Mumbai is the city of glamour, of pretty people, of Bollywood, the model brigade, the page three fashionistas, and the upstarts. Mumbai is the pulse of the country's finances where Dalal Street makes the rules and where tycoons head multi-crore business empires, and enjoy equal celebrity stature as their Bollywood counterparts. Cliched, but true, the city that never sleeps. All night partying (though the authorities will tell you that it is against the law), traffic jams at 3 am, kebab joints open all night, and even chaiwallas pedalling along the sea-facing promenades work into the wee hours to cater to night birds.
Mumbai is walking along the sea facing promenades in the monsoon, horse-carriage rides near the Gateway of India, art deco cinema halls, the hustle and bustle, shopping on the streets. Mumbai is high-end art galleries and boutiques, bhelpuri and pav-bhaji; trains packed to super-crush mode, spectacular Ganapati processions. Mumbai is where everyone speaks 'Bambaiya'.
Going out in Mumbai is not always equated with partying the night away. The city is pretty clued into the art and theatre scene, and whereas a few cities in India dub culture as something that is meant for the elite, here it is out on the streets, accessible to all. Art galleries galore in Mumbai, with a few more springing up every year. The trend of banks and corporate houses opening up their art collection for public viewing has also caught on, and offers some interesting viewing. The Kala Ghoda district invariably has several interesting exhibitions going on at the same time, and is a good one-stop-shop if you haven't more than a day to spare on the art scene in Mumbai.
Theatre is also making its mark felt, and there is a gamut of productions to choose from in English, Hindi, Marathi or Gujarati. Subject matter too ranges from the poignant to the controversial to the sublime to the downright rolling-in-your-seat, tears-streaming-down-your-face hysterical. If you are the adventurous sorts and in the mood for an offbeat play try out the NCPA (National Centre of Performing Arts) Experimental Theatre or Prithvi Theatre. Dinner theatre is another trend that is fast catching on. The city also does see operas and ballets, but these are few and far between. More common are music recitals and internationally acclaimed orchestras performing famed concertos at auditoriums. The cinema is a much-favoured past time too, and with movies now releasing within a few months of their international debuts, the temptation of renting a DVD is kept in check. Multiplexes with glossy interiors, a huge variety of popcorn, and 4-5 small theatres are springing up all over the city to cater to the cinema boom, so you are always assured of catching that flick somewhere. Some enterprising Mumbaikars and theaters also deliver movie tickets to your door steps! (You will find numbers listed in local newspapers).