India | Mumbai

India | Mumbai

April 18, 2016

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you might have noticed that we are currently travelling through India. It is all part of our next artisan project for our upcoming collections, so stay tuned. We are meeting with different textile and fabric artisans around the country and trying our best to soak up the diverse cultures of this part of the world. Our first stop: Mumbai.

The Arrival

Stepping off the plane in Mumbai (after a 17 hour flight from Toronto via Munich), we felt the wall of heat immediately. Walking through the airport in the warmth, we noticed the beauty of the art and sculptures, which sparked our excitement and made us realize just how far from home we were.

After an hour-long taxi ride, short for Mumbai traffic standards, we arrived at Abode, our little boutique hotel. Only noticeable by a small sign in the doorway, it felt like a tucked away paradise, centred by a grand wooden staircase, beautiful design details and glass doors lining the hallways.

Upon our arrival, the lovely staff ordered us street food from Bademiya to our room. Hungry for real food, we eagerly gobbled back out tandoori chicken and aloo gobi roti wraps. And immediately passed out.

Our First Day
After a greasy and delicious complimentary breakfast, we went to explore out neighbourhood.

We must confess, when we found a Starbucks after a couple blocks in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, we were excited to enjoy the familiarity and air conditioning.

We took a stroll to The Gates of India. We found it strange that it was mostly a national tourist attraction, rather than populated by international tourists. Because of this, our Western appearance became a tourist attraction of its own. A girl came up to us and asked for a picture with us, and within seconds we were surrounded by a crowd of people. It happened repeatedly during our stay at the gates, so we sneakily made our way back to the hotel.

We moved into a fancier room at the hotel and decided we should just relax and of course do a mini photo shoot in our sunroom. What else do you do when you are on vacation in a beautiful hotel with tall ceilings and lots of light?

Our First Night
After dinner and drinks at a local tourist bar, we reached out to Sheetal, who we had been connected with through a man we had met in Malaysia last year*.

We went to meet her at an art opening, at her invitation. Climbing up the bamboo stairs, timidly unsure what to expect, we passed a woman in a Frida Kahlo-esque outfit and heard cool music in the distance. We excitedly kept exploring.

Passing through glass doors when we reached the third floor, we walked into a space that felt more European than what we had been exposed to in Mumbai so far. The room was filled with elegantly dressed artistic people, munching on the snacks that circulated the rooms. We learned that the space was called Ministry of New, a collective workspace for artists. Each room had a different purpose: one room looked like a dance space, with an elevated dance floor; another room had balconies and a huge swing in the middle of the room; there was a small coffee shop space in the corner and unique meeting rooms surrounded the inner main balcony space. Ok, cool right?

We finally located the champagne and our hostess. As expected, Sheetal was absolutely lovely! She told us about her media company and about the other people in the room, who were mostly entrepreneurs, artists, and designers. Everyone we met were amazed that we had been invited to such an exclusive event with most of the elite of the Mumbai art scene—and so were we!

We followed the party to the rooftop bar of the St Regis Hotel. Though it was entirely fabulous, we were exhausted (this is still our first day!) so we told our new friends that we were going to Uber home. They shot down this plan and told us to take their personal chauffeur instead. Okay! And we were whisked home.

It was an amazing start to the trip!
*Isn’t it amazing what can happen when you reach out to friends of friends around the world? That is a great part of travelling.

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