Marine Drive rarely achieves this balance. Sometimes if you sit on top in the double-decker from Hutatma Chowk to Worli—the 66?—you get superb reflections all the way from depot to depot.

This reflected light is everything Mumbai means to me. It means people, enterprise, hard work, filth, folly, hope, resignation and home. Even when I am flying in for a one-day business meeting, this hazy glow calms me, soaks up my worries and assures me that I am now safe and secure. They should sell DVDs of this. Of hours and hours of Mumbai’s murky monsoon luminescence.”

- Sidin Vadukut, author of Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin “Einstein” Varghese