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Make every minute count

In Mumbai, where time is everything, timing is everything too. Here’s where and when to go so you can get the best the city can offer

brunch Updated: Nov 17, 2012 16:20 IST
Bernadine D’Lima

Mumbai is the busiest city in the country. We’re always scurrying to be at a place we should have been at five minutes ago. Only here do we wish death upon the strollers at a railway station, speed window-shop and measure distance by the time it takes to get to the destination. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of the best times to see this, eat that, do this and put down your name for that. Now, without wasting any more time, on to the list:

ComedyThe best time to catch a new stand-up comedy act

Comics in India tend to reuse their material over the course of a month and will repeat jokes at different venues. So is there a reason to revisit the The Comedy Store when the comic you’re going to see will likely dish out the stuff that you’ve probably heard before? Yes there is: for New Stuff, of course. "New Stuff happens every month on a Tuesday. The Store gives the stage to comics so that they can test their new material," says Charlotte Ward, the manager at The Comedy Store. New Stuff is for the city’s established talent, so you can guffaw at your favourites – the expressive Rohan Joshi, the politically incorrect G Khamba or the acerbic Tanmay Bhat. "Tickets cost R300. You pay a discounted rate because the material is new," says Ward. Follow The Comedy Store on Twitter or visit their website to learn which Tuesday is scheduled for the new set. And it’s best to get your tickets two days before. "Seats fill up pretty fast," warns Ward.

The best time to get into Blue Frog

BFIt’s between 7pm and 9pm. The main acts at the city’s most consistently popular music venue always get on the stage at 9 sharp. After that, entry will set you back around R300 or more, depending on the band. So get there early to beat the crowd and save money. Happy hour (two beers for the price of one) ends at nine, but if you’ve ordered at 8.59pm, you can drink the first beer right then and save the next one (the free one!) for later. Smart music lovers park themselves at the bar. All the better to cheer the artists on the early set.

The best time for your indie/ rock/fusion band to kick off

WDo you want to be a big music star someday? If you do, get your act together by the beginning of October. "November and December are the best months to launch an album, have a new set ready or play at gigs," confirms Shreya Naik, an artist manager at dream makers. No points for guessing why. These months are when a lot of international bands tour the country and when western India has the NH7 Weekender, its biggest music festival. "It’s also the time when everyone is open to new music and there are plenty of opportunities available for amateur artists," Naik adds. As Sasha Chettri, an upcoming singer/songwriter puts it, "A gig at a weekender pre-party is going to get you a much larger audience than early sets or open mic." So, now’s the time. Get your band in place.

The best time to start a local business

If you’re planning to set up shop that will rely a lot on walk-ins – a cafe, a bakery, a boutique or a small film club for instance – the best time to open your doors to Mumbai is right after the monsoon. People definitely don’t want to set foot outdoors in the rains no matter how great your offering. Management consultant Jason Borges says it’s a mistake people have made before with disastrous consequences. "You don’t want to have low footfalls in your first month. It’s pretty much the mark of impending death," he says. Reputations and buzz are built up in the formative months, which is when you want them visiting. "Besides, spending goes up after the rains," he adds.

The best time to raid a mall

Most retail businesses go on sale twice a year – in July and January. The first few days of most sales are reserved for regulars, high spenders and those on the mailing list. Add your contact details to their records. Check out the wares at the end of June and December, try on your picks for size and when all hell breaks loose a few days later, you’ll have an edge over the rest. Larger department stores usually tie-up with a bank and offer an extra few per cent off. Check which stores offer you more for your credit card, and attack accordingly.

DocThe best time to book a maternity suite at Breach Candy Hospital

This one’s a little complicated. No large, private hospital will actually turn you away in an emergency (and if you can back up your request with cash, even better). Still, we’ve heard stories of women who have found themselves turned away at the city’s tonier hospitals. At Breach Candy, South Bombay’s swishest address to have a baby, you have a higher chance of booking a suite in your second month. Carry a recommendation from your gynaecologist. The staff won’t book you in otherwise.

Push your brand/photo/opinions on a social network

FB"There is no perfect time to tweet anything," said social media curator Avinash D’Souza, dampening our spirits. When you’re promoting something over social media, five tweets spaced over the course of a day is likely to get you a larger response than a block of five tweets at a particular time. Many brands post a tweet at lunch hour, in the hope that those at their office desks will take a break and be up for something fun. Facebook, however, is another story. D’souza confirms that as Indians, we’re more likely to respond to video content and pictures. "It fires our neurons like Twitter never can," he says. And the best time to get likes and shares on Facebook is undoubtedly the weekend. "Logically, it’s because that’s the only relatively free time we have," D’souza says. Amen!

JAGThe best time to book an exhibition slot at Jehangir Art Gallery

The gallery may not be the most cutting-edge or even showcase the most important works of our time, but for some reason, it gets more walk-ins and more visitors than most other galleries in the city. Art students come in whole gangs, tourists troop in through the day, curious Mumbaikars, who’ve never been to any other art space in their lives, happily walk through its exhibition halls. All this is great if you want the world to see your work. But be warned: there’s a three-year waiting list, and galleries often want to see a sample of your work before they commit to giving you their space. So even if you do get a spot, you’ll have months and months to prepare – there’s no excuse for shoddy work then. 11:00 am: The best time to indulge in some cupcake fever

Cupcake"A cupcake stays fresh the whole day," is what they’ll tell you at Le15 bakery Parel. But from years of sinking our teeth into these

wondrous things, we have learned one unbeatable truth: The fresher, the creamier. The creamier, the better. Le15 gets a new batch at 11am and then another one at 5pm. Indulge in bite full of frosting, cake, sprinkles and goodness and you can thank us later.

6:00 am: The best time to get City Bakery’s savouries
It’s true. One of the city’s oldest bakeries opens its doors at 5.30am, serving patties, puffs
and fresh bread that are still warmish from the oven. On some days, there are long queues at Worli Naka. For cakes, macaroons and biscuits, the first batch comes in at 10am.

04.30 pm: The best time to score the Japanese cheesecake at BreadTalk
The Japanese cheesecake is a thing of wonder. It is light but dense, flavourful but not too sweet and has a lovely lemony flavour. What one sliver does for your mouth is what we imagine a haiku must do for your soul. You can really eat the whole thing at one go – but don't. Because that long brick of a cheesecake isn’t easy to replace. Breadtalk makes them in pitifully small batches and they always run out. Head to the Powai outlet by 4.30pm when their fresh batch hits the shelves or call ahead and reserve one. Their Malad store makes them every morning and, depending on demand, after 6.30 every evening.

From HT Brunch, November 18

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