Ahhh, so Mumbai... hmmm... where do I start? On average, I've been almost every year for the past 5 years. No, I don't have family there but now my friends are so close to me that I do feel like I have family (enter my stylish bestie Candice from Marry Me Weddings here). But my love affair with Mumbai is an unusual one. People often ask me how someone who grew up in an Australian Fiji-Indian household has such a love and passion for Indian culture to which I reply "HUH?"... because to me it feels strange NOT to be interested by one's motherland. But while I love my culture, I love Mumbai for what it is becoming - a bustling cosmopolitan city where urban culture meets modern luxury... it is, in my eyes, an Indian NYC!
I have my regular to-do list: haircut at Toni & Guy, massage at Snip, Aurus, Olives, etc etc but I wanted to put together a top 5 list (as of March 2012) for those who are looking to go in the near future. Now, FIVE is a very SMALL list so don't hate me if I missed something. But here is something old, something new and all BBA-approved!
1) The Sabyasachi Store
To. Die. For. I could not believe my eyes and I felt as if I had been pulled back into time. Even if you don't plan on buying Indian gear from the couture designer, the interior of this store is as good as Louis Vuitton in Paris or any store on 5th Ave. He is one of the few designers who understand the importance of consistent branding which is vital for luxury fashion brands. I just love everything about it - the clocks, the old bollywood memorabilia, the dark lighting.. And like most couture houses, you might just end up with something you can't afford because it will suck you in...
2) Candies Restaurants / Cafes / Place-To-Be-Seen
So I'm biased on this one since I know the family who run it but every time I go to Mumbai I just can't get enough of the food, the artsy atmosphere, the young crowd and the upward maze of places to sit.. all the locals know about it and now you do too!
3) Mamta KG School, Worli
After hearing - and viewing snippets - of a documentary being produced by my friend Tina Thadani, I decided to go visit the school and the woman behind it. Swati is an amazing young woman who started a school, on her own, for 75 kids from Mumbai's poorest slums. She found a community center, paid for staff (along with rent, supplies etc) with her own savings and works hard to make her cause heard. If you are like me and want to give back, but never know where to start, then Swati is your answer. It was a pure delight and I assure you there is nothing more rewarding!
4) Loose Ends
Welcome to kitsch in India. A fusion trend made global by the likes of Manish Arora, now the pop/art form can be seen in trendy new shops across Mumbai. It's a mash-up of old Bollywood, comedy, and warhol-esque colors across mugs, magnets, furniture, and more. You can't leave India without picking up something from Chumbuk or one of the other local brands. Candice suggested Loose Ends to me and I loved it! (she knows me well)
|Design by Ketna Patel Studio|
5) Cafe at LeMill
LeMill is a hot new lifestyle luxury store that has some familiar names - Alexandar Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim- in a renovated warehouse located in downtown Mumbai. While I wouldn't recommend it for shopping (severely overpriced) I would suggest it's organic cafe located inside. It's a welcome change from the usual Indian food and if you don't get lost in the fresh delights presented in front of you, you'll definitely get lost in the decor. You may even forget you're in India and start believing your in Pottery Barn or Ikea...