By Maggie Videan
It’s taken me 25 years to return to my homeland. That being the case, I started out in Bangalore, a city renowned for service and IT industries. As soon as I arrived, it was quite apparent why it had taken me so long to return. India is confronting. The crowds, the poverty and the traffic are all overwhelming. Bangalore is known for being a city where the traffic does not move. The city has expanded too fast for its infrastructure and every type of vehicle from huge lorries to bullock carts are in competition on the road, all honking their horns incessantly.
Thankfully, thanks to an Aussie ex-pat friend living there, the two days there were well spent enjoying the best shopping that mad, crazy city has to offer. So, this being a babe-blog, the tales of shopping in Bangalore boils down to heading to the aptly named, ‘Commercial Street’ and simply working through the many interesting and diverse retail outlets.
Firstly, buy, buy, buy bangles! The bangles from Bangalore are the best! They are made of metal and come in the most vibrant colours and in two sizes, so they will fit a larger hand. My sixteen-year old daughter stocked up on bangles for gifts and grumbled when she got home that she had to part with some of her allotment.
The Mysore silk shop is visually stimulating with an extraordinary array of saris, shawls, silks and all sorts of fabrics. The colours, textures and sequins on the fabrics, combined with the spectacle of the many women shopping for a wedding trousseau or just a new wardrobe of saris, makes for quite a sight. I was more engrossed in the ‘floor show’ than the produce in the shop. I did, however, buy about a dozen silk cushion covers averaging about $4 each. Pashminas are also readily available in all price ranges, but, can be purchased for as little as Rs 100 (that’s about $2.20).
Also in the area is Hum India, where ‘seconds’ from Western brands manufactured in the area can be found. All sorts of labels, such as Ed Hardy, Ralph Lauren and even the occasional Louis Vuitton turn up, though it is a time-intense activity sorting through the mountain of stock.
Down the road is ‘Fab India’ a homewares shop full of interesting stuff. Also in this street are shoe shops that make all sorts of sandals that are sturdy as well as stylish … Indian style that is. The ‘Chappals’ are a bit more exxy but well worth it if you like the pair you purchase, as they will last more than one wear.
Finally, conveniently located in this vicinity is Woody’s vegetarian restaurant which has a downstairs ‘bar’ area or an upstairs air-conditioned room, ideal for the exhausted shopper. The fresh pineapple juice and a Dosai (a large savoury pancake with potato filling) is a perfect combo to top up energy levels before sourcing out the silver and jewellery shops in the area.
So, the grand finale would be a visit to C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons, the oldest jewellers in Bangalore and worthy of a visit. After all, a girl can’t live on bangles alone!