Tag Archives: Cotton World

I Wear: The Girl With A Cameraphone

I haven’t been writing as much lately but I have been shooting a lot of videos. Call it the techno-greek in me but it’s taken me the better part of a year to really start using all the features that my very high end phone gives me. I’ve been shooting (and even editing some!) videos of my spoken word performances. It gave me an idea to capture my daily reflections on camera as well. Of course, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with my writing on my blog all these years. And the world has been kind with my amateur’s mistakes and lack of polish in words. Perhaps it will be so with my videos as well.

Recently Reema suggested I bring my I Wear posts back, on video. That seemed like a logical conclusion given that I moved from text-heavy posts to Instagram collages on those. It’s a bit tricky doing this on video though since most of my content is self-created (self-shot in this case). But well, I’ll muddle along.

For my first attempts, I had my best buddy Aditya Bidikar on his trip down here for my birthday. He had the good grace to shoot two videos for me. The second one will come up shortly.

Adi and I were relaxing after the mid-week excitement of my birthday not-party. We decided to take a walk near the beach. It was a completely drenched day as it has been for most of this season. But I had Adi for company to spur me out of the monsoon ennui I usually slump into. Plus, a new pair of rainboots had arrived earlier in the week.

And now, here’s the video, shot by Aditya Bidikar.

I Wear:

  • Purple tunic: Cotton World
  • Handwoven sash: Guatamalan crafts exhibition, Dad’s US trip
  • Black leggings: United Colors of Benneton
  • Orange soled transparent rainboots: Paean, Amazon.in
  • Pink raincoat with belt: Lokhandwala market
  • Pink waterproof tote with purple piping: Marie Claire

* Check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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I Wear: A Mermaid On Land

This is the second of my acquisitions from the summer shopping spree. Like the inkblot top, this print too was available in a wide range of cuts and styles (including the one I picked in the inkblot print). I daresay the square cut of the inkblot top might have been interesting in this print and given that this fabric is soft & thin as opposed to the stiffer black & white, it would fall very differently. But I  was really drawn to the cool, swirly blue print and so the loose, flowing shirt/kurta seemed the best.

I had a chance to wear it the very next week. It was a hot day, one where I’d have to travel the length of the city, work for a few hours at a stretch and also fit in a salon appointment. I wanted to be comfortable and cool and this was perfect!

Jeans would have looked good with this top, especially since it has tails long enough to be tucked in. But it was too hot for denim. So I picked out this off-white cotton pair of drawstring pants, that mum got me awhile ago and that I’ve been waiting for summer to wear.

I love the comfort of drawstring pants but they tend to create a ‘muffin-top’ effect. So I let the top hang out loose.

Given the ultra casual vibe, I did feel the need for extra special accessories to keep this from looking like something I’d wear to a pajama party. I ditched my summer staple of earstuds for these dainty danglers from FabIndia. An unrelated aside – did you know talcum powder can work instant wonders on blackened silver? The pendant is a souvenir from my Goa trip last month and the Tibetan market that I chanced upon.

I had a salon appointment later, to rectify this horror inflicted on me by Enrich Matunga. And I decided to throw in a pedicure to pamper myself too. Here’s the before and after of my feet. The green gladiators are almost two years old and unimaginably comfortable. The glittery blue nailpaint was a whim to match my clothes and is what gave this post its name.

The haircut didn’t come off as well as the original but Tabu did a damn, fine job of getting it out of its mess. That’s her reflection in the mirror. What do you think?

And finally here’s the whole look:

I Wear:

  • Blue tie-dye sleeveless cotton shirt: Rs.799, Cotton World
  • Off-white drawstring pants:
  • Crisscross silver earrings: FabIndia
  • Eternity symbol silver pendant: Tibetan market, Calangute, Goa
  • Green strappy gladiators: Lifestyle
  • Haircut & pedicure: Enrich, Lokhandwala

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Wear: The Inkblot Test

So here’s the first look from my shopping spree last month. Mid-week, welcoming in my favorite season of the year and stepping out for a casual evening. It’s really simple and easy.

First, we start with the star of the outfit, the top I picked up on my spree. I fell in love with the inkblot print and chose this short, loose square-cut top from the plethora of options (kurta, dress, singlet). It’s a light cotton that was standing stiff on its first outing but will probably lose its starch over washes and be drapey instead (that sounds better than ‘fall limply’, doesn’t it? 🙂 ). It’s not sleek or sexy but it looked (and is!) so comfortable, I just had to own it!

These were paired with the new classic blue jeans I picked up early in the month (having decided to quit being in denial about my old jeans that have been 2 sizes too small for me all winter). It’s such a pleasure to be able to breathe. And never mind the itty-bitty-pretty and unreliable sandals, I was continuing my ‘comfort-0ver-chic’ attitude. These zebra-printed babies (seen before here) are kitcshy but so comfortable!

And that…pretty much…was it! Plenty of talcum powder, a dab of nude lipgloss, I ditched my handbag for a few notes stuffed into my mobilephone cover. And I was ready for a cool summer evening out in town!

  • Black & white inkblot cotton top: Rs.699, Cotton World
  • Blue jeans: Rs.1500, Pepe jeans
  • Black & white zebra print sneakers: Rs.399, Lifestyle

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Wear: Mall Rat

Saturday afternoons are for finishing up chores that you don’t have time for on the weekend and that you don’t want ruining your Sunday. Mornings are too early to wake up on a weekend. Evenings spent on chores make me grumpy, since everyone else seems to be doing more interesting things. Afternoons are the best as the hordes in the city are either working the last few hours of a 6-day week or shoring up their reserves for the night.

High Street Phoenix was where I was headed, for a quick lunch, for window-shopping at the fun stores and actually shopping at the boring ones (Big Bazaar). Most of the big stores don’t let me carry in that handy Cotton World cloth bag that I’ve been toting around on just such quick shopping excursions. Big Bazaar goes one further in the ‘punish the customer for coming to us’ by making you deal with grumpy baggage personnel or forcing you to put said handbags into ugly transparent, plastic attaches. I wanted to go light.

It was a sunny day and travelling anywhere in this city without protection for face & hair is stupid. And it looked like I’d be doing a lot of walking. The brocade slingpouch (see earlier in Streetsmart Colour) and my steel-grey moccasins came in useful. The tee-shirt was a gift from Meetu and unlike other brand-bearing tee-shirts, this one fits well and doesn’t make me feel like a walking advertisement. And finally, I tossed a thin silk scarf across my shoulders to keep my neck warm, to tie my hair with & to cover my face while travelling.

You know how the fashion industry says things like ‘Great style should be effortless’? This is my take on the idea. When I looked into the mirror, I felt rather proud with the way it turned out since it didn’t cost much (time or money), looked stylish, was suitable for the occasion and stayed comfortable all through. So I grabbed my camera for a picture, when I got back. Note that this is how I looked after the commute, crowd-jostling & grocery shopping, minus any touch-ups.

I Wear:

  • Faded blue jeans: Levis Diva
  • Black tee-shirt: Courtesy Meetu of WOGMA
  • Violet postman’s hat: Baggit, Shoppers Stop
  • Silk scarf: Cottage Emporium, New Delhi
  • Steel-grey moccasins:
  • Brocade slingpouch: Street stall, Connaught Place, New Delhi

I Wear: Desire For A Day

Comic Con Mumbai 2011, the first of its kind in the city, took place in third week of October. I have much to thank the beautiful @Phyrodite for, not the least of which was, telling me about it and then helping me construct a look for it (more later).

The event wasn’t promoted as well as I would have hoped, given the burgeoning popularity of the visual/text medium (I’ll refrain from calling them either ‘comics’ or ‘graphic novels’ since each seems to incite overstrong responses). Still, it was exciting to think of being able to attend an event that focused solely on this genre and its fans.

That it took place at the undeniably inaccessible World Trade Center, Nariman Point may have been a point lost in its favour. Still the numbers did turn out, horrible public transport and weather notwithstanding. What was slightly disappointing was the size of the actual event. My first pang of disappointment struck when I saw the ubiquitous white-and-blue temporary stalls everywhere. These have become synonymous with boring expos, meets on real estate, technology and other such stuff. I really had expected something more…I don’t know…crazy, quirky, wild, colourful? The stalls were all run by publishers, writers or occasionally an unrelated merchandiser (posters, fridge magnets, music-themed tee-shirts).

I was delighted to find India Book House had a stall there. The people who’ve delighted every Indian child with Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, had a large stall selling their most popular comics. The covers are now glossy though the print quality suffers in some of these cases. Also, ACK digests are now hardbound editions. As a show of support (and because they were offering a 20% discount!), I picked up two Tinkle digests and two  ACK collections (“Tamil Stories” and “Jataka Tales”). I also spotted fellow NovelRacers, Vijayendra Mohanty, there to promote his comic series, Ravanayan (which the boy promptly bought).

There was a costume competition in the evening but then again, I didn’t really see enough of dressed-up people to really make this a success. Most of the visitors were men/overgrown teenboys sporting the now-so-common superhero teeshirts. Among the costumes I did spot were a Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter really is not a graphic novel or comic!), Fred Flintstone (Isn’t that a cartoon, not comic?), two Darth Vaders (I guess Star Warsmania is a given in any comic convention) and the only other graphic novel character – Rorschach (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen). Which brings me to the next part of this post. What did I go as?

I’ve had my eye on a certain Neil Gaiman character for a long time and just hoping for a Halloween party or costume ball of some sort to don the look. Unfortunately for me, @Phyrodite beat me to it! Looking back, I know she made a far better Death than I would have. What else could I pull up at the spur of the moment? I didn’t want to go as a superheroine, given my limited exposure to these only notes teenboy-fantasy-skimpy-costumes. I didn’t want to carry off a character I didn’t know well and I did want to honour one of my favorite stories of all time – the Sandman. So I picked another character, one not as obvious but very powerful in his/her own way. There’s a clue in that last sentence, Sandman-lovers. This is what I took my brief from (Book 4: Season Of Mists):

“Desire smells, almost subliminally of summer peaches, and casts two shadows: one black and sharp-edged, the other translucent and forever wavering, like heat haze.

Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge. And there is much else that is knife-like about Desire.

Never a possession, always the possessor, with skin as pale as smoke, and eyes tawny and sharp as yellow wine: Desire is everything you have ever wanted. Whoever you are> Whatever you are.


The most striking thing about Desire’s look is that it isn’t an exact half-and-half male/female depiction, but a seamless blend of the two that somehow is both striking and attractive. I’d been meaning to get a haircut anyway and with this, I decided to just go wild and carried the comic with me to the hairdresser. Following a drawn image proved to be too difficult so instead, I explained the character to her. I think she really hit the nail on the head with this haircut!

It was too hot for a suit so I decided to pick the look Desire sports in Chapter 5 of ‘Brief Lives’, when he/she rescues Tiffany, the exotic dancer from the apocalyptic last dance of Ishthar. A white cotton shirt that I’d bought just the previous week was begging to be worn, that’s how cool and starched it was. I discarded my formal trousers in favour of skinny jeans to make the look more ‘spicy’ than staid. These jeans were too tight for me a few months back but happily for me, slip on like second skin now. Second skin I say, because that’s how tight they are. I think they made for a good contrast with the prim cotton shirt. Over this, I slung a black cordruoy jacket, hanging off one shoulder in the classic Desire pose. I think all I was missing was a lit cigarette but I don’t smoke so I gave that a miss.

Footwear would have to be my strappy black sandals since the haircut and shirt made for such a boyish look. It’s the accessories that I was really proud of, at the end. First of all, a red satin pouch that I got as a free makeup kit from Maybelline, doubled up as a waist pouch. The colour, the fabric, combined with the steel chain around my waist added the kinky touch to Desire.

A heart-shaped rose quartz pendant from Magick slipped into one of my ear hoops and stood out really well against the black jacket. A silver charm bracelet with a heart was on my right wrist. And finally, at the end of another steel chain (matching the one around my waist), I attached an old pendant from my college days, that depicts a boy and girl kissing. I wound this around my wrist and swung it around to showcase my character’s belief that human beings are but objects of Desire.

And finally, the most important artefact of an Endless sibling – the sigil. My glass heart pendant was a gift from @Phyrodite. And here’s when Death and Desire walked together!

* The photographs are courtesy Rehab and Valerie, who couldn’t have been more patient as I demanded one more angle, one more frame, one more photograph!

I Wear:

  • White cotton shirt with embroidered yoke: Cotton World, Rs.750
  • Sparkly jeans, skin fit: Diva, Levis, ~Rs.1500
  • Black strappy sandals: Catwalk
  • Black cordruoy jacket: Shoppers Stop
  • Red satin pouch with steel chain: Make-up kit from Maybelline
  • Large glass heart pendant on black chain: Street stall, Hill Road, Bandra, Rs.150
  • Small rose quartz heart pendant worn on ear hoop: Magick, Bandra, Rs.150
  • Steel boy-and-girl-kiss pendant: Malhar, St.Xaviers’ college circa 1997 (!), ~Rs.200
  • Haircut: Enriche, a L’Oreal salon, ~Rs.800

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Wear: The Tee-shirt Dress

Move over shirt-dress! The teeshirt-dress is here! Nothing matches the comfort of a tee-shirt for the hot weather. But I often find denims too heavy for the heat. Shorts and skirts require a certain fit of the tee-shirt they’re worn with, so as not to look too sloppy. The tee-shirt dress is a perfect alternative. It’s easily thrown on, best worn loose & comfortable and can be teamed up with anything from sneakers to floaters to strappy sandals. It’s a great wardrobe option for a girl who wants to look good without being too girly. Tee-shirt dresses were made for the tomboy girl who grew up.

Presenting exhibit A: A salmon-pink one by AND. Remember when Lacoste brought out a range of women’s tee-shirts? Well, this is the same material as our favorite alligator-logo’ed tee-shirts. Take the sleeves off, let down the hem a bit and snip-&-sew it into a snug shape and voila! This particular one has a very tennis-player feel to it, which is why I usually pair it up with my orange-and-silver Catwalk shoes (see also in I Wear:Coffee & Sunshine). The bag, of course is my favorite red Baggit tote (see also in I Wear:Flourishing Feathers).

The second was actually marked as ‘Long top’ on the label. I was window-shopping in Mega Mall, Oshiwara when I spotted this hanging with the dresses in Max on the ground floor (thank you, @lyricalmutiny for reminding me of the name!). I was struck with an idea the minute I saw it. Curiously enough, my vision involved buying an extra-large size and XL was the only one that they had in stock! I got home and pulled out a top I’ve had for over a decade but never used – a grey tube top with thin elastic shoulder straps. It came as part of a set with a similar coloured full-sleeved jacket. I never liked that look much but this top has finally found its soulmate after 10 years! The grey perfectly matches the stripes of the ‘Long top’ whose sleeves actually sort of drift off near the edges of the shoulders. It falls to about an inch over my knees, making it a perfect summer dress. I wear it with grey-green gladiators.

And finally, here’s a piece I picked up last week and still haven’t worn. It has a T-back (or a racer back, if you will) and falls in one straight line to an inch above the knees. There ought to be a number of ways to wear this. Firstly, there’s obviously the sailor-girl theme, given the navy-and-white stripes. A pair of white tennis shoes should work well for that. For a more fashionasta look, it could be teamed up with navy blue jeans and ballerina flats in a colour pop (I’m thinking majenta). But I think the one I’m really going to go in for is to wear it on its own with a long chain, loads of pendants, colourful sandals and maybe a floppy hat or a hair accessory (Spotted something called a ‘fascinator’ on High Heel Confidential. I wonder if it’s available in a more junta brand a.k.a. affordable prices).

Interestingly this piece was labelled XSmall. I did try on the larger sizes but they looked closer to maternity gowns than tee-shirts or dresses on me so I stuck to my usual size. It is priced at Rs.740 and available at Cotton World, Palladium.

* Cross-posted to Divadom.


Mills To Malls: The Monuments Of Mumbai

The city of malls was once a city of mills. Mumbai, home to Bollywood, financial capital of the country and one of the most populous cities in the world also lays claim to being a key vertex of the textile boom of the last century. The mill redevelopment was big news for a few years the start of this decade. In my own adult lifetime, I’ve seen the grey industrial belt of Parel-Curry Road-Cotton Green metamorphose into the glitzy gaudiness of malls, pubs and fancy retail outlets.

Walk into High Street Phoenix and the disposable income of this city is all around you. It’s grabbing a beer at one of the pubs or flashing a credit card at the latest ‘it’ designer’s collection or checking out the coolest entertainment that money can buy. Subway, MacDonald’s and Big Bazaar are only for those who’re slumming it.

But stop for a minute and let your eyes drift a few feet upwards. Over the neon hoardings, the new glass-and-metal construction and the mega-parking lot, you just might catch a glimpse of an old soot-stained chimney. The next time you’re at Hard Rock Cafe or Zenzi Mill or Blue Frog, let those same eyes catch the massive overhead pipes. They’re not a fashion statement by an eccentric interior designer. They’re the last remnants of a bygone era.

I’m not just being nostalgic. I worked in this belt for most of my career. My first job, an internship with a marketing agency required me to travel around in this area. My first memory of Lower Parel is a filthy place full of muddy lanes,  zero rain shelter and depressing buildings. In the past ten years, I’ve seen each of those spaces get cordoned off and then re-emerge with fresh paint, a new construction or two and a fancy (very fancy) price tag attached to whatever is being sold there. It’s literally an Eliza Dolittle on this city.

I think spaces hold memories, of people who’ve lived in them and what  they’ve felt and said and been. These glossy new addresses are the new  avatars of what used to be the salt of the earth of this city. Standing  in the middle of the hottest nightspot, sipping a fashionable cocktail,  I’m suddenly struck by the contrast.

Who were the  people who spent their lives in these places? Who called this home or a  place that provided employment for them and sustenance for their  families? The mill belt carries memories of places no one else  remembers. Mumbai’s success story is an epitaph to the forgotten workers whose toil made this city.

Tread respectfully the next time you’re here. Mumbai’s history lies beneath you.


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