“Will you be at home? My packet from the designer will arrive today, can you collect it for me, please?” said my niece, as she headed to yet another shopping centre.
With only few days left for her wedding, she was busy shopping all day, sometimes skipping lunch and missing all the luxuries of easy life that she is normally used to! Every hour she would check her shopping list and plan the next move. Life is tough in a city like Mumbai. Traffic jams, pollution and crowded streets can squeeze out the energy off you. Shopping in Mumbai can be a nightmare! But still, every young NRI dreams of coming to India to shop for their most important day of their life.
A chat with my niece reveals what you can expect when you embark on the special journey to your trousseau shopping to India.
Why did you choose to come to India for your trousseau shopping?
For Indian clothes, India has the biggest variety (obviously). You can properly shop around and check out the various designers/styles/trends that are out there, instead of depending on the limited styles that might come to your city. Also, I live in Asia so traveling to India is very convenient.
If the designers and the sales people came to your place of origin, would you buy from them? Why?
For my bridal wear? No. For my bridal outfits, I was very fussy (aren’t all brides?). I wanted to take a look at absolutely everything out there and then choose what I wanted for my big day But if I really liked a particular designer, and he/she came to my city, and I really liked an outfit, then yes, I would buy from them for my other trousseau wear. But since I live so close to India, I still prefer traveling there and taking a look from their full collection. Also, the prices abroad are often higher than the prices offered within India.
Which is the best city in India to shop for? Why?
DELHI!!! Well, I’ve only actually been to Mumbai and Delhi for shopping, and between the two, DELHI was definitely, without a doubt, better. I noticed that although Mumbai is very often the city most Sindhis go to for the “trendier” stuff, the same stuff (and a good deal more) is available in Delhi. Delhi had a MUCH larger variety, with styles from all over India, the trendy, the traditional, the funky. From the large variety of styles/outfits available in Delhi, only a small percentage are actually sent to Mumbai, and that too, a few months later. The collections I found in Mumbai were so limited compared to the ones I saw in Delhi. Also, there are more designers based in Delhi than in Mumbai.
What are the different things that you need to shop from India?
Bridal wear; accessories like bindis, chindis, bangles, anklets, handbags, etc; Saris, suits, lehengas, etc.; Wedding Invitations; Silverware, puja items, Wedding fan and the pillow cover over which you do “dattar”… For Sindhi weddings, the shopping list is endless…
What are the things u would rather buy from your place of origin?
Western clothes and western accessories.
How long did u stay in India to complete the shopping?
My first trip was for five weeks, when I bought my trousseau and ordered my bridals… The second trip was for 2 weeks, where I picked up all my bridals..
What are the hurdles you faced during your stay in Mumbai? In Delhi?
OH THE LIST IS ENDLESS, I don’t know where to start… for trousseau shopping in India, you need LOADS of patience. It gets incredibly wearisome. The tailors were completely unreliable; outfits were never ready when they’re meant to be, the fittings were never-ending, the traffic was frustrating, some of my ordered outfits turned out wrong, and on top of it all, I fell sick.
Was the shopping experience good or bad? Why?
Ummm… actually, the shopping experience was not as bad as I thought it would be… (because of the horror stories I heard, I was expecting much worse)..
Whom would you trust the most with the trousseau shopping?
I would take anyone whose style I appreciated; someone who understood my style, what I would wear versus what I would buy, regret, and never wear.
Any embarrassing moment u faced during your shopping?
Hehehe, yes… I was in a boutique, I tried on a lehenga in the changing room. It was too big for me so I held it tight on the side and walked out of the room, on to a small “pedestal” so my mom could have a good look. The sales girl took hold of the lehenga and tried to pin it tight… accidentally, she let go and the whole lehnga fell down around my ankles.. the whole boutique turned and saw…
Would u recommend your friends to come to India to shop? Why?
Yes, for Indian clothes. As irritating as the experience is, it is still your wedding day, and you still need to look your best.
Did your shopping experience match your expectations? Why?
Well… no. I actually expected the experience to be a lot worse. I heard a lot of horror stories. My cousin got her wedding outfit the day before the ceremony, and the colors came out horribly wrong and completely off… because of all the horror stories I heard, of girls getting their bridal outfits the day before the occasion, and the outfit turning out a horrible color, etc. etc.
What advice would u give to new shopper who is thinking of coming to India to shop?
:)no seriously, know that nothing will turn out the way you want it to, or go according to schedule. Be patient and flexible. Eat well everyday even if you are too busy to take time off. Every week or so take a day off from shopping to have fun. Eat pani puri, go for a movie, catch up with friends, whatever…just take it easy :)
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.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” .....as it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.
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