The Polyglot Archipelago

Seven islands form the area now called Mumbai (Bombay until 1995). Marathi, Hindi, and English are just a few of the languages spoken there, including Bambaiva, a blend of Gujarati, Konkani, Urdu, Indian English, and more. Its home to 18.5 million, India’s most populous city.

Rudyard Kipling, Salman Rushdie, and Fareed Zakaria all were born there, as was Twinkle Khanna. Kipling went on to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature (1907) and Rushdie survived a Fatwa for his Satanic Verses, only to be impersonated later in a Seinfeld episode about Silicone implants. Fareed’s serial plagiarism hasn’t derailed his writing career and Twinkle Khanna, well, she’s gone on from a Bollywood acting career to one selling hundreds of thousands of books every year in India.

My interest in these facts is beyond mild amusement: our family will move next summer to Mumbai on India’s west coast. This next Foreign Service tour offers the family new cultural challenges and adventure, solid opportunity for the boys’ continued music studies, and, of course, really good food. Coupled with Mexico City, we’ll have served at the best food posts in the Foreign Service!

Once an ancient fishing community on the Isle of Bombay, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Woman’s Island, Mumbai is now a towering Megacity. From Bollywood to surfing the Konkan, Western holidays alongside Indian holidays, we’re looking forward to Mumbai’s melting pot of challenges and riches.

Summer 2018.



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