The first thing that happened is a huge swarm of taxi and rickshaw drivers came around us like bees on a sticky nest, this was quite terrifying for the first time and I will never forget having that first indian armpit shoved in my face (it happened many times over the next two months) you know there is no word in Hindi for privacy, this is because it simply doesn't exist.
That first taxi drive was mostly spent on the edge of my seat trying not to have a heart attack, from not only the fact that our backpacks were hanging out the boot with nothing to secure them in, but also the insane and ridiculous driving! They remove their wind mirrors so they can get within inches of each other, there is no order or road markings and by some miracle no crashes! They even open their doors mid drive to spit out fountains of bright red saliva from chewing on the paan.
We drove for a few hours and it was so much to take in, the mounds of rubbish pilled high, the tiny children barefoot sifting through it, the beggars banging their bowls on the windows, the brightly coloured Hindu gods splashed on every billboard, poster and wall, the amount of cattle standing smack bang in the middle of road (I now understand the saying 'calmer than a Hindu cow') and the smells...oh the smell, one minute putrid fish the next beautiful thick rose oil, it was tingling my every sense and invoking my spirit.
This is when I realised you have to surrender to India, her whims and people take you by the throat and drag you in unimaginable directions, and I was ready for the adventure I was about to embark on.
Gateway to India, Mumbai.