Wednesday, December 29, 2010

tiffin carriers

going to pondy bazaar in the t.nagar neighborhood of chennai is like walking through a maze of everything and anything you ever wanted. that is if all you ever wanted were cloths, shoes, plastic buckets, sticker bindis, hair pins, safety pins, sweets of all kinds, fresh flowers and fruits, street foods, saris jewellry and of course "ever silver" - the name that a certain type of metal is referred to. we stepped into Rathna stores to buy some thali plates - the ones that have seperate compartments for each dish and i was just amazing by the quantities of items they had. my favorite area was where the tiffin carriers were. tiffin carriers are perfectly designed containers for storing all you need for "meals" - rice, sambhar, rasam, a kuttu and a curry, curd, pickle and appalam.

Monday, December 27, 2010

fabric flowers

i love being send on a mission. my sister, who is getting married in august, is making fabric hair clips and boutonierres for all her guests, so she's asked me to pick up a variety of fabrics here in india for her project. luckily i stumbled upon dastkar andhra's exhibition which is running now in chennai. they are an ngo that works on preserving natural dye traditions as well as handloom fabrics. i ammended my purchases there with some lovely silks from RaSi, a mylapore insitution next to the Kabbali Koil. using the inspiration board she gave me i selected a number of fabrics. i had a lovely assortment of green shades for the leafs, but unfortunately they got sent back to the US with my mom! maybe we'll get a photo of them soon to post.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


after marriage it is customary to make a visit to one's paternal village to seek the blessings of the ancestral god or "kula devam" (pictured above). ours is in semmangudi, a town made famous by the legendary carnatic vocalist semmangudi srinivasa iyer.

we made a visit to the home where my great grandfather used to live. it is still in it's original condition, with a gorgeous and huge lime tree in the courtyard.

i love seeing our village. it is just one lane with houses on both sides, the typical tamil nadu village home with pillars in the front and a courtyard inside and low ceilings through the walkways.
we also have a very interesting practice of honoring any sumangalis (married women) in the family who have performed sathi by paying a visit and doing a namaskaram (prostration) to the poovada pani. no photos of this somewhat mystical practice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

treasures from anokhi

hi friends! we've south india where we'll be spending the next few months. it is just wonderful to be back here. the weather is so pleasant in december, though the first few days of our arrival were completely washed out due to the leftover monsoon rains. i've been enjoying the coffee soo much, the food and especially the guavas, which are in their prime.
no trip to india would be complete for me with out an immediate stop to Anokhi to get some beautiful salwar sets and miscellaneous textiles. each year i am impressed with the new prints they have and increasingly zero waste production.
Anokhi has been know for over 40 years for it's environmentally and socially responsible business practices, employing women, paying fair wages and using organic cottons and plant dyes.
Everything is hand embroidered and hand block printed. They have shops all over India, but their homepase is in Jaipur where they also have a textile museum.