Thursday, June 21, 2018

#TravelSari – 5 Ladies who sojourn in their saris

Saris have been cherished and bought on shopping sprees. They’ve been carefully preserved in heavy trunks and worn with élan for weddings & parties. But are saris, these days, worn on travels & sojourns; on trains & plains; for road trips & cruises; at beaches & mountains; at museums & monuments?


Our sari feature today is all about the gorgeous ladies, who wear their beautiful saris during travel trips. These are #realtime women, who take their saris out of the social media realm and wear it during their holiday zone. It takes a shift in the way we think of our saris (i.e. party wear or for photo ops or for office/restaurant wear) and a little adjustment in how you carry it off as you trek up a hilly road, walk through golden sands or stroll through vineyards. 

Sangeeta Venkatesh: Going ‘beachy’ in a sari:


My husband Venkatesh and I simply love Goa! With clean beaches, wide roads, great food (even for vegetarians like us), great hospitality  - this is as international as a destination in India can get. I can bathe/ swim in the sea and be the archetypal beach bum for hours! We have come back here again and again, and have celebrated some personal milestones in this beautiful coastal region.

And if it was Goa, it had to be a Kunbi/ Gawda revival saree from Goa Adivasi Parampara.  This saree was originally worn by Kunbi and Gawda tribe women who were basically paddy field workers.

Who says you can't pack a saree for a Goan holiday?”

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sari In Your Suitcase – 6 ways to travel light + in style with your saris (& a call for collaboration)

Even though I love wearing saris for pretty much any occasion, I didn’t like traveling with (yes, with) them. With petticoats, blouses and multiple saris, as well as the usual brouhaha of regular clothes and accessories, my suitcase would be brimming with things to wear. Not my favorite way of packing (I’d prefer to travel light any day), so the saris would have to be left behind or carried along in a larger suitcase. But over the years, when my travel often combines pleasure and work, I’ve found a way to pack light and still take along saris + the accessories to go with them.




Here are some tried and tested tips on traveling with saris and still staying light.

1. Choose saris of similar color to cut down on the number of petticoats and blouses to take along. If I choose a turquoise blue Chanderi cotton, a crisp greenish-blue Bengal cotton and a river blue Kota Doria, I can team them up with the same petticoat, and even the same blouse (I don’t wear matching blouses, but funky ones that can be mixed-and-matched to create new looks). That means two petticoats and blouses less to pack and carry! I use this trick often to reduce my luggage and still have the pleasure of wearing saris wherever I go.

2. Let the saris you pack be light + stylish. Personally, I prefer to take saris that are light (no heavy silks for me while traveling) and can be worn at various occasions. Example: Whether I’m teaching a workshop, attending a meet-up, going out to the club or tucking into a meal at a restaurant, my Kota Dorias and Chanderi cottons are great for all these occasions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Brigade That Builds Brands: Maryam Hasan Ahmad's take on crafting an Artsy Army life on the move

We're back with another interview from the 'The Brigade That Builds Brands' series. It's all about fauji wives / military spouses, who make work work for them through multiple postings, back-to-back social commitments, spotty internet connections, long stints of single parenting, community mindset regarding how military spouses should or should not work and a lot more. Today, I’m talking to Maryam Hasan Ahmad about how she juggles her life as a brush-wielding artist and as a wife of a man in boots ‘n’ beret - an Army officer. 


A talented illustrator and artist, she didn’t give up her work to fit into the fauji life, but instead, carved out a freelance career that she could pack and take along to the multiple postings across the country and world. I hope that this interview will get you revved up to create a freelance career around your passions too.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.
M. I am a freelance illustrator of children’s books, fashion and portraits/caricatures. I am, as of now, based out of Haryana and have been wedded to the Olive Green for 15 years.


C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
M. I am an Applied Arts Graduate and have been freelancing in illustrations since college, and then did a 2 year stint in Chennai as an animator in a French Animation studio. Those two years were a big learning curve. But all that came to a standstill after getting married and being sent to obscure places where there were absolutely no job avenues. Internet was a blessing that got me hooked onto online freelancing while following my husband around the world. Now I could work from any corner and have clients from all over the world!! This opened up a whole new world for me and my dreams. Our 2 year tenure in New York was another time of personal and professional growth. I started my blog https://homespunaround.blogspot.in/ there, attended a lot of arty lectures and seminars… learnt studio pottery. Participated in a couple of pop up fairs and started selling my handmade products online.

Friday, June 8, 2018

6 Things to do in Nauchukiatal & Slow Summer Travel

Finally, I got my escape. A last-minute, hurriedly-planned and quickly put-together travel to the hills. The moment you type ‘weekend getaways from Delhi’ into Google, you get tonnes of options. From Nainital to Ranikhet, Almora to Mukteshwar, Corbett Park to Bhimtal, these hill stations studding the crown of Uttaranchal beckon you with promises of cool mornings, cloud-swathed mountains and verdant forest cover. But, we decided to go to Nauchikiatal – a tiny hill settlement with a tongue-twister of a name, sandwiched between Nainital and Bhimtal. 




About an hour’s drive from the Kathgodam railway station, the mountain roads twist and turn (dose up on anti-nausea meds if you have motion sickness like me) to bring you to a quiet little place with lesser touristy footfalls than some of the other places in the region.

However, when we made our way into Nauchukiatal , a pretty lake town set amidst lush mountains, there were throngs of tourists, waiting for their turns on the boats or tucking into street food. For a moment I wondered if we’d arrived at the right hill station because honestly, a place packed with people isn’t my cuppa of holiday tea. But as we entered The Camphor Tree’s premises at the edge of the town and nestled amidst hills & woods, the tourist ho-hum seemed to fade away and all that mattered was our 2-day holiday stretching ahead like an ice-cream on a summer’s day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

5 Eco-friendly & Organic Gardening Steps Fauji Wives (and anyone with a garden) Can Take In A Snap

We military/fauji folk often live in green areas with sprawling gardens, prolific backyards, and lush surroundings with trees and abundant fauna. The air there is clean, the skies blue (sans a film of smoke) and the opportunity to tend to the Earth, bountiful. But even though most of us like to get our gardeners to create immaculate gardens and plant rows upon rows of vegetables and flowers, not many of us actually take eco-friendly steps.


Military areas might look lush green and soothing to the eye, but in reality, how green are our gardening and lifestyle practices? Hey, don’t turn this off already – read on to find some super simple ways that you can maintain your garden, enjoy the vegetables & fruits you’ve grown, and still make the whole experience richer for you and Momma Earth.

1. Don’t let your gardeners spray pesticides in your garden. Time and time again I’ve seen that the local gardeners (most of them are untrained) insist on spraying down flowers and vegetables. They don’t really ask for permission to do this (as they think this is a perfectly normal practice), so it’s wise to speak to them beforehand and tell them not to get the chemicals in. Instead, learn about eco-friendly ways to deal with garden pests and pass on the info to them for implementation.
Green go-to tip: In my experience, using neem oil and Panchagavya, and planting garlic and calendula around veggie gardens often keeps pests away.
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