When Armenian celebrity hair and make-up artist Marianna Mukuchyan first came to India on an assignment in 2013, little did she know Mumbai would soon become her home. Six years and several adventures later, she is happy exploring, shopping, and making new friends across the country. Here, she shares what made her stay in the Millennium City, and what’s next on her India bucket list. By Sushmita Srivastav
What were your first impressions of India?
I love travelling, and it was quite an adventurous experience when I decided to come to Mumbai on a three-month work trip. I remember how I found everything so chaotic initially. However, I fell in love with traditional Indian wear—colourful outfits, jewellery, and scarves. Communication was a little tough in the beginning, but it got better over time, thanks to the friendly people. Mumbai is still both, chaotic and colourful—it’s just that I have figured out how it works now.
Tell us about your adventures in India. What’s been the most memorable experience?
My work takes me to so many incredible places around India. It’s such a vast and versatile country; I’m not sure if I could have ever managed to see these places all by myself, and I feel really grateful that I get to travel to all these beautiful locations for my shoots. From astonishing palaces to dense jungles and even sprawling deserts, there’s so much to see. I can’t pick one as my favourite!
Has there ever been any unfortunate incident during your travels?
I’ll be very honest, I have never felt unsafe. It’s probably because I live in Mumbai, which is considered one of the safest cities for women. But even during my travels around the country, I have, not even once, felt unsafe. I take rickshaws and taxis and go for late-night walks with absolutely no insecurities.
Your top travel essentials?
Besides enough clothes for all possible occasions, I carry ample toiletries, swimwear (I never miss a chance to dip into a pool or sea!), headphones, portable speakers, neck pillow, and a shawl for long flights.
What’s your advice to foreign travellers visiting India?
Be open-minded and adventurous. Try all kinds of fruits and food you come across, travel in rickshaws and trains, carry earplugs when outside to bear the honking, and be careful while crossing the roads. It’s important to interact with the locals. You will be surprised at how friendly everyone is. You will make friends, and be invited to their homes in no time!