Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To India With Love

I chanced upon this book on Amazon a couple of days back. A year after 26/11, 'To India with love.. From New York to Mumbai' is an attempt to pay tribute, raise awareness and funds for the victims of the attacks on November 2008. With a cover so captivating, I love the way the pages have been put together almost like a scrapbook- photos and snippets, stories and experiences.
What's more interesting are the contributors - famous personalities from all over the world, from all walks of life. Some of them being Wes Anderson, Adrien Brody, Francesco Clemente, Anthony Edwards, Jeanine Lobell, Natalie Portman, Yves Carcelle, Jean Touitou, Owen Wilson, Laura Wilson, Cynthia Rowley, James Ivory, Matthew Williamson, Rachel Roy, Tory Burch, Padma Lakshmi, Shobhaa De, Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani.

It's kitsch, it's colorful, vibrant and light hearted, yet making a difference in it's own little way. Profit from the sales of the book will go to support families affected by the attacks.

Quoting one of the co- authors of the book, Mortimer Singer- "I feel that there is a certain organized chaos to the book. It is a scrap book which it full of energy and surprises, not unlike Mumbai. I think that was the idea, for it to be transportational"

'Combat terror through art', has become the public's new found weapon in the city as well. The ongoing and hugely successful 'Mumbai Wall Project' saw Mumbaikars express themselves in color to paint the one-km
wall in Chandanwadi in Marine Lines, on the 26th, spreading the message of anti terror, and paying tribute to the city's heroes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kala Ghoda

Last weekend, we made a trip down to South Bombay to the much- hyped Kala Ghoda festival. It's a street festival where you bump into some of the most vibrant and colorful people in the city. To rich Colaba aunties, to the long haired arty- fatry types, to the young hippies and college crowd, it's that part of the old city which oozes charm and character, with an interesting mix of buildings, some art- deco, and others old British style stone and brick. A leisurely stroll down the area is a perfect way to spend a pleasant Sunday evening.

vintage bombay

First started in 1999, the Kala Ghoda street festival has risen in popularity over the years, and attracts a good crowd from all over the city. Apart from the regular stalls selling knick knacks, there are various sub-festivals that feature the visual arts, dance, music, street plays, cinema, lectures, giant installations, workshops and special events for children.

It's a fun evening with plenty to drink, plenty to eat... if you fancy hot samosas and chai at the roadside cafes eateries or colorful ice golas in a cup. Soak in the humid air, the festive spirit and sweet melodies a flute, but don't forget to carry your pocket camera, cos this event lends itself to a lot of interesting 'photo-ops'...
...and if you want to end your evening at even higher spirits... hop across to good old Mondys for some Belgian beer and light happy music. Cheers!
Cafe Mondegar

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Junk to Thunk!

I read about these guys the other day, and the work they are doing seemed super interesting, so wanted to share it. Who would have thought that all the empty Lays bags, milk tetrapaks and all the plastic junk that overflows from my bin everyday can be put of such good creative use.

A pet project started by Suren Vikash has now grown to become Thunk In India, a company that converts waste to utility items and has designed the products which have lasting value and life in spite of being produced from waste. The young entrepreneur has also helped generate employment for many.. Suren has made biodegradable bags, mobile pouches, laptop and CD covers, pens from waste and these products have caught the imagination of environment conscious.

cd cases


hand bags

Rag-pickers form part of his team collecting waste from different places, including Bengaluru and Tirupur and pass it on to Suren’s company which then works on creating the products. The rag-pickers are taught to segregate and create the products which are competitively priced and some companies, including IT, have found them very useful. The company has a weaving centre in Pollachi where plastic wastes are woven with cotton yarn for products.

To know more about this company, to collaborate and contribute or transform your organization to 'zero-waste', do check out their website- http://www.thunkinindia.com/

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Go quirky online

Over the last couple of years, a lot of 'online shops' have sprung up selling quirky creative yet reasonably priced knick knacks for your home. This particular one caught my attention while surfing. Fun stuff out here- toys to cheer up your desk at work, or wacky pop art cushions for home, or cool birthday gifts!

It's called Quirko, and you can order these online. So convenient :-)

Ultra mini table fan

Wijo- Red

Marlyn coasters


More cool stuff at http://www.quirkoshop.com/ Check it out!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dove's evolution of beauty?

I'm going to write about advertising this time, and my two paisa views on a current campaign. In case you haven't seen it yet, this is a Dove commercial from 2006.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U (here's the link if you don't see it playing below)

Dove for a while has been talking about real women and real beauty. In most of their advertisements globally, be it either print or television, they have successfully represented the majority of women ie, the non model ordinary looking, overweight, freckled, dark, black, anorexic.They have remained true to their idea of 'real inner beauty'.

But- why not in India? Out here Dove ads display beautiful milky white clear skinned models with flawlessly airbrushed faces. Take the current Dove Shampoo tv commercial for example, or the current print ads that contain testimonials of 'real' women in India who just ALL happen to be 'fair and lovely' as well? The farthermost they have gone is putting a pair of spectacles on one of their models, and that's as close to 'real' as they seem to get. These pale photo- shopped faces do not represent even a fraction of women in India. Not even close. Just the cream of the crop. Dusky can still be beautiful.Will they ever have the guts to show a fat and dark south Indian woman? Ever? Let's see for ourselves:

Dove's international 'Real beauty' campaign:

Dove India's 'Real beauty' campaign: See the difference? So why the double standards? Is it because India is still obsessed with the notion of fair= beautiful? I don't think so. I think the Indian audience is slowly evolving. And so should Dove in their advertising. Honestly right now Dove's perception of beauty in India is quite distorted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My sunny balcony

Amidst this noisy polluted concrete- jungle city, four friends came together and decided to bring in a little sunshine into our lives. Thus was born - Mysunnybalcony.com, a project that brings us our own little garden right outside our window.

'Doing up' a balcony is a concept still alien to us urban professionals, we have just about gotten into the aesthetics of interior designing tiny apartments. Gone are the days of sprawling lawns, gardens maintained by 'maalis' with their watering cans, or plucking fresh ladyfingers and tomatoes from our backyard! Heck.. it's hard enough to maintain a potted orchid, a money plant is the only way to get a spot of green home for some of us.

Now you have a number you can call and watch your bare grilled waste of space transform to a sweet sunny balcony. So snuggle up in that cane chair with a book in your own private garden, a fountain gurgling away in the background. Sundays..lazy sundays...

Quoting from their website..."Any space that receives even a little bit of sunlight is a potential MySunnyBalcony space: A tiny unusable patch outside your front door, an ugly terrace on your roof, or even a back balcony in your your high rise apartment. It doesn’t matter how high up or small your space is, we’ll work with it. We’ll also tell you what you can do and what you can’t. You’ll be surprised at the immense number of green possibilities that even a tiny amount of space can hold!"

Take your pick...designer, zen, colorful or just a green veggie patch, or an idea
of a cute terrace garden you've always had, but didn't know how or never had the time to go about executing it, mysunnybalcony is your one stop shop for custom made balconies home delivered! Kudos to Reena and her pals, and here's wishing them all the best on their new venture.

Make sure you check out their website for more pictures and ideas for your space. http://www.mysunnybalcony.com/

Home sweet home :D

We finally finished doing up the interiors of our new place, and if I may say so myself, it looks fab! Here's a sneak peek


Loose Ends

I had heard and read a lot about this accessory shop in Bandra called 'Loose Ends', and been looking forward to making this trip for a while now. We set out on a wet Sunday afternoon, and after around twenty minutes of driving up and down looking for 'BEAS society' mentioned in the address, frustrated when our google map on the iphone that totally led us to the wrong place. But nevertheless, we found it, tucked away at the end of a narrow street, in a dilapidated garage.

I expected the shop to be a lot bigger but it was sweet and tiny, and they did have a delightful range of home accessories. I particularly loved the smaller things like matchboxes with kitschy indian pop designs, the plastic handbags, and wall clocks. Our new house was in desperate need of a clock, so we got a neat vintage looking one for the study. Along with it I picked up a tiny graphic- print handbag, just like that.

I'm a huge fan of the 'Happily Unmarried' range of products and I was delighted to see the whole stock. I have them all, the Gabbar shot glasses, the sardarji lassi tumbler, the wine bottle lamp, and now I have the tea- coffee- sugar tin box set to add to the collection. Winding up our trip nicely in time to get back home for some nice hot chai!

Hey I almost forgot about the fridge magnet we picked up. It reads 'I don't have an anger problem. I have an idiot problem'

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A good day for Good Earth

Cloudy Sunday morning, a very fine day for a big splurge in the city. After holding on to our Good Earth gift vouchers for more than a month now, we decided it was time to make that trip downtown to get some of their ‘to- die- for’ accessories. I was almost expecting to bring back a bag full of ‘seven -grand- worth’ goodies, instead all we got was a measly two and a half items for the house. I wasn’t totally disappointed either, was pretty happy with the stuff we got, they look expensive (most important) and they go with the rest of the decor in the house (expensive looking too!). Also fulfilled my desire to at least once go to a super expensive store and shop guilt-free.

Good Earth- Located in Raghuvanshi mills, in the heart of Lower Parel, it boasts a sprawling two floor expanse of elite home furnishing, accessories and a cafe. I wouldn’t say every item is worth it’s value, but there are few pieces that are unique and price worthy. Our first pick was a white stone bathroom set comprising of a soap dish- toothbrush stand- soap dispenser, mellow and modest compliments beautifully with the bold aqua tiles in our master bathroom. We also saw a square flat light wicker tray we really liked to go on the shelf for the same room.

Our master bath

Going along with my present aqua- craze, our next buy was a six bowl stone ceramic soup set, lending an earthy touch to an otherwise sleek steel and brown kitchen. I'm looking forward to inaugurate them delicious bowls with gleaming rich tomato soup on one of these mumbai monsoon days. A spot of color on grey n' gloomy afternoons ought to cheer one up. Nothing noteworthy in the glassware section, we were looking to pick up a set of whiskey glasses, but all quite tacky. Instead got a cutesy round glass wine bottle with a stopper.

Wrapping up downstairs, we made our way to the first floor through deep purple and blue texture walls that lead us to the home furnishing section, which honestly was quite a let down. The furniture is boring and uninspiring, while the prices went up to multiple lacs. Not that I was looking to buy any more furniture, so we moved on to the smaller knick knacks- pillow covers, cushions, table cloths- which again I thought were too 'fab india' like, just thrice the cost. I was looking to spot some India- inspired kistchy prints, not something one could as easily find in a local handloom house. But nevertheless, I did find something quite interesting, so wasting no time picked it up. It's a three foot long raw silk turquoise cushion with black graphic print on one side and mirror work on the other end. It seemed one- of- a kind, and I figured this thin long cushion alone would be enough for the living room couch, instead of crowding it with many small square cushions, which is quite common. It went well on our bed as well. Glad i found this!

Our bedroom

With our kitty almost exhausted, it was time to stopover at the cafe for a quick bite. It's called the good earth 'verandah'... and i absolutely love it. The old warehouse feel, the high ceilings, the worn out- peeling off wall surfaces, the vintage prints and paintings, long paper shades flanking the columns... and an enormous enormous wine rack on the wall behind the counter. The menu was extensive- from light eats like sandwiches and muffins to pasta, an extensive wine selection and to my husband's delight 'cream cheese bagels'! I haven't seen too many places selling bagels in the city, so this was a welcome surprise. They have a variety of cheese and bread for sale as well, from greek feta to sour blue cheese and breakfast rolls. So a fulfilling toasted tomato- mozzarella bagel and lemon ice tea later, it was time to bid goodbye to good earth...scouting for candles to finish off some leftover balance off the vouchers. Four coconut shell scented candles fit the budget, and we were on our way, shopping- happy- tummy -happy back home.

Bottomline: Head to Good Earth only if you're in a mood to splurge or have a bunch of vouchers to exhaust.....or if you're super rich of course. On the other hand I give a big thumbs up to the cafe. The ambience is plesant, food's great and moderately priced, nestled within the store...quaint and quiet seeming far far away from the noisy madness of Parel.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The glare would blind you, so don't forget your shades before stepping out of your room in these beautiful islands of Greece. White- boring, plain vanilla white, takes on a new personality adorning the walls of tiny village homes and inns, in the quaint island of Paros. Like a brush of rose blush or a thin line of blue liner accentuates the face, deep blue windows bring out the beauty and starkness of the detergent white walls. Minimal yet rich, shadowed by luxurious vines... making us wonder what lie behind those compact whitewashed facades...colorful stories of an island with over a thousand years of history.

The Cycladic villages have, for most of them, a similar architecture: white cubic houses built the one upon the other, with wooden coloured windows, doors and balconies in narrow streets next to windmills and Byzantine churches. The best manner to enjoy the architecture and its magical shapes and shadows is to wander in those labyrinth streets and look out for interesting curiosities. Capture and take back with you every tiny bit...a blue window or a yellow pot in a nook, as much as your memory card can take, and it still don't be enough. A bunch of red peeping out of a jar of white, subtle yet drama in every sense.

White spills over to the neighboring picture postcard island of Santorini, - blue topped houses and a maze of tavernas from the top of the caldera to the port at the bottom of this volcanic island. It's surprising to note that everyone has pretty much followed the same color code... no spoilsports out here. Giving a clearly distinct character and identity to the islands, unlike any other in the world.

I used to think painting a wall red was bold. But I might be wrong there. White could be bold...white is taking a risk, no other color can bring out the blue of a tiny drop of ink, than a white piece of cloth. Heck even having a white wall stay white is a challenge. It's making a statement.. of elegance and of control. Not everyone can. I have a couple of ivory white walls in my house, and I'm already nervous.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Design goes Barbie!

Delightfully-design-a-luscious-candy- licious! That's in a nutshell describing the "Barbie loves Johnathan Adler" collection- our very own Barbie's 50th birthday celebration. I remember getting my first Barbie doll, when I was in second grade maybe, and it was aptly titled 'My first Barbie'. A pretty Betty look alike, sporting a modest white frock and a pink ribbon. My First Barbie has grown to a lady and come a long way since then, hosting a big birthday bash at her very own pad in Malibu!

Designed by Johnathan Adler, one of the judges of the popular 'Top Design' Series, the Barbie Dream Home reflects her eclectic style, showcasing opulent pop-art colors and patterns.

The living room comes complete with a chandelier made from thirty blonde wigs, and whats super interesting is the original Andy Warhol portrait of Barbie herself, and tons of “happy chic” accessories that pay homage to all things Barbie.

This is her decadent bedroom with an amazing walk-in shoe closet that we would all just die for. And I'm in love with the mini vintage China cabinet, the black and white bold print wall paper. Very kitsch. As Jonathan states in his manifesto.. 'We believe minimalisim is a bummer!' I agree. There is beauty in mess and madness. Colors that clash

And for all the big time Barbie collectors out there, you can pick up select items for purchase as part of the “Jonathan Adler Loves Barbie” collection launching September 2009.