Living in urban India, it is difficult to miss the numerous ‘lifestyle’ stores popping up around you. Curiously enough, most of these stores fall into the ‘me too’ category with a smattering of knicks and knacks that look familiar and line the shelves of some other stores as well. Well, may the fair priced store win the consumer! And ohh, suppressing a big yawn here…..
I am more of a traveller and not so much a tourist. The joy of just taking to the streets in an unknown place and discovering new things brings me untold happiness. Being a Lonely Planet toting tourist, not so much. Visiting Asmara, I couldn’t help but feel the same joy of being a wandering traveller. Run by a refreshingly honest and cheerful lady, Ayesha, the store truly lives upto its unique name. Ayesha left behind a cushy job to start Asmara, which carries a delightful medley of things a home would need – be it furniture, linen, gardening or lifestyle products. The unifying theme that Asmara has tried to stick to is handmade and unique but at the same time not limiting them to any particular style.
For the well-heeled, they stock hard wood furniture made the old-fashioned way from 25 Mulberry, which incidentally is run by Ayesha’ s husband, Param. It is hard to miss the eye for detail that has gone into each of the painstakingly hand crafted piece of furniture.
The linen section of the store has a good selection of home, kitchen and table linens amongst many others which are mostly western in sensibilities. I was told that most of them have been sourced from our own sourcing backyard for the global fashion brands, aka Tirupur. While the collection is preppy, the price points will make your jaw drop. And I mean that in a good way!
Interesting discoveries awaited us in the lifestyle section with the likes of antique Judge cookware, perfectly adept at handling any cooking task you can put it out too even today. Even though I have limited interest in cooking, if I were to have such cookware at my disposal, who knows…
Jostling for space in the store is an eclectic collection of modern and vintage goods, apart from all the lovely handmade products from various artisans and vendors. Look around and you will find hand woven kasi grass products from Jharkand and fairy lights from DIYA foundation, interesting collection of jewellery and a fragrant corner full of handmade lotions and soaps that I can only describe as ‘divine’. One thing I personally found very interesting about the store was its curation of truly unique vintage finds, they don’t carry the same old tired collection of antiques as is the case with every other antique store, atleast in Bangalore!
The common thread across the store that makes it much more digestible to the new age homeowner is that the prices are delightfully light on the wallet. Passion together with the firm belief that vendors / artisans should be given their fair credit, forms the foundation of this intriguing store with its assortment of home wares. Worth a visit? I would say make that visits!
The Store Details: