In Mumbai, I began my search 3 years back. Many evenings, I would just take an auto, ask to be taken me to a near-by locality and then start of enquiring around those areas. After months of effort, I am happy to say, there is no cane furniture available in Powai, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Ghatkopar (all neighbourhoods close to where I stay). In another attempt, I found a shop in a locality farther away and paid him an advance. 3 or 4 weeks later, the furniture guy tells me that he is unable to deliver and that I should come back and get my advance. The auto fare up and down would have been expensive than the money I would have recovered!!!
Cane shopping can get quite interesting and also frustrating – just as shopping for anything else in teeny weeny local market shops in Indian can be. You won’t find cane in the regular furniture shops. You may find them in high priced “ethnic” or “Indian” specialty stores – and obviously, ”cheap” is not the selling point. Most often than not, you have to go poking around very small one-room shops. Or sometimes, they are displayed outside the shacks which line Mumbai’s roads by the million.
Firstly, there is nothing in the shop itself that will convince you are in the right place – you are there out of blind faith or on recommendation. Then there is the process of customization – better not to, I think . The price haggling is inevitable – although either I am losing my touch, or may be bargaining really doesn’t get you much these days in Mumbai. And then the constant follow-up on delivery. But, hey, this is a different kind of fun, and the pretty piece that may soon adorn your living room is of will be worth it.
So this time, when I needed a few pieces to fill my house, guess what I thought of??? Cane again. I told myself I was on a fool’s errand. But, 3 times proved lucky.... and now I have what I’d like to think is a cute book shelf, and 2 lovely chairs and a coffee table – I am most thankful for the chairs, as I spent most evenings during my one week break sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea and watching the sun go down in splendid colours.
My own reading nook