After living in this busy metropolis, this island of islands for about 17 years I’ve realised one thing – your senses are automatically heightened. Whether it’s your eyes that are constantly alert in the fast paced traffic or your ears that are forced to hear a cacophony of trains, vendors and honking cars. Your mouth and taste buds that have grown accustomed to Mumbai’s spicy, flavoursome cuisine. And of course, we’ve all had the chance to travel in a packed local train, scared that we’d get pick-pocketed, it’s like we’re born with a heightened sense of touch too. But I perceive Mumbai to be a “city of smells”. By this, I don’t imply that ours is a city full of stench and smog, no it’s much more than that! Like each home has a distinct smell of its own, Mumbai has these particular aromas and scents that define the city and give it character.
The moment you step into Mumbai, your impression about the city could vary, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist. A pessimist would complain about the foul odour that comes from the slums, (You should know that Mumbai is home to one of the largest slums in Asia – Dharavi, so that’s a lot of stink!), the amount of vehicular pollution and smoke from cigarettes, the malodour of overflowing sewage etc. An optimist, on the other hand would enjoy the sterile, sanitised smell of malls, hotels which are plenty in Mumbai. Or you could be a realist like me and believe the city has a dual identity with motley collection of fragrances and odours. But that’s a discussion for later.
Urbanisation has changed the face of Mumbai entirely – quaint little bungalows with terracotta tiled roofs are replaced with high rises made of chrome and glass. ‘Niwas-es” and ‘Sadans’ are pulled down to make way for ‘Towers’ and ‘Heights’. However there still are some remaining gardens and patches of green like the Hanging Gardens, Jijamata Udyan, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park to name a few. Mumbaikars still visit these parks to...
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