Before our monsoon formed in Cairo, there was India. Although Egypt would be my first time traveling alone, India remains the prologue of prologues; my first backpacking experience.

Having had a few weeks off for vacation, I tagged along when my college buddy #1 Rahul invited me to visit his family in India with college buddy #2, Dan. Then college buddy #3, Avanti, invited me to crash at her place in Mumbai, while Isaac (guess again, college buddy #4), had been backpacking the backwaters of Kerala. With everyone seemingly in one country at the same time, I planned to visit them all.

I flew into Mumbai on a late January night upon the arrival of a new year.



Avanti picked me up from the airport and let me stay at her parents’ place in posh Malabar Hills, known for being the home to many of Mumbai’s high rises and “Gossip Girl” glitterati.


Rahul and Avanti


The sightseeing commenced fairly quickly, with our first visiting the Gate of India:


…and the Taj Mahal Palace:

We also took a bus ride along Queen’s Necklace:

And stopped by at the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus:

With Rahuls’ help the next morning, I crashed his friend’s wedding reception dressed up in a kurta belonging to Avanti’s father. 

Thinking I would know nobody there but Rahul, I ended up with a WTF moment running into my high school friend Aashta and mutual friend Sajni (whom I would also run into again in Singapore a year later):

Afterwards, without changing from our kurtas, we headed up to Andheri to visit Rahul’s friend and aspiring Bollywood actress, Aarti, before returning to home base.

Need to cross a platform? Do it the local way:

Hi Aarti



- At time of posting in Mumbai, it was 30 °C - Humidity: 80% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear


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January 2009