Sunday, December 28, 2008


Delightfully eccentric and stylish at the same time, Squint is Lisa Whatmough's success story of merging various textiles with furniture to create one off pieces that showcase a new dimension to traditional upholstering. I particularly like the graceful tone in the above pic, and the bold armchair below !

Even a chandelier gets the treatment:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Warm Light, Apple Pies and Gratefulness.

Feeling down, I am making myself think back to a few nights before when I could not help be grateful.
A warm glow from the kitchen illuminated the last slice of a warm delicious apple pie Mama made and that ended up as my late dinner - rivers of cream cascading down, and sitting in the semi darkness a welcome but sadly forgotten feeling came: gratefulness suddenly filled me.Cradling my tea, I realized I havent often felt grateful in so long, and suddenly I savored every blessing, and it felt wonderful.
Silently loving the people in my life, grateful that they slept soundly nearby, or that they must be happily and safely - I hoped- busy in a different time zone somewhere far, I thought of things - good things, positive things, that somehow at that moment had the power to outweigh heavy burdens and shine bright enough to light me up even as things seem dark and dim.
Sadly, today is not a similar case, but that magic feeling made me happy - and perfect or not - I loved myself, my gifts and my very own room for its comfort,happy that there was this space for me in the world, even as entire families live in single rooms less than half the size, that many out there were feeling cold and hungry, and I was aware, drifting into sleep under cozy blankets,
that while I had my burdens, I have much to be grateful for, and much to love about me and my life, and that I had God to thank - for blessing us Kindly,Patiently even while I can be oblivious.
And even as we like to be appreciated for whatever we may give someone, and may be angered by the lack there-of !
Above painting by Erin Pendleton

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking an eternal delight in all things we loved to do

This picture brings a smile.. All of these things I loved to do everyday of my childhood life..!

The exhiliration of riding a bicycle every single time...
the pride I took in learning how to ride by myself finally after numerous falls I was determined to get through. My older cousin did try to teach me, but when I looked back to discover he had given me a running push and let go ; I panicked at the thought of riding on my own and crashed. Theres a beautiful lesson involved in learning how to ride a bicycle.. in the end - you have to get there by building enough confidence to do it yourself,determination and never giving up until you learn how to ride!! Oh and when I finally did.. the reward was sweet,pure joy every single time.
I was lucky enough to have a pair of swings installed by my Dad in a large backyard, and various little one act-plays with a cousin including the climax scene of a dramatic fall off the swing were enacted.
A slat of natural wood is the most beautiful swing seat in my opinion.
And the birds and cats agreed.
The birds and I shared these swings, as did every visiting child.
My first cat is fondly etched in memory in a single moving motion: Sitting up very straight on a swing that he had managed to set fast in motion by taking a running jump, enjoying every minute and a regular comical sight outside my window going back and forth, back and forth..

No hillside wild flowers ever grew in my grass, but if anything, it gave me an appreciation of weeds, a stronger imagination, and sporadic efforts at pressing in flowers randomly to see what it would look like if there were flowers.. and tiny golden mushrooms that sprouted during monsoon were a welcome delight!

I loved overgrown grass and had many an argument trying to keep the lawn from getting mowed. Clipped grass: short and spiky … but the longer: -the greener, the softer .. lusher.. I know the difference well..
Way back in school my mother came across the idea that walking on dew laden grass is good for the health… the eyes especially.
And so in the pink rays of a rising sun, a very sleepy schoolgirl would have to walk barefoot on cold wet grass.. the dew drops visibly glistening on blades that had somehow unruffled themselves through the night- .. I’d begin by complaining , soles sensitive to the cold and sometimes spiky blades (if the lawnmower had roared over them) - and always end with my eyes wide open – fully aware of a morning unfolded and very much in tune with nature, enjoying the squishy green between my toes!

A quote I liked when I was growing up and, I feared, away from my simple little pleasures and rights to just be – just play, just be silly, just laugh, just get up and be spontaneous was the perfect counter for friends who were suddenly too old or too lazy as we went along our teens :

We do not stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Been Away !!

I've been away from the internet and my blog these past few weeks, owing to a visit to Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia and now a flu/fever ...

I returned to see I have been missing out an award and on numerous subsequent visits owing to a wonderful surprise award from Linda at Lime in the Coconut, to whom I am grateful :) ,especially since my blog is so new - Thanks Linda! :)

My apologies to all, and I hope to recover and be up and posting for you soon,iA !

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A touch of glam in chic little tables

I found myself frustrated by the choice of bedside tables that I saw in the market and even online.. for my own room, I'd prefer something chic and glamorous... Something that isnt sidelined but is confident enough holding its own in style by the room's focal point.

I've decided on something like these mirrored ones above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Displaying books in artsy ways

Oh, you don't have to own them all... Just a sense of appreciation.

Escape with tea-at-your-favorite-temperature and some pillows by a pretty window with a book you feel like reading, and there's only the question :

Did my passion for books make me search for the perfect decor that pays homage to them, or does the sight of a stylish space with books as a focus suddenly invite me to a childhood pleasure forgotten?

I like a contemporary approach to displaying books in shelves - rather than row upon row of books, I'd go for mixing beautiful art and objects in with a selection of books. Now that's a fun and crazy way to shop- 'Do you think this plate/hat/eccentric decoration piece would look good with my books??'  ;)

To illustrate (images from Domino):

Notice the famed photography prints placed on the floor. I like the silver vase as an element of interest, though I would like to balance this arrangement out for more interest.

There's something retro about the above image. Notice the colour coordination and deliberate stacking of books imperfectly to give a casual feel.

Above: Bold, unexpected and interesting with some colourful textiles thrown in!

Lots of books pile up to form a side table here - again, with some art. This is also a good, attractive storage solution. Just pile up books attractively in empty spaces - low piles under a table in your entryway or living room, by the window, or a few piles of varying heights with decorative objects such as lamps or a picture frame placed on top.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Memories of a Rural Ancestral Village.

 There is a reverent name by which my grandmother’s village is called, by the few who know it. It is an hour’s drive from the teeming city of Gujrat (3 hrs from Lahore) towards Azad Kashmir.
I wish it were still as beautiful for you to visit, but the truth is that I shall tell it to you from memory – until only a decade or two ago, this place was mystical and charming, still might be, but my grandmother is no longer, there is electricity, and the people have grown up different..

Enter off a lone road, down a narrow uncomfortable dirt track you navigate by gently nudging a very stubborn flock of goats and sheep with the car, who take no notice of the horn and your presence (Do not try it with the buffaloes).
From afar, the batch of mud and redbrick houses is alluring, enter and suddenly you are in a very narrow brick lane, and you take the lanes that can squeeze in your car, open drains on either side running along and medieval towns are no longer a strange picture in history, but very real. Hardship is etched into the lines and threadbare dhotis of the old women and men bent double, but then hardship is etched into the faces of many people across Pakistan, and you will be surprised at the meaning of faces conveying stories, stories you know you don’t want to hear because of how they will make you feel.

At the very end of the village, the last house is huge and covers the perimeter of all the houses behind it, so that when you turn the last lane round the corner, you have only the house, or ‘haveli’ stretching out on one side, and opposite is the mosque, the ‘mazaar’ , and the well driven by oxen, buffaloes tied, and behind all these, the fields open and go on forever. In the background, you can barely make out the purple outline of the mountains of Kashmir.

We break into a run knowing our grandmother is inside, Nano,(are all maternal grandmothers as special and angelic as mine?? ) She is inside, losing her sight,partially blind, fiercely independent, and she is surprised, then breaks into her very musical laugh as she hears the children run up to her and hug her.

There was no telephone in the house see, and she is in the midst of supervising the chattering village women squatting on the ground, who come frequently to pay homage, and gather in the courtyard to talk and help her with various activities.Suddenly a proud rooster is scooped up from the ground, and a few minutes later, two of the women are plucking out the dead bird’s feathers, preparing him for a very strong flavored simple chicken broth, simple and light, but loaded with chillies, and the flavor of a free bird that fed on organic scraps and clean air. The rotis to go with it, will come out of the ‘tandoor’ oven in the ground, in the courtyard. The cat meanwhile eyes them, slinking nearby. At night she will disturb the tin dishes while we sleep nearby on charpais, underneath a black sky FILLED with stars, something I still have not witnessed anywhere else – I didn’t know it was possible to see so many stars, or that there were so many. Until drops of rain falling on our face wake us and force us to move into the verandas, where at 8 AM we will find the village women sitting on our charpais chattering amazed at how we are still sleeping after the sun has risen.

Sharing pictures of my grandmother’s house today... She had the most musical laugh I have ever heard, and the most generous spirit I personally knew – the way to make her happy was to bring her gifts she could give away to poor villagers. Combine that with pragmatism, and forgetting your belongings at her place meant you had just given to charity unwittingly.

Above: The courtyard of my grandmother's house, where the village women would gather around to gossip, and do chores. The pillar has a rod from which hung a wire basket to keep food well aired, and away from cats!
In the bottom right corner(Not fully pictured) is the Tandoor (clay oven) in the ground for making Rotis.. the bread sticks to the hot walls and is done by the flames in a minute or two.

Above: The view from the verandah going around the courtyard.

Above: One of the main entrances... An intricate carved wooden door leads into a small mud floored room that opens into the courtyard.