Peter Beckingham

Peter Beckingham

Governor in Turks and Caicos Islands

Part of UK in India

28th September 2012

Weekends in Mumbai

Weekends in Mumbai, once the monsoon has passed, can involve a variety of activities: walks along the 5km Marine Drive past the art deco buildings and the landmark Oberoi hotel, brunch in one of the expanding range of cafes and restaurants around the town, a round of golf on what must count as one of more unusual but enjoyable courses in the heart of any mega city, or shopping in one of the new malls.

Peter Beckingham at the 'Collective' outlet
Peter Beckingham at the ‘Collective’ outlet

I managed some of those and more recently, while taking in as well a number of British-focused events around the city. First off was a chance to see a range of UK fashion at “The Collective” outlet in one of Mumbai’s most popular malls, Palladium, on the site of one of the city’s former textile mills. The Collective, a tiny part of the massive Birla Group’s empire, offers a range of clothing for men and women.

Pitched firmly at the middle class and above, its creative director Nageshwar left me in no doubt that he is pleased to showcase a range of British products. Highlighted in the store recently was a display of Ted Baker clothes and accessories, taking pride of place for the weekend alongside Hackett and Fred Perry apparel.

From the Palladium it was a dash – or to be more precise a crawl, in Mumbai’s Saturday evening traffic – to the southern end of the city, to one of its original, smaller landmarks, The Bombay Yacht Club. Recently completely renovated to give the Club something of the flavour of what it must have been like in its former glory, with wood panelling and windows like those of ships, the club was host for the evening to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz was meeting alumni from the university, for the second time in 12 months, and he left no-one in any doubt that he and his team would be back to Mumbai to pin down specific new research collaborations with Indian partners, as well as to encourage even more Indian students to bid for a place alongside the over 200 who are already studying or researching at the university.

Lord Ganesh immersion
Lord Ganesh immersion

Of course there is a lot more to Mumbai than British-focused events, and my weekend was rounded off with a visit to one of the city’s teeming commercial quarters, to see some of the hundreds of Ganesh idols produced with loving care by local groups to mark the enormously popular 11 day festival of Ganesh the elephant-headed God who is the guardian deity of Maharashtra State.

We managed to get in, together with hundreds of excited Hindu adults and children, to view about a dozen of the larger and more exotic displays. All the idols will be immersed in the seas surrounding Mumbai, in one of the most colourful and vibrant events of the year, with hundreds of thousands of Mumbaikars heading for Chowpatty and other beaches around the city.

Next weekend: two more British icons, of automobiles and sport – Rolls Royce Cars and Manchester United!

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1 comment on “Weekends in Mumbai

  1. Dear Peter, it ´s interesting and – to me – fascinating by reading of how much different kinds of avtivities Munmbai is offering. But what do you mean by writing:..”once the monsoon has passed…?”.For so far I´m thinking that, e.g. cafes or restaurants should be open at an entire year. Nevertheless:It was to me much more appealing to read about this so-called and so wise described range of British fashion. This chapter came to me over like X – Mas and Easter together. As well as , I.e., “The Palladium” cause – of course- I IMMEDIATELY associated it with this worldwide known Concert Hall with the same name in LONDON/UK.Plus some concerts there.Just fantastic was e.g. the 5-times sold out Kate Bush performances during her “LIOMHEART”- tour in 79.To be honest I don ´t know much about Sir Sirleszek Borysiewicz and what he is doing. But I do know a lot in re. of BRITISH-INDIAN collaborations or joint-ventures. E.g. AIR INDIA and their overhaul contract with BRITISH AIRWAYS.So it ´s great to read that this man is encouraging more Indian students to apply for places at British-Universities.But your fantastic description of this “FESTIVAL OF GANESH” is by far the to me most useful + best chapter-in combination with this beautiful picture. For I also have a small but fine/nice postcard, shining golden at the margins. But until your article I had 1 problem.: I didn ´t just know which kind of GOD is painted on it.Well, your photo looks just the same as my card.So NOW I do know that it must be “GOD GANESH”.So best wishes but also a big THANK YOU for this info. Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart/Cardiff

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About Peter Beckingham

Before becoming Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands in October 2013, Peter was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a…

Before becoming Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands in
October 2013, Peter was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based
in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a responsibility for
developing UK-India trade and investment. His earlier appointments have
included Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment in
Sydney, and British Ambassador to the Philippines, where he initiated
the UK Government’s involvement in a peace process with the Philippine
Government and Muslim rebel groups.
Peter is married to Jill, a teacher of special needs, and they have
two grown up children. His outside interests include cricket, golf and
running.

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