We are officially half way through our exchange period here in Mumbai. Whoever thought that 3 months could go so fast? Going on exchange has been one of the most invigorating, challenging and life changing experiences- the chance to explore another country as part your studies and converse with our students who share the same passion as you has been an opportunity that I couldn’t recommend highly to anyone else.
Whilst being on exchange in India, it has given me and my partner Dom the opportunity to learn about the history behind traditional Textiles and local folk stories as well as the many techniques which influence these textiles. We have been able to put these in to practice by making our own scarf using a traditional styled loom; a hand woven mechanism which is still used throughout Indian culture today. To say this was a long and tiresome process would be an understatement, but the end result was absolutely pleasing and made me appreciate the hard work and art form that goes in to making hand woven goods. We have also had the chance to learn about various block and screen printing forms; another techniques which is still prominent throughout Indian culture today. From designing our own collections to learning the compositions behind fabrics, to learning the business side of the industry, the university offers a vast knowledge base on everything that you need to know before taking the leap into the Fashion Industry yourself. University here is extremely different to that of QUT. Here, it is 5 days a week, some weeks even 6 from 9.30-6.
Since being here we have explored a lot of Mumbai. Our first trip into the city, or CST as it is referred to here, we took the ‘local’; a train where your sense of personal space becomes a distant memory. The many times we have been to CST, there is always something new to see or something different to taste. Going to Marine Drive at night was very incredible. Kilometres of street lights, lining the harbour, replicating that of the ‘Queens Necklace’. Laying on the sand at Chowpatty beach was another highlight as it gave us a chance to sit back, relax and experience how other people live. Flying kites, lighting lanterns, picnics by the water and enjoying one another’s company is a daily ritual for the people of Mumbai. Whilst at Chowpatty beach there was the annual kite flying festival, where the colour was full of brightly coloured kites. As part of a university report, we had to visit Kala Ghoda, the arts and crafts district of the city. Here a yearly festival takes place and we were fortunate enough to go, showcasing the best of Indian textiles- both old and new as well as viewing the works of some of Mumbai’s up and coming designers.
Whilst being here my taste for Indian food has definitely developed. A common food here in Mumbai is Pani Poori, an afternoon snack which has become popular amongst college goers. Homemade Indian curry, freshly toasted roti’s and lassie are another of my favourite, some I will definitely be taking back to Australia to replicate at home.
The beauty about India is that each state or town offers something completely different. We have just gotten back from our first trip out of Mumbai. Last Thursday India celebrated Holi. We decided to venture to Goa, to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and catch up on some R&R. Goa was great, a completely different scene to Mumbai- with beaches, paragliding, night markets, river cruises. We plan to travel more after the semester is finished as we are limited for time at the moment! Something to certainly look forward to.