I moved to Mumbai mid-2008. The past year had been difficult for me, and in that foolish way that we think we can reset our lives, I moved. I had plans to enter through Mumbai, travel up north through Rajasthan, and then east into Dhaka and finally Chittagong (I have an unstamped Bangladesh visa to prove it), but those plans slowly dissolved. I found myself involved in a new relationship that gave me little reason to be ambitious about traveling the country and I moved into a flat in a developing node of Navi Mumbai called Kamothe. Kamothe was a new neighborhood in the planned city of Navi Mumbai, an exo-city built to ease the crowding of Mumbai proper, and in 2008 the new city was being busily built everywhere.
I lived in this place and traveled a little bit within the state of Maharashtra, “The Great Country,” until the 28 November Attacks struck. I had just returned from a long trip to Nagpur, for a wedding, and walking up the hot, dusty road, surrounded by half-built husks of housing and mangrove swamps and thought, at last, “it feels good to be home.”
That night, war came.
CST (Shivaji Station, née Victoria Terminus), Cafe Leopold, the plaza outside the Taj are all places that you spend your time in Mumbai when you aren’t at home or work or at a fancy shopping mall, and had my girlfriend and I not been exhausted from the last leg of the return trip via Pune, we planned to go downtown where much of the violence was to have occurred. Lucky to be home.
These photographs are from my time at home in The Great Country.