Our next stop – on the ‘terror tourism’ route, Bunny explained – was the Marine drive spot close The Oberoi towers. It was a popular spot and you could see why. The sea view – placid, vacant, unlike the swarm of cruise and motor boats at the Gateway – with its wide horizon and soft breeze offered instant release from the city’s chaotic entrails. We sat on the wide wall lining the promenade; I hadn’t felt so calm since arriving in India.
The wall appeared to straddle the border between Nature and Civilization: on one side the results of 200 years of commerce were plain to see; the other presented a vision of paradise: a crimson sun dipping into the calm Arabian sea, in the distance small fishing boats returning home.
The promenade was full of young and old couples, walkers, joggers, vendors; there was a mixed sense of lightness and energy. It grew dark as we walked along the arc and soon we saw lights on Malabar Hill: the Mumbai skyline had emerged, almost out of nowhere.