Bombay is energetic, exuberant, sparkling, and has building stones of many kinds and colours ... on your dyspeptic days you are apt to find ... Bombay's [architecture] bumptious, even riotous. In your more genial moments you might apply the adjective ... 'vital'.
John Begg, Consulting Architect to the City of Bombay, circa 1920.
Bombay was central, had been so from the moment of its creation: the bastard child of a Portuguese-English wedding, and yet the most Indian of Indian cities. In Bombay all Indias met and merged. In Bombay, too, all-India met what-what-not-India, what came across the black water to flow into our veins. Everything north of Bombay was North India, everything south of it was South. To the east lay India’s east and to the west, the world’s West. Bombay was central; all rivers flowed into its human sea. It was an ocean of stories; we were its narrators, and everybody talked at once.
Salmon Rushdie (in his novel The Moor's Last Sigh)
Bombay was the safest city in the world and it continues to be the safest.