India / Southeast Asia

In the Ghetto

After venturing to a bar with a slightly older, more techno- and strobe-light-oriented crowd the night before, I was relieved when the bar suggested that night was slower paced.

One of the men staying at the hotel recommended a bar called “Ghetto” to us and asked if we would like to accompany him. It was going to be his last night in India before returning home after spending over two years abroad with the Peace Corps.

How could we say no?

A twenty minute cab ride later we arrived at “Ghetto.”

The three of us girls were a little reluctant at first, as the area around the bar was essentially deserted, but nevertheless we confidently walked between two muted buildings and found the entrance to another world.

photo from

photo from

A combination of The Casbah where The Beatles first played and any small artsy bar tucked away in a big city, “Ghetto” was a surprising breath of fresh air.

The walls were covered with words written in sharpie over the years by patrons. I looked around at the thousands of poems and narratives filling the walls as we stepped up to the wooden bar and ordered our drinks.

Within a few minutes we had already made friends with some Indian men and women only a few years older than us. They excitedly chatted with us for some time and suggested we come with them to a dance club they were headed to before the evening ended.

After our experience on the first night, it was easy to opt for a slower, quieter night instead.

We waved our friends goodbye and enjoyed a mellow evening in this hole-in-the-wall bar as a fabulous assortment of 80s music played on the speakers and pool cues clinked from the back corner.

We sat at a small wooden table, eating popcorn and swapping stories. A perfect, relaxing evening to wrap up our trip to Mumbai.

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