Pali Hill at Noon and Night

When I went to Mumbai last month, I was lucky enough to be able to stay in a huge 17th floor apartment in one of its richest suburbs. The neighbourhood turned out to be one of the most interesting aspects of my stay there – and the way it changed after sundown was striking.

The market is closed, obviously, and almost all signs of its existence have disappeared. No more brightly coloured vegetables, nor even the large wooden trays they were presented in. The swiftness with which structures can be erected and dismantled in India always surprises me. Looking a little closer, we see that the poles, tables and carts may have been dragged away, but each shopkeeper (and often his family) is still there, lying on bedrolls on the concrete, trying to get some sleep before doing it all again tomorrow.

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Business vs Pleasure in Varkala

Varkala’s cliff area is essentially a lawless zone, a modern-day Deadwood. Okay, perhaps that’s stretching it, but compared to Bangalore with its strictly policed 11:30pm curfew, The Cliff is debauchery incarnate. In traditional-minded Kerala, Varkala is a strange outpost of Western freedoms a sort of tiny imitation Goa – and the contrast with its surroundings is marked. Bodies lie strewn about the place, some of them topless; people flirt openly and flaunt their sexuality; alcoholic beverages are consumed; someone over there may even be sparking up a joint. And that’s just the beach.

…read more at The NRI

Bangin’ Out In Bangalore

It was at a packed intersection in Koramangala that the general absurdity of a night out in Bangalore first became apparent. Vikram, our stylish college student friend, was driving Em and I to the MG Road area and its assortment of bars and pubs, blasting an addictive dance track on the stereo, but the music wasn’t going to push us through this red light faster. As we waited for the lights to change, a woman in rags holding a crying child approached the window. “I don’t care if you can’t dance, just wanna see that ass bounce,” bellowed the speaker system as she held her hand out to us, then to her mouth, then to us again. I pushed a ten-rupee note into her hand and wound the window up. She stayed in the same spot as the lights changed and watched us as we pulled away, her flat expression unchanged by our encounter.

…read more at The NRI