Store Tour: Meghaavi

OK. You are on Facebook. Tell me how often do you NOT click on that ad in the sidebar?

Even for someone with a strong resolve, it takes a lot to not get distracted.

Sometimes it’s the colorful styling. Sometimes it’s the teaser. Sometimes, it’s the price. Sometimes, it’s the name of the store that makes us curious (like Jabong was when it initially launched). Sometimes, it is the logo. Very rarely, is it a  need.

Oh there are zillions of stores. For everything under the sun. But, some stand out in the crowd. FB replies sometimes reveal so much about how a store is run and the person behind it: the warmth of the owner comes across in the choice of words, the transparency in sharing the knowledge about a product,  promptness in replying, humor ….

It’s not often that I reach out to someone to write about them. And let’s be honest, not every time that I want to contact a store, I’m able to reach out to them easily.

Meghaavi stood out from the crowd. I loved the logo. Jaya is the face behind Meghaavi, a fine home linen and furnishings store in Bangalore for the discerning buyer. I reached out to her on Thursday, and here we are with a post four days later.

Meghaavi Store

 

bed sheets

 

Here I’m picking on her brains to understand how she conceived the idea and what it takes to run the store.

1. How did you conceive the idea of the store?

Jaya says, “I am from an IT background. After quitting my last job, I was looking to change my career and do something creative. Whenever I looked at home furnishings in stores, I either found them lacking in quality and finish or too expensive. After having lived in the US for many years, I had become used to quality at an affordable price and felt that this segment was missing in the Indian market.”

2. One customer story that has reaffirmed your conviction in starting the store?
Jaya confidently recounts, “ There is not one story but many. And all of them relate to the customizations that have now become a big part of the business. I got four duvet covers made for my neighbour and friend Smitha who told me that the duvet covers available in the market were limited in design and that I should fill that gap. Or the baby basket that I designed for a friend’s sister’s grandchild with something old from the grandmother and a few things new designed by me. Or the table runners recently designed by me for Diwali gifts suggested by my friends Sharmila and Reshmi and bought by them as well.

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Recipe: Peetha from West Bengal

duck in west bengal

I’m at West Bengal for a fortnight. Contrary to popular belief, life is not laid back in the village. It’s bright and sunny at 5:45 a.m., and if you are like us, a ray of light sneaking through a crack in the window is enough to jerk us out of bed; no matter how much I’d like to pull the blanket over my head and sleep in.  What if the clock was set half an hour earlier for the eastern parts of the country?

fields

Monsoon has been intermittent this year. The fields are not lush-green. These pictures are from October last year of a dish I enjoy eating immensely: peetha. One of the highlights of our trip. It’s called peetha, and from what Nandita of Saffron Trail mentioned, it’s supposedly a secret recipe that locals aren’t willing to part with. I had been meaning to post it and can you believe it’s been a year already. Tradition has it that it’s only made if there has been no death in the village; it’s not to be made in any home during mourning. Peetha is made from rice flour, sometimes from sooji and stuffed with paneer or khoya and deep fried. Each piece is circular in shape like rotis about the size of your palm. This is a very authentic version as all the ingredients are sourced from nearby, for instance, rice flour from the grains from our fields.

rice flour freshly ground

Step by step pictures:

1. Rice flour made from the grains harvested from our paddy fields. As natural as it gets.

2. Mixed with water and suagr in a big handi over clay oven and stirred vigorously. Yes, the everyday cooking in all homes in our village is done in the earthen oven. Gas is for emergencies only. That’s Dipali you see in the picture below.

dipali cooking

3. Let the dough cool. Shape them into round sized balls and roll them out.

 

rolled dough

4. Meanwhile, make khoya/khoa from cow’s milk and keep it separate.

5. Take two balls of the dough, flatten them.

rolled dough

6. Place a spoonful of khoya on one flattened rice flour dough, and spread it over.

khoya

7. Seal this with another flattened piece of rice flour dough.

8. Take a steel katori and place it over the flattened dough pair to remove the extra dough from the edges. This will also give a perfect circle.

9. Heat oil in a kadai. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the pooris.

peetha

Life is always greener on the other side. Young men from the village migrate primarily to Calcutta and Bangalore to work in the construction industry, while their families stay back here in the village. But, for us city dwellers, the peace here is that no money can buy. I’m off for a stroll in the fields with the ducks, to watch the kids bathe in the ponds, stop by numerous times along the way because my son thinks he has found a precious stone, and look for a beehive in the wild. It’s the everyday life here. I do work here not because I have to but I choose to as I’m more productive here. Checking mails or random calls don’t figure in the scheme of things. What does is the steady stream of visitors who just walk in, say hello in their sweet way, have a cup of chai, chat on random stuff, and leave. But, if you ask the village folks, may be they have an altogether different tale to tell.

This is an old post about life in the village.

See you in two weeks.

 



23 ideas for changes in an under-construction home/apartment

Thank you Sreeraghavi for writing with a practical concern. I’m humbled by your request. Sreeragahavi, a reader of this blog, wrote to me in July with a practical query, something that all of us as home owners at one point or the other grapple with:
We have recently purchased a 1585 sqft apartment and it is in construction phase. I would love you to write a post about practical tips to be considered during construction of apartment. The smallest things which we miss during the construction and later regret of thinking about them during construction.
When I was doing the house hunt series, this was the topic I was going to address the next. Better late than never as I get back to the topic.
A few caveats before I begin: I’m no expert in architecture/interiors either by work experience or education. The suggestions you see here are what I have seen at homes of family and friends.
Utility:
  • Plan for the appliances you intend to keep in the utility – drier, washing machine, dishwasher and position the inlet/outlet pipes accordingly. 
Kitchen:
wooden partition

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