22 August, 2023

Continuing our exploration of Bombay's allure, Join us in a captivating sequel that further explores Bombay's allure and its diverse tales, JODI proudly presents our second instalment.

As we step into the lives of these extraordinary individuals, we find ourselves immersed in the stories of resilience, passion, and the pursuit of dreams that define Bombay. This visual odyssey is more than just a collection of photographs; it is a celebration of Bombay's kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences. Against the backdrop of Kala Ghoda's artistic haven, where tradition seamlessly intertwines with modernity, JODI's photo series becomes a window into the very heart of Bombay's spirit. A tribute to the soul of Bombay—a city that welcomes and embraces, a city that inspires and transforms. 

Armeen Jasavala

Armeen, a Canadian who found her passion in Mumbai has a background in Physical Health and Education. After years of practice and organising transformative retreats, she now shares her journey as showcasing a balanced life through mindfulness, nature appreciation, and holistic approaches. Follow her uplifting Instagram account for joy, peace, and glimpses of nature, music, food, and tattoos.

Hidden gems in Mumbai that you would recommend exploring? 
I’m not too familiar with hidden gems in Mumbai but I personally love driving through the roads of Aarey forest (for nature and peaceful vibes). And I also love Bandra during Christmas, and Kala Ghoda for its restaurants, cafés, and shops!

If you could describe Mumbai in three words, what would they be?
Dichotomous. Crazy. Colourful. 

Armeen in the Kareri Shift Dress.

How do you prioritise self-care and ensure a balanced lifestyle amidst the fast paced life of Bombay?
In a crazy city like Bombay, it is difficult to find peace but I am so lucky to live in a Parsi colony that is quite green and peaceful, so I spend a lot of time outside, walking my dogs, admiring all of the beauty nature has to offer. This recharges me instantly.

I also have made our apartment a place where I feel at home, making specific  spaces and choices to help me feel calm like buying fresh flowers once a week, lighting incense multiple times a day, playing/listening to music, spending time with my dogs, and making wholesome plant based meals.

Doing short and sweet self-care routines everyday is also super important for me to feel balance, including doing a basic skin care routine / facial massage, spending some time doing deep breathing/visualisation/mindful meditation, exercise (weights, walking or swimming), a pre-sleep routine (CBD OIL and relaxation techniques) and spending time in nature. 

My go-to self care activity/ritual to unwind is certainly forest bathing/ spending time in nature. I love snuggling my pups, watching the clouds, sunrise and sunsets too - they are instant boosts! 

Can you share any interesting or memorable experiences you've had while exploring the city as an outsider?
Honestly, I feel I could write a book on this one after spending ten years here.There is something new every time I step out into the city that makes my jaw drop or just stuns me, there is never a dull moment on the streets of Mumbai!

Do you have a favourite spot or sanctuary where you go to find peace and tranquillity? Can you describe it to us?
My husband and I always dreamed of living outside of the city in nature and would frequently travel before the pandemic to get this experience. Together, we have been to over a dozen countries and love to experience different cultures around the world. During covid, we realised the importance of our dream even more and decided to purchase two acres of land, a barren hill, outside of chaotic Mumbai, where we have planted 700 native trees and built a small cabin for ourselves. We have created a forest haven that has a thriving ecosystem, and we hope to grow organic produce. We visit our cabin every weekend with our four puppies, spending time in the growing forest, trying new combinations of plant-based food cooked on fire, producing soulful music inspired by the surroundings, and most importantly, connecting with our inner selves. I really believe that finding the right balance requires one to focus not only on nutrition and exercise, but in creating harmony between mental, physical and emotional health.

Can you recommend any chill and relaxing music, podcasts, or guided meditation resources that you personally enjoy?
My favourite playlist on iTunes has to be Classical Sleep - Apple Music Classical.
I have been listening to it for years for peace and to help myself relax, but also have noticed my four pups love it, it helps them to calm down & sleep, even in their most rambunctious or anxious states!

 Mihir Thakkar 

Meet Mihir, a Bombay native with an architecture degree and a passion for arts management, he has embarked on a remarkable journey. From volunteering to interning and even becoming a docent, Mihir has immersed himself in the art world. Now, as the leader of Curated Projects at XXL Collective, he explores galleries and dreams of leaving a lasting impact on Bombay's cultural scene.

Hidden gems in Bombay that you would recommend exploring? 
Bombay is full of surprises, every corner of it will introduce you to a new site, smell and sound. The precinct of Fort is a beautiful pedestrian area, just walk around, take the uncalled turn, get lost in the bylanes and some hidden gem awaits you.

In your opinion, which movie/show/song best represents Bombay?
Bollywood has been an ode to the city. Some movies that I draw Bombay's visuals are Wake Up Sid, Dhobi Ghat, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and also Gully Boy for raw imagery.

If you could describe Mumbai in three words, what would they be?
Chaotic. Energetic. Transparent.

Mihir wears the Johri Handwoven shirt.

What is the origin of your love for art, and can you recall your earliest memory related to it?
To scratch back a little I was the kid who would look forward to and do well in art classes. My art book would be more updated than any other subject in school. My science journals would be most aesthetically presented even though I disliked the subject the most.

How does the dynamic energy of Bombay's people and their stories shape your creative expression?
Bombay is a hub of creative entrepreneurs and is a city of go getters. Whatever you visualise this city will help you build it in the most robust and economical manner. It is a city of hustlers and peoples energies most certainly rub off on you. And if you look closely a story awaits you in every direction. 

What are your thoughts on the future of art curation and the evolving role of curators in the digital age?
Curators are THE star now. I personally enjoy the ability of a curator to stitch a show together with such fine context and research, lest there are very few who actually manage to deliver. Given the fact that we are exposed to many visuals in our daily life, a curator filters and contextualises a lot of it, making us engage and notice the fine details and nuances. Essays aren't always fun to read but a walkthrough with a curator is just exciting.

If you could collaborate with any living artist for a special exhibition, who would it be and what kind of exhibition would you create together?
Umm, that's a tough one. Certainly can't select one artist. Mine would be a group exhibit, I love bringing people together,a good collaboration has potential to create something spectacular.
Sensorial experiences have been something that I personally love and mean to engage more so often with. I would want to interest a participant's olfactory, palate and even their sense of humour if given a chance.

Who are 3 young artists we should keep an eye on?
Not being biassed but some of my dear friends and young artists have been making waves recently, to name them Gurjeet Singh, Sajid Wajid Shaikh, Rithika Pandey and Alqawi Nanavati. Though some artists that I have recently engaged with and am so delightfully in awe of, namely Debashish Paul, Sohrab Hura and Trespassers. 

Yosha Khurana

The Jaipur-born wordsmith calls Bombay her home now. With a background in journalism and a master's in English, she's found her place at Method, an art gallery, where coolness knows no bounds. She's already crafted a zine and has another in progress, showcasing her passion for unique expression. Despite twists and turns, Yosha remains committed to the power of words and her childhood dream of writing books.

Hidden gems in Bombay that you would recommend exploring?
I love fruit and order it from this place called Pishu’s like four times a week.

I say the next bit not because I am an employee but because I feel like I got there five years too late: Method Bandra. I was just today talking to someone there about just how much more you feel seen and heard as an artist in that space because Method just tends to create and keep within its community people who have committed to the creative process with its whims and fancies.
Recently my friends took me to this Korean place called Sun and Moon, the vibes were vibing. It was laid back and unassuming, yummy food, and we kept the soju flowing. I adore just how much there is to do in Bombay and you can never fully know all the cool things. 

In your opinion, which movie/show/song best represents Bombay?
I saw Taxi Number 9211 and it is all I can think about at this question. There is arrogance and greed and helplessness and the great divide. One drives and listens and the other talks and sits and throws money at their problems. But in a very baby, adorable, cutesy Bollywood optimism, change is possible, it is the other side we must walk to. 

If you could describe Mumbai in three words, what would they be?
Quick, ruthless and a teacher 

If you could have any artwork in the world displayed at Method, which one would it be and why?
Off the top of my head, it would have to be Refik Anadol Unsupervised, which is at the MoMA at the moment. It is this giant piece of generative art that has been fed over 200 years of public data for the collections at MoMA and it renders some flow of these images by this very smart and neat AI thing, I don’t even understand it wholly, it just looks fun.

I want to see it and for that very selfless reason, that’s the one I would pick right now.

Yosha wears our Andretta embroidered shift dress.

What’s the current book you're reading and what are your top 3 recommendations? (very long) 
At the moment I am reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet though I have not really been with it a lot since I am also starting the Hitchhiker's Guide series with a friend. I have been reading a lot of short stories and a lot about music lately. I am also to start this book called Less which is this month’s book club pick at Method. But my favourite thing I am reading right now is this book on my bedside table - now my bed since I have just moved into a different house and don’t have a bedside table in this one - it is called Telephone Tales and has these short stories for children that are translated from Italian. The illustration is gorgeous and every day or so I like to read one before I sleep off. On nights that are ends to long days, I allow myself two.

Off the top of my head, books that have shaken me recently have been-
1.Sexing the Cherry, which is a treat, has such strong and vivid images, Winterso such a distinct and yummy style.
2.Brave New World. I was in a place where I had started staying away from dystopian literature because it had begun to show slices of the world we live in now. But I had to read this one for college, and sure enough, it felt like a prophecy. A classic for a reason.
3.Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? I love the play as a medium. I think it is a fascinating method of decimation of information, it almost feels sneaky, like you’re being told something you’re not supposed to know. Or maybe that’s just me.
I am not proud of how white and westernised my little list is. I wish I had Asian names to take or people of colour to name but this is an oversight I have begun to work on only recently and don’t know if I have even scratched the surface yet. I am not proud of just how challenged I am when attempting to read Hindi.

What attracted you to a city known for its high cost of living, crowded streets, and bustling pace of life?
I actually ended up here and just decided to stay. Once you get used to the speed, no other city would be able to keep you I guess. If you are familiar with the concept of the American Dream, I think this city wrapped that up and gave it to me with a bow and I swallowed it whole. I let it keep me knowing the ways I am paying for being here are beyond money. I love the city and cannot imagine being who I am if I weren’t here but I pay in breath and rest. Those are very numbered.

Can you share any interesting or memorable experiences you've had while exploring the city as an outsider?
I am not sure if this is interesting or memorable, I just begin to talk about this story as soon as the weather turns towards rain; I think this was sometime in July or August and I had barely been in the city a couple months. I had a 102 fever and went to the doctor’s. On my way back home, the auto stopped and I walked about a kilometre and a half in thigh-deep water, trying to keep my medicine from soaking and getting it home. I don’t remember if I got sicker after. Which means I probably did.

Do you think the city has changed you in any way?
As I said, I would not be this person without the city, I think I would have taken much longer to grow up and into myself anywhere else. This city taught me how limited time is and that the value of time then makes one really sit with how vital it is to figure out what matters to one and then not part from it. 


Muses: Armeen Jasavala, Mihir Thakkar, & Yosha Khurana
Photographer: Sarang Gupta