Large quantities of onions frying hint at a Muslim biryani. And that earthy, intense aroma is unmistakably the Bengali panch phoron, a whole spice mix dominated by fennel and fenugreek. Mostly these scents, like their owners, peacefully coexist, but there can be clashes. Due to the high number of Jains, members of a religion that prescribes strict vegetarianism, the city has many non-meat-eaters, and they can be forthright in their disdain of meat-cooking neighbors. "We can't stand the smell," is their refrain, and they have made apartment blocks, even some neighborhoods, almost meat free. This is also a coastal city, and a passion for seafood is ingrained. Still, when the fishing community, which resides in the heart of Mumbai, lays out shrimp and small fish to dry on the shore, it faces protests from the residents of much-prized sea-facing flats. The smell can, indeed, be overwhelming; the British, in their time, tried to stop it and failed. But chances are those rich homeowners will have to get used to this essential Mumbai sensory experience, just as everyone else who settles here learns to live with, and even value, the scents of the city.