Walking in the parks of Delhi felt different from Mumbai. I mentally dialled up the temperature to sweltering Mumbai. I let my mind subtract out the people who seemed to just hang around and soak up the sun. I subtracted the smell of smoke and added in the smell of drying fish. It still felt different.
The answer did not come to me in a brilliant flash. I worried at it until I realized that it was something about bird calls. Delhi and Mumbai both have their share of bird pests: crows, kites, parakeets and pigeons. The ones in Mumbai are Blue Rock Pigeons, roughly like in the photo here. They make cooing sounds when they land next to their mate, but are otherwise quite silent. Even when two of them are scrapping, you only hear the frantic flapping of their wings.
Delhi’s pigeons seem to have escaped from breeders more recently. They are often black and white, sometimes more black, at other times more white. But they call while flying. That’s the harmony of the city which I was not able to put a finger on until I started explaining this to The Family.