Tag Archives: Shopping

I Wear: Indian Wedding

*This is a sponsored post.

Two of my friends got married this week. I attended a ceremony that lasted over 6 hours, included a pheras-around-fire ritual, several small in-family practices, a wedding dinner and reception. And this was actually an Indian Wedding Lite. I didn’t have much time to dress or even plan what I’d wear, considering it was a speed tracked wedding (7 days to organise, invite and conduct!). Also, it was in the middle of a  weekday in oppressive, pre-monsoon June in Mumbai.

I went to my saree cupboard, of course. Sarees are my staple wedding wear. And the past year of saree experimentation have given me a mean confidence about a quick drape. I picked out an old favourite, my first ever Kanjeevaram saree, actually. I chose this one because its blue/green colour would be different from the traditional red/pink/purple hues that dominate Indian wedding guest attire. Also, with its stripy design and brown-gold border, it defies the kanjeevaram tradition of plain hues with gold buttis and  border.

I’ve been struggling to find good blouse alternatives for sarees and the last year has been full of experimenting with tee-shirts, croptops and even a blazer once. But for a wedding, I wanted to go a little more traditional (convention having being defied adequately in choice of saree). I wore a chilli green readymade silk blouse that I found available under a brand called Ethnicity. The fit is good, the colours vibrant and the design, just the right blend of saucy and conventional.

And finally (or rather, primarily), the accessories. The jewellery would have to be gold or close (I went with minakari) to match the saree border. My regular steel strapped watch would clash with the gold/yellow/brown tones. My latest timepiece came in handy. I have a new Jord Woodwatch in an unusual Cherry wood shade. It went beautifully with my attire. The watch is entirely made of wood, including its strap so it didn’t conflict with the material/fabric ensemble either. Here’s how I looked:


I Wear:

  • Blue-green striped kanjeevaram saree: Nalli, Chennai
  • Chilli green silk readymade blouse: Ethinicity (available in InOrbit mall)
  • Minakari jewellery: Central Cottage Emporium, New Delhi
  • Woodwatch: Ely Series (Cherry), JORD

*JORD wood watches can be ordered at their online store. The one I’m wearing in the photograph is here.ely-11-front-angled


I Style!: No Excess Baggage

I haven’t been a big fan of Fastrack ever since the ‘cheating is cool’ subtext in their ad campaign. But this duffel bag from their collection caught my eye, especially for its label. It reminded me of the Tantra tee-shirts form of humour. So, after a long hiatus, an I Style! feature with this bag labelled,

Not for ex’s baggage

2012-09-20 20.57.07_wm

Short Haired Women

The thing to do with a really short hairdo is to wear lots of make-up OR big earrings.
It helps people realise that you’re a woman. (especially after this disaster)

Leaf earring on the left: Accessorize, InOrbit Mall, Malad
Butterfly earring on the right: Threads n’ Homes, Bandra West

* Cross posted to Divadom.

I Wear: Dancing Queen

The look I’m detailing here is as retro as the title of this post. The occasion was a Christmas special dance workshop by the MadMax Academy of Dance. The invitation actually said to wear white but I couldn’t find anything good to wear in that colour. As it turned out, no one wore white but a lot of people stuck to the Christmas theme. I wasn’t really going for the Santa Claus look but as it turned out, the red fit right in. I was actually going for a biker babe look, which I switched at the last minute to include some red and resulted in a more retro feel.

I’d been dying to take out those boots, since they were my pick of the season. I didn’t want to wear jeans and it was too cold for a skirt. What better than leggings for a dance workout? The top is a long-sleeved fitted body-tee with black sleeves, that I got as a gift awhile ago. I love the colour and the print, referencing my favorite decade, the 70s. But the full sleeves get a bit much in Mumbai’s usual weather. It’s longer than a regular tee-shirt, which is why I thought it would be perfect to wear over this teensy-tiny denim skirt. The acid-washed denim and miniskirt-over-leggings is more 80s but I figured it was close enough to the period I was referencing.

I knew a dance workout would have me sweating in a matter of minutes, and the cotton would let me breathe. I could always roll up the sleeves. But it was an extraordinarily cold evening and I also didn’t want to stand out too much in the train, for my miniskirt (never mind the leggings, you know how Mumbai trains are!). So I pulled on my black Life jacket, already taken out for the biker babe look. For some reason, the jacket tones down the look, making it less fitted as well as less dated.

Since the top leaves the neck completely bare, I draped over a blue silk scarf, that would otherwise be considered more corporate attire. All my other scarfs are prints and would make this look too busy. But the muted colour matched my skirt and complemented the look well. Accessorizing any further would have been overkill and as it is, I pushed the envelope slightly since it was a vibrant, festive occasion. For just an evening out, I’d have stuck to diamond studs or maybe even worn no jewellery. And my make-up would have been more dramatic with maroon lipstick and perhaps lined eyes. But this evening’s activities would cause make-up to run. And few things look as bad as a face with worn-out make-up and bad accessories. Ear jewellery always lifts my face so in burst of daring, I added these oversized hoops made of surgical steel.

Now look carefully. The girl in the print has hair almost as short as mine and a frame that’s just as lanky. She’s also wearing white (silver?) hoops and a heart-shaped pendant. And that’s the only reason this pretty, glass heart got added to my outfit.

The look was much more fun, young and crazy than I’d imagined – just the right mood for the kind of uninhibitedness that makes dance fun! I had a great time dancing and laughing and it was the most fun Christmas event I’ve ever been to.

I wear:

  • Red-and-black full sleeved body top: A gift from a shop in Vashi
  • Stonewash, pre-faded, pre-frayed denim miniskirt: Shoppers’ Stop
  • Black leggings: Benetton
  • Black jacket: Life
  • Blue silk scarf: Cottage Emporium, New Delhi
  • Black leather ankle boots: Shop next to KFC Bandra, opposite Theobroma
  • Red tote bag: Baggit
  • Glass heart pendant: Hill Road street stall, Bandra

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

The Bombay Store Launches ‘India Haat’

I was at The Bombay Store on the 1st of February, for their India Haat event, showcasing their Rajasthan special line. There was so much colour around (in keeping with the state represented), that all I did for the next hour was shoot pictures. Let my photographs speak for themselves:

I started with the clothing section:

Fabrics for those who prefer the richness of design & texture, that is Rajasthan:

Home furnishings weren’t far behind:

Fun, quirky kitchenware:

Trinkets are pretty much all I can afford at The Bombay Store, at the moment and here’s what caught my eye:

There was a definite elephant theme going on, curiously coinciding with my own elephant-themed look for the day! Here are all the adorable pachyderms, I spotted (including a photo-negative version of my skirt!):

And finally, the band-baaja:

You can see the individual pictures on the Facebook album of The Idea-smithy.

As the invitation says, the India Haat will be on till the 14th February, 2012.

Ideart: Leaves

Mum has the kind of glowing golden skin that makes colours like yellow & orange look luminous rather than loud or tacky. Given her more demure style, she doesn’t usually wear a lot of bright colours. But occasionally, something like this slips through – a rich orange kurta by FabIndia with yellow-and-orange brocade sleeves. Typical to FabIndia, the style is subtle and shows in the superior cut as well as tiny details like darts near the collar and at the hem. I think it was a combination of the leaf skeleton pattern and the colour that gave me the idea for this piece.

My past Ideart posts have gone into great detail on technique but I haven’t seen any response to indicate that these interest anybody. If you do want me to elaborate, do leave a comment here or write to me. I’ll be happy to share what I did and how.

All I used was a set of brushes and the colour yellow (with a few highlights of gold). Here’s how it turned out:

And here’s the full garment:

*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

Experimenting With M.A.C. Eye Shadow

My friend Lakshmi was in town this month and our conversation was peppered with swapping life experiences, jokes and a couple of old memories. Lakshmi has lived in Bhopal, Tamil Nadu (Chennai) and Mumbai for a few years each and for the past 8 years, in the U.S. Her style sense has changed ever so subtly.She uses more make-up that I remember. She introduced me to powder-based foundation by Bare Minerals a couple of years ago. And on this trip, she was on a mission to convert me to M.A.C. Or perhaps I should say, introduce me, since I’ve never used the brand before.

Americans use make-up differently from the way Indians do. For one, it feels like they use a whole lot more – foundation, mascara, highlighter, blusher etc. Most of us who do own cosmetics content ourselves with a bunch of lipsticks and an eyeliner or eyepencil thrown in for good measure. I think they’re also more adventurous with colours and combinations. Most Indians stick to black/brown in eye colour and red/brown on the lips.

Personally, I’m not at all a fan of mascara. It makes my lashes look and feel clumpy and heavy. Being Indian, my lashes are naturally black and thick (enough) so I don’t think I really need mascara. What’s more, Mumbai’s perennial hot weather makes heavy eye make-up a fashion taboo. My look on most days is eye-pencil (albeit in different colours this winter) with a touch of gloss on the lips. An occasional evening out may merit a smudged look on the outer corners of the upper lid or a darker lip hue, but that’s about it. Eye-shadow I have experimented with (here’s one case) but that’s for super-formal, extreme occasions like weddings etc.

Still, Lakshmi’s suggestions (in make-up and in life) have never gone amiss and we had the time to spare so I went along. The M.A.C. girl asked me what colour I wanted. Being absolutely clueless about what kind of colours are appropriate or cool or attractive on the eyelids, I just pointed to an eye-catching array of blues and said, “What about those?”.

She grabbed a handful and led me to the chair. Then she asked me what kind of look I wanted. When asked this, I usually go in for the safe answer (or what it feels like to me),


My premise is that I’m in the hands of an expert. Hair can grow out, make-up can be washed out. Why not try the most outrageous extreme that’s possible to see how it looks? Toning down, subtlety is a matter of individual taste, after that. She seemed happy (as does every hairstylist I’ve been to, when they hear this from me) and commented that most people wanted to play it safe.

It’s always good to watch someone at work, when they’re enjoying what they do so I was kicked that my brief made her so enthusiastic. She got to work on my right eye first. We started taking pictures only later and Lakshmi was sitting on my left so this eye’s images aren’t as detailed. The look finished with a wash of silvery blue across the eyelid, ending in a pop of electric blue at the outer corner of the lid. She finished with a dark blue eyepencil line right over the upper lid. Very dramatic and not conventional, I think. But I like the wildness of colour splashes, as opposed to over-defined lines.

The left eye was done in a different set of colours. She started with a pale aqua green, coating the lid from the inner corner to the middle. Then, the middle to outer corner was covered in a sooty black. I actually liked the look, even before it was blended in, since the colours came together in one neat, diagonal line, exactly along the line of light as it falls on that eyelid. You can see how the post-blending effect looked in the last two panels of the collage below. This eyelid did not use any eyeliner or eyepencil.

Apparently, the shape of my eyes provides a lot of room for colour since there’s a lot of space between the lashline and the eyebrow. On the other hand, I tend to move my eyes around a lot and also smile much, which crinkles my eyes. This means that the ensuing friction wears away eyelid colour much faster than it would on other eyes. Also, my eyelids end in a slight bulge just above the lash. This means, when eyeliner or eyepencil is applied, a thin line of skin colour can also be seen between the eyepencil line and the lashline. Eyeshadow manages to cover that up well though, as does a smudgebrush.

Here’s the finished product – two looks, both wild and dramatic. Blue burst on the right eyelid and green-black on the left eyelid. Which one do you think is better?

Photographs courtesy Lakshmi.

Esselworld – Extreme Central!

I’m sick of overpriced theme restaurants, terrible movies at multiplexes, stale food court fare and weekends spent window-shopping at malls. I’ve been looking for some affordable, fun things to do and this weekend I found one. I spent Sunday at Esselworld.

My earlier trips were by road or the Marve ferry. This time, I decided to try the Borivili route. A taxi offered to take us there for Rs.250 flat rate. We turned him down in favour of an autorickshaw who consented to carry 4 passangers for Rs.100. The ride took us about ten minutes and he dropped us off bang in the center of a fish (and seafood) market.

The ferry ticket booking counter should have been an indication of things to come. I remember Marve (near Malad) as a little beach shack that sold tickets and had a ferry every half an hour. I’d warned my friends to expect to travel alongside fisherwomen, motorcyclists and regular thoroughfare. But we weren’t prepared for the Dadar-station-at-peak-time style crowd that thronged the counter. We managed to get only ferry tickets, despite hoardings advertising that Esselworld/Water Kingdom passes could be purchased too. Then we had to make our way down a narrow ramp, lined by fish-sellers on one side, incoming ferries on the other and sandwiched between a mass of humanity. Much line-jumping and fights ensued in this melee. Mercifully the rickety looking ferry took us across (‘ML Christmas’) in ten minutes to the other side, clearly visible from this side. The distance is short enough and the crowd vast enough to merit a bridge but I’ll guess the ferry lobby wouldn’t want that.

Once on the other side, we spent another hour waiting to get entry tickets. I’m pained by the ineptitude of having multiple ticket windows & computerized systems but only manning half those windows and allowing only specific transactions on each window. Multiplexes are as guilty of this, I suppose. At least neither the customers nor the service staff at Esselworld displayed the aggressive, boorish attitude that is a hallmark of most multiplexes. Our troubles ended right at this point and all the effort was well worth it for the day we had.

In retrospect, it would have been better to take a walk around the entire park before getting in line for any of the rides. We started with Zyclone, the first roller-coaster that’s just a few feet after the entrance. Zyclone is a single car ride with 4 passengers so the line moves really slowly. We spent nearly an hour waiting and the ride was over in under a minute. Still, this is a good basic ride, with enough rush to get an adrenalin junkie started but moderate enough to appeal to people with milder tastes.

Wouldn't prohibiting 'People with Menstrual Cycle' from Zyclone mean no adult woman could ride it? Also, Masik Dharam literally translates to 'monthly duty'. Indeed. 🙂

We wisened up from our long wait at Zyclone and decided to avail of the maps handily posted every few feet of the park. Our next stop was Hoola Loop, another roller-coaster, this time a 3-car one carrying 12 people per ride. Hoola Loop also boasts dips twice the lengths of Zyclone and a full 360-degree turn on the turn. We had to wait for this ride too but the line moved faster as twelve people went in on each round. I kept my eyes firmly shut on the first dip but plucking up courage from my unfazed companions, I kept them wide open and saw the ground shift beneath me on the upside-down loop the loop turn. It happened so fast that it left me with a mild headrush and that yay! feeling that comes from having faced down a longtime fear successfully. Hoola Loop is a more extreme ride so you can skip Zyclone and move right onto this for a headier rush.

We’d had our fill of roller-coasters so we moved onto an octopus-like ride called Monster. I seem to remember this ride as having maroon-coloured cars. The cars are vaguely heart shaped so that memory can’t be too off (blood and all that). But the cars are now a vivid green-and-yellow and dangle, 4 to an end of a tentacle. There are 6 such tentacles and 2 people can be seated in each car, making it a total of 48 people on each round. The base turns around, spinning the tentacles. Each car also rotates in a smaller circle, thus simulating the earth’s rotation-and-revolution movement. None of us were expecting too much, after our back-to-back roller coaster rides. So we were a little shaken by the slight queasiness that this ride left us with. I think this may have something to do with the speed as well as the slight angle that each car is on. I wouldn’t call this an extreme ride, but if you’ve been on a couple of others, this is definitely not the one you want to relax with.

Spurred on by having been on these rides, we pressed forward onto the mysteriously named Enterprise. This one starts like a merry-go-round. Once it picks up momentum though, a gigantic arm lifts the merry-go-round off the ground into a fully vertical state and now it’s a giant wheel. What’s scary is that the cars are individual cages that hang off the edge of the wheel and so turn over with the movements. You’re actually spinning upside-down when it reaches the giant wheel state. You’re also alone in a cage, unable to cling to your partner or scream to them. What a pleasant surprise it was then, that the ride turned out to be different, quite different from our fears! The cages contain no safety belts and once I was in the ride, I realised why they didn’t need them. Centrifugal force keeps you pinned to your seat and if you’ve anchored your feet well, you stay secure and comfortable. The lift-off that look sudden from the ground, felt smooth and comfortable while actually on the ride. It was a curious sensation, almost like flying. While I wouldn’t rate this one high on the fear factor, it was my favorite ride of the day. Enterprise proves my premise that it’s possible to get a thrill without getting a chill.

Spotted: A mural on the wall behind Prabal the Killer (submarine/ship model)

I’d been dying to get onto Rock n’Roll, mostly because I was intrigued by its bright colours. It also look relatively safe, since there was no lifting off or spinning. Rock n’Roll consists of a series of round boxes, 2 seats to one, fitted in a circle around the base. The base revolves, of course. Each round box also spins in a clockwise manner. That’s the misleading bit. Since you don’t see people flying into air or even catch their fear-torn faces as they get tossed about, you completely discount the fact that you’re going to be hanging upside down and hurtling about in forced cartwheels. Unlike Enterprise, where you’re moving with the motion or above it, Rock n’ Roll throws you against the motion and straps you in your seat to keep you safe. It’s not a comfortable feeling at all. Add to that, I got strapped in too tight, despite my protests. The burly female guard just wouldn’t listen and just barked out a ‘Loose karenge to baad mein aur loose ho jayega!’ at me. All this was compounded by the fact that the ride at 3.5 minutes is longer than any of the others. I spent most of that time, with my eyes screwed shut, forcing breaths from between the strap & the seat, dragging my foot back in as it kept swinging out of the car and trying to keep my hold on the wheel in front of me. When I got down, I felt like my brain had come loose of my skull and I had a headache for the better part of the evening. If you have a sensitive inner ear, respiratory disorders or bony hips, you’re better off not experiencing Rock n’Roll.

After this, you might be surprised to note that I managed to actually get onto another ride. Thunder was next in line and looked like the scariest one to boot. This ride consists of two platforms of seats, fitted at the ends of long arms, which in turn are fitted to a vertical stand. The two arms swing out like pendulums, in opposite directions. You’re seated inside the cage at the end of an arm and the effect is like being on a giant swing. Higher and higher you go with that stomach sinking feeling on your downward journey. All of a sudden, you’ve gone just a tad too high and the pendulum arm has stopped and you realise that you’re hanging upside-down in mid-air. Then tortuously, the arm turns and you’re descending again but your upward journey takes you back to that point of crazy upside-downness. The next round, you think you’re prepared to hang and return. But this time, the pendulum continues its journey and you’ve just made a full circle around! Thunder got rated ‘the ride of the evening!’ by my friends. It was scary to just the right extent and thrilling in equal measure. Also, we were all tickled beyond tolerance but none of us felt queasy at the end of it. This of course, varies from person to person since our ride was delayed in order to clean up someone’s puke from the earlier ride.

It was almost 7pm by this time and we had barely an hour to go. The crowds had thinned out a bit too so we just rushed around. We managed to get in a go on Aeroswinger, which is just a nice, safe merry-go-round with cane chairs at the end of ropes. My friend climbed an almost hidden wall in under a minute at Riki’s Rocking Alley. The boy batted a perfect score in Cricket Zone. We walked around in the intriguingly titled Prabal – The Killer (a model ship/submarine). All three of my friends took a turn on the buckin’ bronco bull, ending up on their backs, each fall funnier than the previous.

And we finally ended with Aqua Dive, a simple enough roller-coaster with just one dive, into a pool of water. My last experiences told me that we’d only have a few drops of water on our sleeves. But on the actual ride, we hit down with a massive splash. And then the car just stopped. We all looked up and as my friend put it,

There was this gigantic cloud-thingy up in the air and it was coming at us!!

We were soaked so thoroughly, a straight dive into the pool would have been slower. This at 8pm on a January evening, when we were at least 2 hours from home! Freezing and giggling, we managed to wring out the worst of it, trudge through the lines (again!) out of Esselworld and onto the ferry. The autorickshaw ride back cost us Rs.80 and none of us were in a position to reason why. This is the kind of day that leaves you wrung dry of energy and filled with satisfaction in a way that work-till-you-drop doesn’t.

My expense tally for the day:

  • Autorickshaw from Borivili station to ferry: Rs.100
  • Ferry ticket (2way): Rs.70
  • Esselworld ticket: Rs.599
  • Gola: Rs.30
  • Cotton candy: Rs.20
  • My share of Dominos pizza lunch: ~Rs.200
  • Cheese toast sandwich: Rs.35
  • Autorickshaw from ferry to Borivali station: Rs.80

That’s a whole day’s entertainment, food & travel for under Rs.1200 a head. Considering the sheer satisfaction & fun I had, it was totally worth it.


EsselWorld Do’s & Don’ts

  • Start early. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is enough to keep you occupied all along.
  • Anticipate crowds everywhere (especially on weekends & holidays) with poor crowd management. Wear comfortable clothes & shoes, don’t carry heavy bags and bring along water.
  • Take Marve (Malad) rather than Borivili if you have a choice.You have to wait longer for the ferry but you’re waiting on a beach as opposed to a filthy, narrow fish market. Also, the ferry ride is longer but it isn’t unpleasant.
  • If you’re in a group, have a person stand in every line. You’re likely to get tickets faster.
  • Once you enter, walk around the park to get a sense of the rides & crowds on each one before getting in line. You’ll save much time & energy that way.
  • Each ticket comes with a map. You will need this so hold onto it. It’ll save you the effort of having to find the nearest hoarding map.
  • The extreme rides are Hoola Loop, Rock n’ Roll, Thunder & Enterprise. If you have milder tastes, you can still do one of these and move on to the other activities.
  • The tamer rides are Zyclone, Monster, Big Apple, Aeroswinger & the rest. Pick these if you specifically do not want to go extreme.
  • Alternate activities like Riki’s Rocking Alley, the bucking bull, Cricket Zone, Prabal the Killer (submarine/ship) don’t see too much crowd but are interesting anyway.
  • Carry an extra set of clothes if you go on Aqua Dive. It really is like falling into a pool. Leave your wallet & mobile phone on the bank before you go.
  • There are plenty of food options ranging from fast food (cotton candy, popcorn, gola) vendors to food courts to a Domino’s. This last is overworked so don’t expect instant delivery.
  • Toilets are well-spaced but not too clean. Carry tissues, hand sanitizer & face towel like I did.
  • There are no vehicles inside Esselworld so it’s quite safe to let kids run around.
  • Cellphone reception is patchy, even though the mobile phone will indicate otherwise. Calls within Esselworld seem to be fine, though.
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