Dear Mumbai, Your Spirit’s Lying in a Sewer

Satire

Dear Mumbai, Your Spirit’s Lying in a Sewer

Illustration: Sushant Ahire / Arré

S

omewhere in the opening pages of Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts writes of Mumbai: “Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it’s the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches and mosques, and of a hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers.”

I’ve searched everywhere for this smell that Gregory David Roberts speaks of, but every time I’ve come to this city, which has been a river of rain for the last two months, the only thing I can smell is sewage. And surrender.

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