What are the things that come to mind when one thinks of a rainy day? A cozy nap, a nice cup of hot chocolate while reading a murder mystery, or, a full blown shopping spree at one of the trendiest places in your city.
While the first two options are great for staying home, today, I decided to get out the brolly and unleash the slumbering shopaholic. This led me to none other than MG Road, in my lovely city of Pune.
M.G. Road, which is short for Moledina Grant Road is a major highlight if you’re ever in Pune. This street offers shops selling everything, right from clothes to jewellery to stationery and even food. This is a street where there’s never a dull day. So, without further ado, Imma tell you about the trendiest place in the city all on a rainy Wednesday.
In order to have a great shopping experience, M.G. Road is best explored on foot. However, as you can see in the picture above, a lot of people bring in their vehicles and park them on the sides before heading to the shops. It’s often hard to find a good parking spot as the place is always filled with shoppers so if you want a quiet time to shop, it’s best to visit in the afternoon.
Right, now that I’ve given you a beginning tip, let’s start. ‘Queenstown’ is one of the first shops on M.G. Road and one of my favourites. It is a gown and party wear shop where you can find Western as well as Indian styles of festive clothing. The variety is mind blowing and the shop has a gown in every colour known to man. Two of my birthday gowns come from this shop and when you’re trying gowns, it actually feels like dressing up for a major runway as the staff is so helpful and you’ve got personal assistance which gives me the vibes of getting a gown from the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. Queenstown is the place to shop in order to unleash your inner Disney Princess.
This is a very interesting thing. After you’ve finished with ‘Queenstown’, you cross the road and hit the footpath till you see this colourful roadside stall. These stalls are set up in a small tin shed on the sides of a footpath, often run by one or two vendors, and they sell hair accessories and trinket jewellery. There’s no dearth to the variety of the products here and visiting one of these stalls is like looking into Santa’s bag of gifts. They’ve got hair accessories of all kinds, right from beaded hairbands to cloth-knot bands, sequinned clips to pretty elastics as well as earrings, bracelets and necklaces of all designs under the sun. The vendors are very friendly and are very enthusiastic to show all the variety which destroys all sense of self control and you give in to your shopaholic heart but it’s all worth it. After all, who doesn’t love a pretty hairclip? 🙂
This is pitstop for shoppers to unwind. M.G. Road is home to the Marz-O-Rin bakery which is famous in the city for its simple yet delicious sandwiches and a cake known as ‘Ribbon Cake’. This cake is basically a sponge cake, set in colourful layers separated by jam. The topping is a coating of coarse chocolate icing and it is one of the best things ever!
Pasteur Bakery is the place where you get some of the best soft serve ice-cream in the area. The flavours are brilliant and a personal favourite is the mango soft serve, followed closely by blueberry one. These bakeries are a good spot to re-energise for further shopping and one can also dine-in as they do have a terrace sit-out.
After re-energising at the bakery, I recommend going into the basement arcades of M.G. Road. These arcades are like a mini market city in the basement or the ground floor of old buildings and there’s nothing on Earth that you won’t find here. There are two such arcades on M.G. Road, one of them is name ‘Wonderland’ and the other is called ‘Clover Center’. The picture above is a passageway in ‘Wonderland’ arcade but today, Imma tell you about the ‘Clover Center’ arcade as that was the epicentre of my rainy day spree. Note that this isn’t a debate and both arcades are equally good.
So, without further ado, let’s head to Clover Center.
Clover Center is a network of underground shops with multiple entrances. The arcade has many pathways leading to different worlds of retail pleasure. As the banner says, there are 300 shops and counting so this is basically a real-life Alibaba’s Cave.
This is the entrance to the arcade. As you can see, one is welcomed by an infinite tunnel of colourful shops, waiting to fulfil one’s retail desires:) Imma talk about this arcade by dividing it into three sections. One is the ‘Trinkets and Toys’ section, second: the ‘Clothing’ section and finally the ‘Jewels’. So, let’s get started with our first leg of shopping in the ‘Trinkets and Toys’ department.
Here’s a panoramic view of the shops selling ‘Trinkets and Toys’. The first shop on the left is a haven for all hair accessory lovers. There’s no hair product or accessory that isn’t available here. You’ve got hairbands, clips, wigs, crowns and even decorative hats. It’s a great place for little girls as well as teenagers and adults. The cartoon designs on hair accessories appeal to the younger crowd while the more decorative and designer party accessories appeal to the older ones. My favourite thing in these shops is the crowns and the flower hairbands as you get them in so many designs and it feels like you’re choosing a jewel for a royal trousseau. Besides, it’s the colours you want! There’s no dearth of the colours available and often, you’ll see a trinket in a colour you’ve never imagined. These shops are also good for functions such as halloween or events like school plays and you can often see parents with a checklist for accessories required for their child’s stage character.
The toy shop on the right is officially the best place on the planet.
The shop is run by a sweet old lady and her stock of soft toys is literally Santa’s workshop. What you see on the counter is only a glimpse(believe it or not) and once you’ve started shopping here, the old lady brings out bags of toys from thin air and you’re literally spoilt for choice. This right here is a child’s sweetest dream, complete with large soft toys, soft key-rings dolls, colourful soft balls and even dolls and interactive toys. Besides, if you’ve been nice, the old lady gives you real cute fridge magnets for free. I bought a green mouse, a turtle plushy, A Winnie the Pooh ball and an Eeyore key-ring and got a frog and monkey magnet free. I tell you this is where Santa Claus gets his toys from.
Moving on, it’s time for the Clothing section! I put these mannequins here just to bring attention to their sculpted wave-fringe. This is the first time I’ve seen mannequins with a distinct hairstyle and it was almost like seeing a piece of modern art. Hehe.
Clover Center is a clothing paradise. Here is where you’ll find every trend that ever existed, right from vintage style dresses to modern clothing, incorporating both Indian and Western styles. There are also many shops selling wedding wear and it’s really fun to have a peak and look at the fully assembled wedding attires on mannequins.
There are also many tailor shops here so there’s not only a variety for ready-made clothes but one can also get custom made designs in a single visit. The most popular clothing shop here are the ‘dupatta’ shops at the beginning of the clothing section. ‘Dupattas’ are basically scarves designed with various prints or embroidery and worn along with a long Indian suit known as ‘Salvar-Kameez’. The dupatta shops are my mum’s favourites and she is quite a collector and a veteran ‘dupatta’ shopper. Clover Center brings out the best in her for this reason. Hehe.
Imma include shoe and bag shops in the clothing section as well. Shoes are something that always fascinate me. They tell a lot about a person and when arranged in a shop, they look so aesthetic. Clover Center has a large number of shoe shops and the variety is absolutely mind blowing, right from pencil heels to trainers and slippers, this arcade has it all. Who knows? You might even get a glass slipper. hehe..
As for bags, there’s no accessory more useful than a handbag and Clover Center does well to live up to its reach in the Handbag Community if there is such a thing. 🙂
Finally, we come to the ‘Jewels’. Clover Center is no novice to maintaining a full treasure box. The jewellery designs are simply amazing and there’s no piece of jewellery that you won’t find. The picture on the left is a shop with deals with crystals and semi-precious jewellery while the store on the right is what we like to call a ‘junk jewellery’ store. The junk jewellery store has unique and often flamboyant designs and earrings are the most popular accessories. The sizes of earrings range from simple studs to a full blown, multi layered ‘jhumka’ or danglers and it’s fun to simply look at all the designs. There’s also a huge range of colourful bracelets and necklaces, summing up my analogy to Alibaba’s Cave.
The last shop which I visited in Clover Center was a sweet store combined with novelty items. After all the shopping, it was great to take home a nice bag of sweets, selected from a choice between hard candies, jellies, chocolates, sour punks and marshmallows, to name a few.
After all, sweets are the icing on the cake. Hehe….
And that was the final destination on my rainy spree on M.G. Road. I had a great time indulging in street shopping after a long while and it was so wholesome to see the vendors smiling and selling their goods after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. They’ve been one of the most impacted people in the whole virus situation and street shopping is the best way to support them now that things are opening up. This trip was a nice ray of hope and happiness and proved to be the light at the end of the tunnel.
And that is a wrap.
Until Next Time!