Monday, February 28, 2011

My Kinda Gal: Sudha

My loves, How are you? I'm having a ball here. Soaking in the experience, living in the NOW.........will be back in a couple of weeks and will have loads to share. For now, my wonderful, knowledgeable friend Sudha is filling in for the rest of my ever-expanding circle of friends(I truly AM blessed!) she is a woman of many talents--> fellow design junkie, environmental crusader, cook extraordinaire (samosas from the oven, people!!--she bakes the suckers!!! ), --you can catch up with her as she shares her passion for midcentury modern design, cooks up a storm or shares the coolest ways to protect our environment. Here's Sudha with her guest post.........


A huge thank you to Gagan, for inviting me over to share my thoughts on Of Peacocks and Paisleys. I have made wonderful friends on the blog-o-sphere and cherish the time spent interacting with each one of them. Having said that, let me introduce myself.

Hi people, I am Sudha, a Design Enthusiast, who loves to research the hows, whys and wheres of furniture and design (among lots of other things!). My choices are very minimalist and are rooted on Refuse, Reuse and Repurpose fundamentals. Green living and an eco-responsible lifestyle is a major part of my life. I drew a blank when I sat down to write for a blog as versatile as P&P.  The thing is, I invariably end up talking about environment and green living in most of my posts. Keeping in tune with what I do best, I’d like to share a few of my *likes* in terms of using Jute as a décor element.

We are used to seeing jute sacks in grocery stores. And this how they look when up-cycled as upholstery. Coffee, potato and rice bags used wonderfully on furniture. Jute cloth, aka gunny bags or burlap cloth bring in a homey feel to the decor. They look equally good in a rustic as well as contemporary and modern setting.


I love the use of jute rope for webbing on wooden chairs.......
(pic collection folder)

Affordable home goods; coasters, placemats, rugs etc

Clothing, accessories and more…don’t you love this versatile fiber!!

Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced across the world. Woven jute is also known as gunny, burlap or hussien.

Why choose jute
Did you know that jute has low thermal conductivity, exceptional insulation and antistatic properties. Jute mesh or gunny sacks are also used to reduce soil erosion and water retention. (Unfortunately, synthetic materials are replacing jute or jute bags are lined with plastic / HDPE).

Environmental benefits
  1. Jute plants clean the air and are said to release more oxygen when compared to other crops.
  2. Growing jute has minimal impact on the environment as it requires very less fertilizer, herbicides, & pesticides (compared to cotton).
  3. High production/growth rates and shorter crop cycles (100 days) make jute a very versatile and economical crop. Biodegradability of jute  is the most promising reason to choose jute.

Wouldn't it be good to think of ways and means to bring in jute into our lives and homes. Another reason  to support the Jute industry is  its socio-economic impact on the South East Asian countries which grow and export this Golden Fiber. Hoping that all you lovely readers would make well thought out pro-Earth choices - decor and otherwise. And remember,  green choices need not be the most difficult or the most expensive ones. It is all about the thought you put into your choices.


Sudha, Thank you for your lovely post on jute. I'm a big fan of the raw unfinished texture of burlap and am totally enamored with the jute jewelry you showcased in this post. I want! :)


Friday, February 25, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Kinda Gal: Kamana

Gentle readers, continuing with the series of guest posts, let me introduce to you a very talented lady, Kamana. Her blog, Journalling Through Photos, is full of amazing photography and a source of endless inspiration. Kamana's posts often feature her signature prose and poetry--words that can make you stop and think--you can't read and not reflect!! Like I've told her, I'm waiting for the book... 

Take it away Kamana.....

Weave upon weave

weave, interweave
strand by strand
joy and sorrow
in an ever changing
intricate web.
filling the heart
to bursting point
wringing it all out
constricting the soul
with pain.
smiles laced with tears
layer upon layer
of raw unmasked emotion
weaving the tapestry of life.

Kamana, Thank you for joining in! It was a pleasure to have you over!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Kinda Gal: Kamini

First up in my series of guest posts is Kamini, author of the blog Saffron and most of you, she needs no introduction, and you will instinctively know why I decided to start the series with her!! For those of you not yet acquainted with her, let me try and extol her many virtues, or better yet, let her do the talking so you can see firsthand why. Gentle reader, I give to you Kamini-- one of the most inspiring women I have come across in the blogosphere! Take it away, K!

Gagan of OPAP stardom, has kindly - and bravely - asked me to write a guest post on her blog. I happily accepted, not just because I love her blog and to be a guest blogger on it really makes me happy, but she has also given me a "blank check", a "carte blanche" to write about anything! Anything that I want to put out there, that will give readers more of an insight as to who or what I am, help them understand where I am coming from! In her words "go for it, let it out"!

Now I'm a hothead, on any given day, I usually have a gazillion things that I want to either rant or rave about, but these past few days have been more thought provoking than usual. So this is going to be a "no holds barred" post! As much as we would all love to talk design and color in our blogs, there is so much more to life than that! And if I start to ramble and get preachy, please...I didn't mean to :-)

A lot of things have happened in these few days of 2011 that have given made me reason to pause and reflect! Or maybe I'm just getting more introspective as the big 50 approaches?

So here is a quick synopsis of 2011 so far....before I reveal my feelings...

As many of you know, my son and son-in-law visited from DC. For those who may not know this, my son Gautam and his partner Andy got married last September in DC! Many folks are surprised at this. Whether it is because a same sex marriage is something practically unheard of in India, or whether it is at my acceptance of it as an Indian mother... I don't know....but my answer has always been that he is my son, his happiness is important to me, why would I stand in the way??? Very easy, once you understand that concept. And the fact that Andy is a super nice kid is just icing on the cake!

Anyhow, they spent a week here in Hyderabad including one night at my parents' home in s senior citizen gated community. Even though Andy had met most of my mother's side of the family when he visited 2 years ago, on this trip he got to meet my dad's side - namely my jolly vociferous 70 plus year old uncles and aunts and their spouses.

A week later I joined the 2 boys on a short vacation to Chennai and Pondy. My husband who was supposed to have joined us had to bail out cos his 86 year old dad fell ill and had to be admitted to the hospital. My father-in-law had a stroke in May, he has been steadily declining in health. I mention this because it is relevant to what I have to say later on in this post.

[Update: Kamini's Father in law passed away on the 2nd of February, he had lived a full life and was surrounded with loved ones at the time. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family.This post was written at a much earlier date, and I have decided to let it run as is. If you wish to, please do drop by Kamini's blog to offer your condolences.]


But going back to our vacation - in Chennai we got to meet my teeny tiny 88 year old grandma and my husband's uncles and aunts and cousins, who put out a delectable authentic South Indian meal for the American son-in-law!

In Chennai we spent a night at the Taj at Fisherman's Cove. This place, for those who have not seen it, is heaven on earth! Expensive, but heavenly......big airy colonial style verandahs, upholstered porch swings, lush palm trees with their fronds fanning you as you stroll by, softly gurgling fountains, cobbled pathways leading to the pristine beach, liveried guys serving you exotic welcome drinks, garlanding you with shell necklaces and waiting on you hand and foot. And the food....oh the food...amazing! After one night here, we drove onwards to Pondicherry stopping en route at Mahabalipuram to see 2500 year old temples. Then on to Pondicherry where we spent 2 nights at a more affordable heaven on earth - The Dune at Pondicherry! At Pondy we did the usual typical touristy things...walked along the beach, ate street food and visited Auroville. Then back to Chennai for another day, after which they headed home to DC and me back to Hyderabad.

Back home I found my FIL in worse condition in the hospital than when he was admitted. The docs had inserted all kinds of tubes and needles in him.....for various problems they had unearthed in his 6 day stay there. The next few days was an unending stream of CT scans, tests, Xrays, IV drips etc. The poor man was exhausted and so finally we decided enough is enough and brought him home so he can spend his last few weeks, months whatever in the comfort of his home....which is where he is now.

So....the 2 week time span in which all this happened has made me ask myself this:

How do I show my appreciation and gratitude to all my family and extended family that gave my son-in-law such a warm welcome and made him feel so much at home? Why did I worry about it so unnecessarily? And what is it that causes a traditional South Indian family, and a 88 year old grandmother, living for years in parochial Chennai, to reach out and gracefully embrace such a non-traditional marriage?

How can I not cringe and feel uncomfortable every time I think of how much I spent to stay one night at the Taj at Fisherman's Cove....

when this stone cutter we saw outside Mahabalipuram doesn't make even one tenth of that in a day's work? 

The designer in me wants to know how this 1500 year old ratha/chariot temple has withstood the ravages of time so beautifully.....

and the non-believer in me asks from where this child gets the faith he clearly has, by which the mere act of touching his soft cheek to the rough temple stone gives him such joy, almost as if he can hear the Gods?

And while I absolutely loved what The Mother had to say in Auroville....

I asked myself why I was a bit spooked at the whole Auroville commune thing and why it reminded me of the Dharma Initiative in LOST....?

What hand of fate determined that this dog live on the roadside searching for scraps...

while this dog gets to sleep with its head resting on colorful fuchsia pillows....?

And when does one decide that for an 86 year old besieged with age related health problems, being in a hospital room surrounded by doctors who will do anything to keep him alive for another day in the ICU was worse than being at home surrounded by people who loved him dearly and were willing to let him go?

Questions, questions that will bother me for some time, till I get caught up in mundane chores and forget about them, or I somehow miraculously get wise at 50 and get a satisfying answer to them....! Also, let me say that I mean no disrespect to religion, or the Aurovillans!

On February, spring, reflections, and plans!


Gentle reader, dear friend....thank you for dropping by and reading everyday...........your comments always bring a smile to my face! It's been really hectic here: traffic is horrendous! Much as I love my country and Delhi--- something needs to be done about the traffic and pollution!!(Unfortunately, I have no solutions to offer. :( ) But, moving on, there's nothing that can compare with the feeling of being with family---it's been busy busy busy!! jet lag notwithstanding,  my heart is full....there's a lot more travel planned with whirlwind trips being squeezed in to ensure we get to meet with everyone..........It's warm(ish) out here and the birds are chirping and there are flowers in the garden. Spring! :) I seem to forget to cart along the camera everywhere I go, so, as yet, I have no pictures to share with you (I'm working on that, promise! :) ). I haven't had much time to visit your blogs/handle correspondence, and it looks like it may be a while before I'm on top of things. And I'm okay with that, the important stuff, being here, is getting done, and that's all that matters!! :)

Anyhoo, getting back to the blog! I've been meaning to shake things up a bit on the blog front for a while now. Yes, it started out as a design blog, but it has since grown to mean so much more-- almost a journal of my days as they go by. I do find myself holding back at times, not broaching topics uppermost in my thoughts, as they do not match the "scope" of the is so much more than just design after all! After mulling over the "direction" of the blog, I have decided to widen its horizons..............yes, it will remain a design blog, but there will be a lot more "me" in it. (Brace yourselves!! LOL!). I realize that posts that elicit the most dialogue are the ones in which I pour my heart out. In that, I have done you a disservice by not acknowledging the mature, intelligent audience I have. Well, that's about to change, albeit gradually. For starters, I'm introducing a series of guest posts for you. My showcase of people I'd love to surround myself with...creative, funny, fun, smart, well read, intelligent, sensitive, mature.... you get the picture? I'm starting off with five guest posts, one for each week that I'm away...this is a series I'm hoping to continue, probably on a monthly basis once I get back to regular blogging. Each of the visiting bloggers is a "woman of substance" to borrow a phrase. Much like you and I , they do everything-- kids, home, family, work---and somehow, in the middle of it all, they remain true to themselves. To me, they're interesting (and inspiring!) because their personalities shine through.....I'm so thankful to have come to know them and I'd love for you to "meet" them as well......I hope you'll  love getting to know them as much as I do! Introducing, "My Kinda Gal(s)".........

A picture a day, 5


Yummmmmmmm! SO my kind of space!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A picture a day, 4


:) Here's a "defining moment"---Do you see clutter here? I see a lovely warm welcoming space!! What's your decorating style?

Monday, February 7, 2011

A picture a day, 1

Via Style at home.

Hello February! Am I too late to welcome you? Naaah! I just completed 38 revolutions  around the sun and the world looks really good to me right about now. Hellll-O February!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hello! I missed you all......

My lovelies, how have you been? sorry for my unexplained absence; by the time you see this post, I'll be on my way to India. It's been a long time since I've been home with my family and this trip has been in the making for several years. Every time, something would happen and the trip would be postponed for "the next round". This time, I was determined to push through with the plan, come what may. Well, lots of events in the past few weeks have transpired that made me feel that little choked up cry inside once again. Doctors' visits, snowstorms, canceled flights, icy roads, fevers, name it, it happened. So tell me, did the storms affect you? I hope this was the last of the series. I'm so ready for spring!!! However, even as I fly "home", I'm also leaving "home" behind....Hubby elected to stay back and I'm going to miss him terribly.

I had planned a series of guest posts, for the rational, organized, part of me likes things to move like clockwork. However, the ensuing drama prevented me from taking further action. I have a lovely series of guest posts planned, but I'm unable to muster up my inner blogger---I'm too jittery to sit still long enough to do the write ups they deserve or to sequence the posts "just so". So bear with me, gentle reader, just a little while longer...... I know you've been patiently visiting, wondering what on Earth I'm up to!! To those of you who wrote in and inquired, thank you:, I'm well, just too jittery at the moment. Something tells me I'll sleep like a baby on that looooong flight home. :D   As far as the plans go (because I always have a plan!!) I have a  lovely series of guest posts and loads of eye candy lined up in my drafts folder....For now, I'm setting up a series of eye candy posts( just a pretty picture a day, not much chatter from me! :))   for the next few days. As for the rest, they're all awaiting my command; I'll be home soon and I'd love to catch up with you.......Till then, many many warm hugs....

The past two weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for me: I'm going home, but I'm also leaving a part of me behind (!!??!)  because this too, is where I'm home. Strange isn't it? my our my definition of home?? Do you feel the same way about your adopted and birth homes? :) I'll be back soon.................I'm leaving you with this magical song.....

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