Bombay Royale

Romance is entrenched in the colonial era buildings festooned with long gangly vines and cushioned by ancient fig trees. The neutral colour palette is highlighted by dusty fronds in faded green crawling over buildings and bougainvillea blooming in the new spring light. The air is heavy with humidity and the sweet, familiar scent of pollution.

Hectic, rambling, electric, this country never sleeps and Bombay seems to be the epicentre of Indian life. We visit our old haunts; bazaars and streets we know, stealing kisses in the opulent horse and carriage we take past hordes of Indians heading down Marine Drive to India Gate. Bombay was the first Indian city I fell in love with, and her charms still play on me.

My obsession with the handmade is satiated in the home wares. We also love the vibrancy and bustle of fruit and vegetable markets. But first, we head to our favourite Mangal Das bazaar – the cloth market – to pick up some unique fabrics and see our old tailors for a new wardrobe fit-out.

As we are here for a week we aim to find Paloma some fun. We discover a park with horse rides where we bargain for the best horse, or, should I say, the least ratty-looking. Paloma canters off around and around, asking to go faster and laughing with glee at the bumpy ride.

Many new cafes have sprung up all over the city. Our favourite, Theobroma, offers every delectable French patisserie and we indulge in many a treat here. The temperature is rising every day since our time in Jaipur when we wore blankets to breakfast. Bombay ice cream is de rigeur and our new favourite flavour is Kesar Pista; vanilla with cardomon and pistachio, a delicious Bombay special I highly recommend.

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