Star Bucks is now in Mumbai!


Well, it’s actually been in Mumbai for a year and a half now, but it still feels pretty brand new. It’s mixed feelings I have, the few times that I have patronized the cafe. I find that the set up of Starbucks in Mumbai is on a much grander scale; the physical space of each of the cafes is far bigger than the ones in the USA. And every time I step into one of these cafes, it takes me back to a time and phase in my life, where I would sip on hot coffees, warming my soul on the cold and crisp mornings of San Francisco.

It’s amazing how this coffee giant has made its way into India; it has sank its claws into the Indian market, and it’s certainly here to stay. Starbucks is like a magnet, attracting all kinds of people, from all walks of life. After all, it is Starbucks, and it has a pull or should we say, a je ne sais quoi, that makes the nobody and everybody of Mumbai pay homage to this mega coffee chain, at least once in their lives.

Here are some pictures of my recent jaunt at a Starbucks in Bandra:

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Looks familiar?

 

India’s first Starbucks opened in Mumbai in downtown, on 19th October, 2012. Occupying a magnificent space of 4500 square feet, with two levels, this monolithic structure has class, esthetics, and space! I was there some time last year, and did not feel like I was in Mumbai. The set up was impressive, the service was par excellence, and the ambiance was to die for. Plus, it also helps that this store is located in Old Bombay, a much more prettier and charming part of Mumbai.

What’s fascinating about the Starbucks in Mumbai is the fact that all vegetarian and non-vegetarian products, are kept in different sections, so as to not offend the sentiments of those who are strict vegetarians. Right from sandwiches, to cakes, to rolls, and muffins….if they have meat or egg, they land in one section, and the rest go into another. Very simple and politically correct!

If you ask me about the prices, I think they are on par with the ones in the US, by Indian standards, though some would protest, saying they are on the higher side. Let’s face it, there is no concept of “minimum wage”, and you certainly need a little extra moolah to enjoy the fare at Starbucks. When I was there last, I paid INR 311.00 for a small coffee and a cake (that is about $5.00). Here’s the bill, which is important, as it shows you all the other taxes that go with the original price:

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I am fully aware and certain that Starbucks will spread its tentacles into the Indian demographic, hitting all the major cities in India. In Mumbai alone, we have about 15 stores, a significant number for a chain that only launched itself in the Fall of 2011. This muti-million dollar giant will reap in the big bucks; but the good part is that it is providing job opportunities for the locals as well.

It will be interesting to see how this coffee chain’s story unfolds, here in our very land of milk and honey!

 

 


There is a secret side to Mumbai that not everyone is aware of. It’s a world which is not easily accessible to the lay person, neither is it socially acceptable or talked about so openly. I am referring to the world of the occult and the supernatural, a world that is flourishing, creating currents in the ocean of Mumbai’s subconscious.

As a lover of the occult, the metaphysical, and magic, and as someone who has willingly dabbled in this world, I was skeptical about what Mumbai would offer me. I have often viewed this city as being very commercial and materialistic, and did not have many expectations of experiencing life of a different dimension. However, I was surprised by how rich a metaphysical life this city actually has, have personally had experiences of numerous types, which allows me to continue my exploration of the unknown.

I have become fond of a “master channeller”, who accesses higher planes of consciousness, bringing me important life messages and learnings, and guidig me on my spiritual path. I have also just been introduced to a Shaman, who is Indian, and had my first “Power animal retrieval” and “Stone Reading”. I was intrigued and relieved by the accuracy of her readings, and very pleased to see a level of mastery that I would expect in the West.

I have also had numerous sessions with a hypnotherapist, having done past life regressions and other types of hypnosis. And let’s not forget the Tarrot – I have had some insightful readings from the Tarrot reader.

In fact, there is a “magick” shop in Bandra, not too far from where I live. I was in awe of all the “magical and supernatural” literature and paraphernalia that they had. It is owned and run by the High Priestess, Reverend Swati Prakash. When I entered the shop, which was dotted with a few cats, I felt like I was home. From Wiccan rituals to invocations to the Faeries or spirits to stones, crystals, blessed waters, fairy dust, candles, oils and magickal herbs, this shop was filled with all kinds of magic!

I must say, I am thrilled, surprised, and in love with the idea that, beneath all the madness and chaos, there lies a quiet and mysterious world that is dedicated to the occult. This world does tend to be secretive, and it’s inhabitants do not openly advertise themselves or their services. You usually come across this world through someone who knows someone who is involved in this realm. And that’s why Mumbai never ceases to amaze me!