Mumbai, a truly cosmopolitan city, modern, feeling surprisingly safe compared to the rest of India. Stepping outside the hostel, I laughed at the British influences- surely back in kings cross. The same grand architecture formed the Victoria train station, as red buses and black and yellow taxis past by. Walking through the city international brands, superstores, boutiques, art exhibitions and street art would emerge. The streets of Bandra, dotted with Hipster style coffee shops, Where come night gaggles of young people take to the rooftops, downing shots and dancing to a mix of western and Punjabi music. There is a different sense of freedom here, young couples holding hands along the promenade, women walking alone and at night, mixed groups socialising.
Whilst you can see both the lifestyle and attitudes of the west are adopted, there is still a distinct sense of India. The vibrancy of the street food, local dress and winding alleys of open workshops and markets are never far from sight.
Amongst the development in the city, what emerges is the extreme differences in wealth and poverty, whom sit next to each other as neighbours.
When you think of poverty in Mumbai, your mind takes you to the slums. Confined communities living in what we would consider hard conditions. The truth is they are not the poor ones it’s the families who line the streets, homeless, begging. Cardboard sheets lay the ground next to the back road of parks, where young boys in the whites practise cricket, looking into the others who sit in the dirt staring out blankly. Speaking with people who live their they have become accostumed to this way of life, passing each other by, living together, sharing the city together. Where developers have bought slum land and developed properties wealthy families will live next door to a slum family. They may walk the same streets, but their paths of their lives are so different.