Dastkar 2014 @ Bangalore: a riot of colors

Tucked away in a muddy bylane was a colorful tent. It was a cloudy day today in B’lore which later gave away to unpleasant sunshine;  at the colorful grounds were hundreds of artisans gathered from around the country.  Neatly lined up in three rows, their awesome creations were on display. It being a working day, the crowd was thin but for a regular, enthusiastic bunch who knew what they were buying. It was also quiet unlike the weekends when there are multiple performances, dozens of kids running around, and the husbands patiently accompanying their zealous wives.

Nevertheless, it was a riot of colors. And, that’s more than enough. Happy me :)

Dastkar has come to town after two years; there was no nature bazaar last year. More stalls; more variety; a few old ones were missing but had paved way to new ones. This nature bazaar features everything from patch work quilts from Rajasthan to straw mats from Manipur, Kawandi quilts from Karnataka to pathachitra from Orissa, and silk from Bengal and Tussar silk from Chhatisgarh to embroidery and scented candles from Tamil Nadu. You get it – its fabrics and ceramics to jewelry and paper work  across the breadth of the country – all under one roof. But, only till the August 17th, 2014.

Over to pictures now…

Jewelry and glass repurposed as a lamp holder


An assortment of jewelry..



Srirangam: a shopper’s delight

I was in Trichy two weeks ago; it was the Golden Jubilee celebrations of my alma mater which we’d missed anyway. I usually don’t visit Srirangam on my trips there but this time happened to go there two times in three days. And each time, was in for a complete surprise. The crowded thoroughfare leading upto the temple was full of stuff that has eluded me for a while: cast iron cookware (not comparable to Lodge for quality but will do the job at 1/10th the price), baskets, plastic koodai, brassware….

I was at peace there. Longed to go back a second time. Felt very much at home even though it was probably the second time I’ve been there. Do you ever get that  feeling? I draw great comfort from shopping at roadside shops, and engaging in conversations with the vendors (there’s no pretense here).

Here’s a visual tour of the shops on the wayside leading up to the temple (called kovil kadai). I took the pictures on my phone so the quality is not great. As a kid, I never stood to marvel at the architecture of our temples especially having spent so much time in the temple town of Kumbakonam. It’s only now that this craftsmanship from hundreds of years ago stops me in my tracks.  It’s a pleasure to re-discover all the treasures that lay so close all these years and yet I never took notice.




Cast iron cookware, brass dice (dhayakattai), mortar and pestle, stone lamps, wooden skewers, baskets, and figurines made from 5 metals/brass.



Images: all taken by me

For the love of Starfruit & Kawandi quilts

green life

Sometimes I marvel at the lengths we go to as parents. Starfruit, pomelo, pineapple, and orange take the coveted four spots in my son’s list of favorite fruits. There is a slight glitch here: the first two are not easily available, let alone taste. So I’m yet to figure out how they moved  up the ladder in his list of favorite fruits. I’ve had Pomelo as a child but didn’t see one for the next 20 years, until last summer. Starfruit, on the other hand, I saw for the first time at Hyper City (ridiculously priced) a couple of years back and then at Hyderabad.

There was a mini Malnad mela by Vanastree at Green Life, I’nagar on Friday/Saturday where they planned to sell starfruit candy, kokum candy among other things. But, for us, these were the star attractions. So, we went Friday evening taking in the evening showers. No, there was no starfruit candy as the showers seemed to have spoilt the harvest. I was looking for starfruit seeds, as well, which they didn’t have. The organizer told me you can actually grow starfruit trees by propagation. Anyways, I was in for a surprise as I spot Kawandi Quilts. They were beautiful, and wonder how much work goes in to piece together those colorful patches.

Kawandi quilts

kawandi quilts


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