Autumn is teasing us with the odd chilly morning, and evenings spent bundled in blankets are beckoning. But if we may make a case for venturing out into the crispness, here is what we’re looking forward to in October.
We’re snapping up tickets:—
The Empress at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre. In 1887, ayah (nursemaid) Rani Das arrives in Tilbury docks, ready to work for an English family. For the next 13 years, we follow her life and those of three friends she makes on the voyage from India — a lascar (sailor), an Indian politician and a servant to Queen Victoria. It is an epic and truly gripping tale of the Asian experience in nineteenth century Britain. But it closes on October 28, so do not dally.
We’re gazing up in wonder:—
Five enormous, nature-inspired sculptures suspended among the greenery of the Barbican’s vast Conservatory space, as part of a new installation by sculptor Ranjani Shettar. Wander at leisure, spotting huge abstract fronds and flowers, created with materials and techniques from traditional Indian crafts, like muslin died in madder root. Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon is free to marvel at until March 2024.
We’re dancing with friends:—
A piece of Indian musical history. The NID Tapes: Electronic Music from India 1969-1972 is a collection of early Indian electronic music that was discovered in the archives of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Groove to the tunes of the composers who worked at India’s very first electronic music studio, which was founded at the NID during the years following Indian independence. These are radical, free-thinking beats to inspire your own revolution.
Heading to Birmingham:—
The DESIblitz Literature Festival — an eight-day celebration of British and South Asian literature, curated by the UK's leading British Asian web magazine, DESIblitz. Listen to Goodness Gracious Me actors Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir, and actor/writer Sanjeev Kohli share how they developed the hit show. Hop aboard the DESIblitz Truck Art Bus, for chai, chat and poetry with artists Channi Singh, Jandhu Littranwala and Kulwant Singh Bhamrah. Discover Shakespeare readings with a DESI twist. Or join the Festival Finale for music, poetry, dance, and good vibes.
We’re finding our voices:—
The Brown Girls’ Book Club, an enlightening and uplifting bi-monthly event run by South Asian Sisters Speak (SASS), a remarkable community organisation. They will be discussing A History of Burning by Janika Oza, and tickets (both online and in-person) are free on Eventbrite. SASS also host workshops and panels about issues that are taboo within our communities, in a valiant aim to create spaces for South Asian women to connect, share and learn.
With each new café that we open, we write a story deeply rooted in Bombay history or culture. This story, known to us as the founding myth, informs all aspects of the restaurant’s design. We spend months researching the Bombay of the period and combing the city for the right furniture, both vintage and new. In a way, you walk across our thresholds into our stories.
Bedecked in their annual finery of baubles, tinsel and lights, our cafés are ready to receive you for your Christmas celebration. So too are our chefs, who have assembled a most excellent array of festive fare for your table.
Our soft launch will run from 27th November to 2.30pm on 5th December. And to express our gratitude for being among our first guests, all food can be enjoyed at 50% off across breakfast, lunch and dinner – yes, really.
Stop by any Bombay tapri (street stall), café, or home, and you will likely find yourself with a gently steaming glass of chai in hand. Before the invention of chai, Bombayites drank kadha, an ayurvedic remedy for coughs and colds made of boiled water and spices like cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. Eventually locals started adding tea leaves, milk, honey and sugar to their ‘kadha’. Chai was born.