“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’s the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. Its the blue skin-smell of the sea, no matter where you are in the island city, and the blood metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and the waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and love that produces courage. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches and mosques, and of hunderd bazaar devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers. That smell, above all things – is that what welcomes me and tells me that I have come home.
Then there were people. Assamese, Jats, and Punjabis; people from Rajasthan, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu; from Pushkar, Cochin, and Konark; warrior caste, Brahmin, and untouchable; Hindi, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Parsee, Animist; fair skin and dark, green eyes and golden brown and black; every different face and form of that extravagant variety, that incoparable beauty, India.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram