This past Thursday, my (expat) friend and I visited a charity mela (Hindi word for Fair) hosted by the American’s Women Club. This mela was held at one of the prestigious hotels in Mumbai, The Trident, an exquisitely done up hotel with all the frills. I was very pleased and impressed to see the fresh Lillies in full bloom as the center piece of the hotel lobby. You may see for yourself:
It was really amazing to see soooo many expats, both Indian and Caucasian, all under one roof, busy chatting with each other and buying handicrafts for the upcoming holiday season. This event took me down memory lane thinking of what it must be like in San Francisco right now, as people are getting ready for the holidays. With Halloween just gone by, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years, are all just around the corner and the city must be glittering, as it has always done all these years.
It made me smile thinking of the differences in the gifts and handicrafts that were being sold for the holidays in Mumbai versus what I was used to seeing in the US. There were a lot of Indian handicrafts right from shawls, to jewelry, to Indian cushion covers and other house wares, as well as ceramic wares and other unusual items that were being sold at the mela. I picked up a few things, oe of which included a hand painted mini ceramic Ganesha, with a turban on. Below are a couple of pcitures I have to share:
It was fascinating to encounter expats who, because they are unable to work in the country, especially the expat wives and partners, were helping local non-profit organizations to develop and sell their products. Seeing the collaboration and partnership, as well as the cultural diversity of all kinds of women coming together to help one another, was refreshing and uplifting. I hope that I will be able to attend a lot more events such as this and meet people from various cultural backgrounds and from all walks of life!.
After this event, I was still in “shopping’ mode. And Mumbai is certainly a shopper’s paradise. So, without a doubt, my friend and I could not end with just shopping at the mela. We decided to treat our senses at one of Mumbai’s finest shopping malls – The Palladium – and I thought I was back home in the US! There were all branded goods such as Mango, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ferrari, Zara, Channel, as well as the Indian brand names. I was like a kid in a candy store, and I was amazed and in awe with how well this mall was designed and maintained. I am certainly coming back, and this time, with a whole lotta more cash!