Mumbai

Look Out, Galliano: Part 2

    As I mentioned before, it’s a little difficult finding your way around Mangaldas Market. But, now after two buying visits and a pit stop to show friends, I have mostly figured out where some of the best vendors are located.

    The 6th Lane is the best place to start, specifically at Rangeela. The shop specializes in “Fancy Dress Materials” and for me that meant a shimmering, crinkled crepe in mango orange. Across from Rangeela is another shop whose name escapes me, but from which I bought some light, woven pastel fabric to make a spring jacket. I also picked up some irridescent purple fabric with block-printed silver, gold, and black flowers. That probably sounds hideous, but the sheath dress that I got made with it turned out fabulously.

    It’s about two weeks since my last posting and about a week since I got my new clothes back from Master Tailor. I was reluctant to post anything until I saw whether the fabric experiment was successful or not. I am more than just a little excited about my new loot.
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    Look Out, Galliano: Part 1

      Rangeela Fabric Salesman Looking online at the spring and summer offerings from the likes of The Gap, Banana Republic, Zara, H&M, etc., I’ve noticed that just about every store has something inspired by India. Embroidered or sequinned tops, cotton kurtas, long, full skirts, and paisley prints, appear to be – from this vantage point – all the rage in the U.S. and Europe, so much so that these designs have trickled down to the mass market. I don’t know if I like this, as this whole India fashion explosion was supposed to happen next year, when I return with an enviable stash of fashion forward Indo-garb. Okay, so I won’t be so special. But I will have a nice array of custom-designed, custom-fit clothing.

      Over the past two weekends, I have discovered the extremely addictive world of fabric shopping in Mumbai’s Mangaldas Market. Walk past the chaos of placemat and plastic sellers opposite and slightly caddy-corner from Crawford Market and therein lies the covered bazaar where many Bombay tailors and designers buy their silks, chiffons, and printed cottons. This being India, the vendors are crammed side-by-side along bustling lanes – not aisles, because that connotes wide, empty paths – but numbered lanes, which are as narrow and congested as Churchgate rail cars at rush hour.

      According to a recent issue of Wallpaper Magazine, John Galliano has been spotted in past years strolling through Mangaldas Market, snatching up bolts of fabric for his ready-to-wear collections. Keeping his motto of the month in mind, I decided it was time for me to jump into the designer game, if only for myself.
      Read More »Look Out, Galliano: Part 1

      Mango Season!

        Mangowallahs.jpg All I have ever heard about the great Indian mango is true ? it is the ripest, freshest, and one of the most enjoyable fruits ever. Forget the scrawny, stringy tasteless Mexican mangoes that we have to settle for in the U.S. Mangoes are the real deal here ? and there?s more than one kind.

        Eight long months we have been waiting for mango season. In the meantime, we have had plenty of fruits to make us happy: papaya, oranges, sweet limes, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, tender coconut, and guava. I like papaya in doses (not dosas!), but it can go gelatinous fairly quickly if you cut it and put it in the fridge. Fresh pineapple has been a godsend, and I still try to have it every day if not every week. It was a joy to discover that watermelons were at their peak here in November and December; cantaloupes have also been quite good for some months now. Around Christmas, a Goan co-worker introduced me to Guava cheese, a traditional yuletide snack that?s basically just equal amounts of guava and sugar boiled and blended together, then hardened and shaped (sometimes into triangle wedges so as to attain a cheesy resemblance). And limes and sweet limes are around all the time for making fresh/sweet lime soda, a local specialty that?s so much more light and refreshing than a lassi.

        Unless, of course, you?re talking about a mango lassi.
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        Bombay Regresses

          Just when I start to think that Bombay is a world-class city, ridiculousness ensues. The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) ? the org responsible for overseeing city planning ? has recently gone on a rash of demolitions against illegal structures. The demolitions have included not only slums ? something like 60,000 have been destroyed so far ? but also local restaurants or businesses that have, say, an unlawful mezzanine or an unauthorized wall.

          The destruction of the slums is horrible, and people have expressed outrage that only poor people were being targeted. So, in order to seem fair, the BMC decided to go after big money places, too. That includes restaurants, such as Colaba’s Koyla, destroyed on Tuesday, and Seijo and the Soul Dish, a very high-style, month-old restaurant in Bandra (owned by friends of friends of mine), which was destroyed yesterday.
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          La Traviata

            Sometimes I have very good luck, such as I did this weekend when I scored two, last-minute, free tickets to see ‘La Traviata’ at the… Read More »La Traviata

            The Hottest Tickets in Bombay

              There was only one way to ease our sorrows last Wednesday night after we realized the inevitable, and that was to drink. And eat.

              Luckily for us, the reopening of the club Enigma came on a night when we needed to forget about the day’s news. The reopening had been much talked about since I arrived a few months ago. So when we were able to get an invitation to the party, we took it.

              Like almost all decent (or is that decadent?) clubs in Bombay, Enigma is located in a hotel. A lot of the good, high quality restaurants are also in hotels, so of course there’s this similarly dull, manufactured air to all of them. Nevertheless, the clubs are a good bet if you just want to go somewhere, have a drink, and do a little dancing. I regret that there really aren’t any good rock clubs or simple pubs in the city. The only exception to the latter is Geoffrey’s, located in the beautiful Art Deco Hotel Marine Plaza. It’s got English pub style to the hilt; sadly, only Kingfisher beer is on draft (but the Pet Shop Boys are on the jukebox!).
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              Day Trip from Mumbai: Lonavala and the Karla Caves

                Columbus Day Weekend 031.jpg Columbus Day Weekend 037.jpg Columbus Day Weekend 038.jpg Columbus Day Weekend 041.jpg

                We had the day off on Monday, so decided to take a day trip to Lonavala, site of some hill stations and the ancient Buddhist Karla Caves. Located about two hours outside of the city, Lonavala is for city folk one of the favorite weekend R&R points. So a trip on Monday was ideal; it meant less traffic (going, at least) and fewer tourists.

                Unlike Matheran, another nearby hill station, Lonavala is located off of the Mumbai-Pune expressway, a relatively nice highway with a few rest stops along the way. We stopped about halfway there to refuel and have a little breakfast. I had a butter dosa (a rice pancake, no filling, served in conical form) and Anthony had wada pav, which is basically a spicy (cumin, fenugreek, chilis) potato patty served on a roll. An Indian burger, if you will. The three of us, our driver included, also had little cups of chai before we were on our way.
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