Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flower Power

"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other".
Yeah, we all have perhaps nodded our heads at this famous quote at some point of time. And for ages, flowers, with their vivid colours, forms and fragrance have uplifted our mind again and agin. That's why most people consider flowers to be the God’s greatest creation

Cherry Blossoms woven in a carpet

                                    Embroidered flowers in a cushion

                                           Kantha work on a throw

And they are the most popular design aspect that we come across in our daily lives —be it in prints, paintings, jewellery, ceramics….  At this very moment, if you look around your house, I am sure you will find at least ten items with floral motifs. As I did…

                                              Framed silk painting

Sketched at a needlepoint

Moulded in silver

                                             Adorning the fingers

My Dinner mates

Adding beauty to our house


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aga Khan Palace

During our recent trip to Pune in Maharshtra, we visited the Aga Khan Palace, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi's National Memorial, where he was kept under house arrest in 1940s. 

Aga Khan Palace in Pune
Situated about 2 kms away from Bund Garden in Yerwada on Pune-Nagar Road, the Palace looks magnificient with its Italian arches and spacious lawns. Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga Khan built this Palace in 1892 to provide employment to the famine affected people of Maharashtra. It took 5 years and Rs 12 lakhs to build this Palace.

During Gandhi's house arrest, his wife Kasturba and his long-time aide Mahadev Desai died in the palace and their memorials were built by noted architect Charles Correa.

A museum inside the palace complex has a rich collection of pictures and photographs depicting the important events of his life. A wide assortment of his personal items, including utensils, clothes, mala, chappals (slippers), a letter written by Gandhi on the death of his secretary, are on display here. A small amount of Gandhi's ashes are kept here as well.

Richard Attenborough used the palace as one of the filming locations for his biopic of the Father of the Nation, Gandhi.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wall Motifs

Life often throws pleasant surprises at us. The same happened with us when we visited this Gujarati style artificial village Chokhi Dhani, set up as a tourist attraction on the outskirts of Mumbai city. Besides enjoying the puppet shows, rope walking and Banjara dances performed by the folk artistes, we were specially impressed by the beautiful wall paintings all over the place. Have a look!!

Similar designs are seen all over rural India with flowers, sun, moon, leaves etc are popular motifs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home! Sweet Home!!

Our houses reflect our personalities. Whether opulent or minimalist, traditional or modern, funky or kitschy-- each house has a soul of its own and is a labour of love. Here I showcase our own house that reflects our simple tastes.

Over the years, my husband and I have made a small collection of items that we have become attached to. Like this ornately carved coffee table  of ours, which we consider as one of our prized possessions.


I have started my blog with alpona designs-- very unique of Bengalis, a community mainly residing in the Indian state of West Bengal and the neighbouring country, Bangladesh. The designs were originally drawn on the floor with rice flour mixed with water and soaked in a piece of cloth or cotton. The cotton, dipped in the liquid, was pressed between thumb and the ring finger, to draw the elaborate motifs inside and outside the houses or temples, during weddings and festivals, to appease the Gods and Goddesses. Now poster or acrylic colours are used to make the alponas sharp and long-lasting. Though floor decoration is popular all over India, some using flowers or dry rice powder or coloured powders, this design form used in Bengal is particularly eye-catching.  Fish, considered auspicious among Bengalis and served as one of the main dishes during weddings and some festive occasions, is the focus of attention in this design. Alponas, also drawn on the walls,  The alponas were traditionally drawn by womenfolk of the houses using simple motifs from daily lives like, flowers, conch shells, fish, birds, creepers, paddy fields, and footmarks of the deity. Artistes at Bishwa Bharati, an open university set up at Shantiniketan in West Bengal by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, draw ornate alponas during various festivals. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

It is time to Act

For long I have been following various blogs and wanting to host one my of own.  Finally, I decided to take action. First, I would thank everyone who have really inspired me with their colourful and lively blogs, though I am just learning the tricks of decorating my blog. 
            India has a great reserve of art and craft of its own. Each region is unique in its design forms and techniques. But for a true connoisseur, it is perhaps essential to appreciate true art forms, irrespective of the region it belongs to.