Mumbai is a well known as a city of disparity. Where wealthy Bollywood actors and muddy streets plastered with cheap ad banners occupy the same space. The dream sold to me by Hollywood and travel channels, they formed my original vision of the city. Before I came to Mumbai I imagined people would look no different from other parts of India I’d visited; ladies in traditional saris and men with large moustaches. The reality was rather different, instead of colourful dresses I saw women in jeans, and men clean shaven, breaking the preference for a face full of hair. Women were less visible in some parts of in India, save for back streets and villages. Trains were full of men, streets and shops were flooded with testosterone, women were not there; not in service not in stores. For a second I thought they were nonexistent.

To my surprise Mumbai is green and shaded, this setting it apart from many others places I visited in India. It has long British designed avenues lined wit trees, parks visited by  perpetual cricket games. The streets were filled with food stalls and retro cabs. The crowds, sea shore and miles long slums were nothing new. We arrived to Mumbai before the New Year and spent it here, witnessing India’s approach to the festivities.