Okay, Francis has gone; I’m the shopping queen now! I will try to be as impartial as she was but I have to admit, I do have a favourite shop in Mumbai and everywhere else seems to pale by comparison.
Whenever I walk the hallowed floors of my personal temple, also known as Good Earth, my brain releases tiny spurts of the love chemical Dopamine and I feel I am dead and gone to heaven. I am in awe of the simplicity of design, the scale of furniture and the bold use of colour. My eyes become a lot bigger than my purse and I struggle to not quickly whip out my credit card and spend until it bursts into flames. I want it all!
So, it was with some skepticism that I read in Time Out that a new shop called ‘The Shop’ was a cross between Good Earth and Fabindia. My antenna began to twitch.
Readers, I will tell you that ‘The Shop’ is OK but no way on God’s green earth can it be compared to my beloved Good Earth. (I do not work for them, in case you’re wondering; I am just a big fan) Anyway, I was happy to check out ‘The Shop’ and did in fact make a purchase of a bright yellow cotton kimono (770/-) ‘The Shop’ is just opposite from Pali Hill Café and is housed in a quaint little bungalow. It offers home accessories, spa products, printed cotton apparel for adults and kids and a few sticks of furniture. It is a lot cheaper than both Good Earth and Fabindia and I might go in again if I ever need a table cloth or a bar of soap shaped like a slice of lemon. Again, it was OK, but I did have the feeling that I’d seen it all before.
Later in the week, I bumped into a friend (funnily enough, I was mooning about in Good Earth at the time) She said: “Have you been to ‘Mozaic’ in Turner Road?” So, as my time is my own, I jumped into the car and headed towards Bandra. You may conclude from this that I am a shallow and vacuous person who has nothing better to do and measures out her days in shops and shopping, you may well be right!
‘Mozaic’ is also housed in a wonderful old heritage bungalow and uses the same layout style as ‘The Shop’. Stuff for the living room is displayed in the actual living room and stuff for the bedroom is displayed in the actual bedroom, etc. I walked around wishing I could live in this bungalow with its fabulous vintage mosaic tile floors. But if I did, I would want to chuck out most of the stuff and fill it up with stuff from you know where. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful pieces, I particularly liked the ornate chandeliers but everything was outrageously priced. I wanted a small, turquoise Buddha which was moulded not even carved and they wanted 7,000/- for it! The woman in there was totally useless. She followed me round the shop at a distance of approximately one inch and knew the price of very little. Another customer bought some coasters and had to wait half an hour for the change. Why do so many shops in Mumbai fail to organize a till float? It’s beyond me.
Another day, another shop. The Great Eastern Home is housed in a huge mill in Byculla. I went with a friend and we were the only customers in there. Lights were switched on behind us, as were ACs and wandered about marveling at the huge antique pieces from all over the world. There is very little anyone could realistically take home unless they were a pop star or a millionaire. I loved it all but it was seriously out of my league. My friend expressed an interest in a picture of a tiger which cost God knows how many lakhs. “I’ll think about it” she murmured, and wandered off.
The best find by a Mumbai mile this week was undoubtedly ‘Freedom Tree’ situated, conveniently enough, in Raghuvanshi Mills. I had a bit of trouble finding it and it involved going round the back of somewhere and up some stairs but when I got through the doors I was instantly delighted by the riot of block colours. Freedom Tree has an eclectic collection of furniture, tableware, textiles, rugs and lighting , all designed in house and made in India and very much influenced by simple mid century design. I particularly loved the citrus and green. Director Latika Khosla is an international colour consultant and forecasts colours for major companies like Asia Paints and Godrej. Fed up with all the blinging’ home ware stores in Mumbai , Latika opened Freedom Tree “to celebrate modern India as a vibrant design destination.” I must admit, it reminded me a bit of Habitat in the UK and the products were bright, fun, and affordable. (You don’t get that in ‘Honey Homes’ – though you might get a life size gold ceramic horse with a lampshade on its head.)
I have to confess, I went back to ‘Mozaic’ to get that little turquoise Buddha but they had sold it. Lesson learned.