(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)
It wasn't Munich, but try telling that to the hundreds of Mumbaikers and expats (including some wearing lederhosen) who gathered at Mahalaxmi Race Course on Friday night, sipping imported Bavarian brews from hefty beer steins, determined not to let geography get in the way.
Noticeably absent were the big beer tents typically associated with the event, which in previous years had sheltered guests under a welcoming canopy. But no matter; the mood remained festive well into the evening, as a lively band crooned German folk music and Western covers, and guests dug into an Indianised version of an Oktoberfest spread, with jalapeno chicken sausage served alongside schmorbraten, illuminated by the glow of brightly lit trees.
Oktoberfest has been celebrated in Germany for more than 200 years, and now draws more than six million people to the annual two-week affair. Mumbai's interpretation, hosted by the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, is considerably younger, celebrating only its third year. But despite its relative youth, the event seems to be gaining traction in this city, leaving organisers hopeful the budding festival, which has been hosted at Mahalaxmi Race Course since 2010, although usually in October, will become a permanent fixture on Mumbai's social calendar.
"It's about promoting German culture," said Peter Deubet, Deputy Director General of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, "and German culture is about drinking beers and eating sausages." (Around 7 million litres of beer and 200,000 pairs of pork sausage links are consumed during Oktoberfest in Munich each year, according to estimates).