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06.11.2018

If Good Earth is for an urban queen who enjoys gold-studded picnics and peacock dances, Paro is further along this chain of evolution, moving from the social to the self. Far from a shop or a store, Good Earth’s new wellness brand aims to create a space that transcends the standards of familiar high-end retail. In its 2,400 sq meter launch store in Delhi, retail, a library, a glorious fragrant apothecary and two treatment rooms come together to remind you – in case you’ve forgotten – that your body is a temple.
 
A patina of sanctity hangs over everything, appropriate for all this goddess-level stuff. If the brand was human enough to have enemies, they would be insomnia and chemicals. This first is tackled via a prominent corner dedicated to ‘deep sleep’. The second is banished all through.
 
The deep sleep section is focused on the death of tossing and turning, combatted by lavender Epsom salts, sheets with thread counts we can’t even say right, and eye pillows that fatten and release an intoxicating, angelic scent upon gentle pump. Our favorite thing here, borrowed from the apothecary, is a lavender wax that conjures up an image of a painterly, impressionistic flower garden, and stays on all day. Underscoring this dreamy offering is the tragic realization that deep sleep is a luxury, and for some people, slipping in to 12,000-rupee pure cotton pyjamas is the only way to access it.
 
We move on, guided by the clever flow of the store, to a section dedicated to ritual. A collaboration with yoga deity Mini Shashtri holds a range of products dedicated to Ayurvedic rituals, inspired by a time long before wellness became industrialized. These items, packaged as personal care kits, suggest you spend a couple of thousand rupees to make yourself worth your birth. The pure copper tongue-cleaners, in particular, look convincing.
 
Other products aimed at cleansing yourself and your immediate surroundings abound. They form a zone that I, in my head, name the ‘prayer’ space: here are antique-style dhunas to incense the house, with scents powerful enough to (almost) topple city fumes. You’ll also find genius wicks for diyas that promise to do what your love life cannot: keep flames steady.
 
A line of ashram-chic clothing – currently borrowed from Good Earth, but soon to be exclusively designed for Paro – limns this offering. An inviting jhoola, quite the marker of Good Earth biology, is present. We are also taken in by a remarkable jewelry collection that features a rainbow stone collection (previously exclusive to Gem Palace) and other dizzying items that an immortal would wear to waft through a human party.
 
Finally, as if resting on the last rung of the ladder to heaven, a fragrant garden in bottles, formally given the name of ‘Botanica’, opens with theatrical drama: the first serious update on a traditional apothecary. It’s a home-beauticians dream. Here, scent is wealth, and it’s captured, fixed like deposits. You’ll find everything from rare sandalwood to pure hemp, settled in glass domes.
 
You’ll also find the stuff face packs from your grandmother’s time are made of: ingredients like crushed rose petals and pure orange zest. But the quantities are supreme; we think being able to buy just a little bit of everything would make this indulgence much more sustainable. That, plus the opportunity to refill the regal candles that come in marble jars, and consult with a doctor to actually figure out how to navigate this space, would make this lah-di-dah experience a more earthly one.
 
All is seriously well until we are struck by another epiphany, only half recovered from the price of good sleep: in an unsuspecting large cloche, lies an un-ironic fragrance that’s almost good enough to die for. It’s called clean air, and though a team member coaxes me into the effort to remember it, it’s as distant as pre-childhood. So, along with the leaping retail narrative that assures we’ve moved from the earth to the heavens, is also the dark confirmation that what once were rights, are now luxuries.
 
Getting there: Paro, The Chanakya, Chanakyapuri, Delhi, Rs. 4,500 for a personal care set, plans to open country-wide soon.
 
Accessibility: Elevators and wheelchair access available.

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