So as winter took its hold on the western world I wound up in Mubmai, India. The former centre of the British Raj. Arrivals at the international terminal in the north of the city provides a gentle and appropriate introduction to the first-time visitor to India. Order gives way to hustle, the usual transit process to bureaucracy and cool, airconditioned sterility to sticky warmth. The city’s many cultures and religions all have representation in the square out front, where taxis and whole extended families wait for expectantly for their kids. With a bit of intuition you can learn the etiquette basics here in the square as you prepare for your first taxi ride to the city, not that anything can really prepare you for that particular journey. The 1950’s Fiat, black and yellow and beat up, is subtly personalised, its route genuinely petrifying.
Caught between confusion, jetlag and a certain level of ignorance towards the religious calender, my back’s against the wall of an eatery to make way for the Christian Advent procession that’s at once humming and bellowing through the narrow streets just north of Chhatrapati Shivaji Station, sweeping up everything in its path, drowning any completion in an orgy of drumming and chanting.