I’m not going to lie. It took me way too long to try Indian food. It’s not like I wasn’t exposed to it earlier either. Even my three Indian roommates in college couldn’t convince me to try an Indian dish. I just never really wanted to try it.
When their parents came over and cooked, I only ate the white rice.
I wish I was kidding.
I didn’t have it until I was 23 years old and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
So, it was interesting to me when Raj Bhardwaj approached me about an event he’s calling “MumBay - Sunday Brunch with a Twist.” It is an afternoon party with delicious Indian food and drinks, chill music, and classic Indian games. It’s Sunday, November 5th at 11 am. You can buy tickets here before they sell out.
I sat down with Raj Bhardwaj, creator of MumBay to learn more about the event and why he created it.
Why did you start MumBay?
At the beginning of the year, there was an Indian street food festival. I was super excited about it. At the same time, some of my non-Indian friends were moving to the Bay Area. I got all of us tickets to go.
The event was a total disaster. The organizers oversold it. They weren't letting people in after one point (we never made it in) and the people that did get in had to wait in line for hours to get what I heard later was mediocre food.
We noticed that the best events that shared Indian culture in the Bay Area are not the kind of events we personally want to attend.
Most of them are too big. The experience they seem to prioritize is getting the most amount of "stuff" for the least amount of money. And if you've been to one, you've been to them all.
Why is it called MumBay?
Whenever we visit India and see our family and friends there, we realize that there's a whole very chic and modern India that's taking the best of both worlds and bringing them together in a beautiful way.
Our goal is to bring the experience of being in modern India to the Bay Area. So we're bringing a little bit of Mumbai to the Bay :)
Why did you partner with Rooh for the first event?
Have you had their food?? It's incredible. But more than that, Rooh gets it. They are setting themselves apart from all other Indian restaurants here (seriously, check out their menu) by modernizing the Indian cuisine you find here. And we're doing the same with our events.
Ok, so what's the event about?
I was born in India, growing up I played many games that are seared into the Indian consciousness. Carrom board, which is like pool, but for your fingers, is a staple in Indian households. Many battles are fought over this board in families across India :)
Snakes and ladders, known here as chutes and ladders, is something kids start playing early in their childhood.
And finally Ludo, which is based on a game called Pachisi that started in India around the 6th century.
But then you move to America and mostly stop playing these games or even hearing about them. We want to bring that experience back and mix it with meeting new friends and experiencing modern Indian cuisine.
Thank you, Raj, for the wonderful interview.