It’s hard to nail down what makes Mumbai – formerly Bombay – such a likeable city. If you’ve ever read the brilliant book Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, you might get some inkling through his descriptive prose. ‘More dreams are realised and extinguished in Bombay than any other place in India,’ Roberts writes.
Mumbai is a city of two halves… On the one side you have some of Asia’s largest slums. On the other, riches beyond the wildest of imaginations. And The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a great example of the wealth that exudes above the underbelly of different classes; from the servants, to the dreamers, street kids, stray dogs and gangsters, all trying to make their way in India’s capital. It’s also the epicentre to a prolific film industry – Bollywood; home to budding starlets with big aspirations, and home to famous Indian celebrities. This was in plain view when on one street corner you’d see trendy cafés, bars and restaurants, but one wrong turn and you’d be face with the poorer side of the metropolis. I never felt unsafe, however, even when we were accosted by beggars and drug sellers.
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