Saturday, October 3, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Uplifting Sarees!

What to do? Sarees and only sarees!

Sep 30, 2015


Once upon a time, we used to look forward to the last day of the month. We called it last working day. It used to be a holiday for the students. We did all the pending work and enjoyed as well. But that was a long long time back. It started with extra classes for X and XII. And one fine day, the mid day meal was started and hence no holiday for any of the students. Now it is a half day for all except class XII. As I teach the same, no break for me. 

Summative Assessments I are going on. It was a no exam day. And no teaching day as well. After a long long time. But.....yes, there is always a was very busy than usual. We have 4400+ girls in our school. Being the Examination In Charge is a big responsibility. I do have a great team who put their best. Pre-planning is very important. That, when the exam is going to be in 50+ rooms. Need I say more? 

My SIL gifted this saree to mom when she was there with them in early 2013. It is earthy pink with greenish blackish pallu and border. It has a checked Ikat pallu. I tried pairing with all kinds of blouses but found plain black goes best with it. My earrings are brass ones from Odisha. 

BTW, we did have a Tikki chaat party. After that stomach infection, I loved eating junk food!

Sep, 29/2015


Just when one thinks all is going well, life has other designs! Of all things, I got a severe stomach infection. I slept half of Saturday and all of Sunday, in between you know what! My mom is there to take care of me but of course she worries....

Being the one in charge of Examination in school, I couldn't take leave on Monday but the worst was over by then. My colleagues were very helpful in dolling out advise! 

I am always wrapped in Maa's love. More so when I drape of her sarees. Today, I picked this off white saree from her Hakoba collection. Like her , I too am a big fan of Hakoba stuff. Paired this with a magenta handloom blouse from Nalli. Put on my Fabindia silver danglers. 

Got a lot of compliments. Also it seems I have inspired a few others to drape sarees. Yay, yay!

Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: More sarees, more stories

I have not done a saree post for sometime now. So today's post is a long one. Bear with me!!!


When one is on her feet for the whole day, the mind stops working after a while because of sheer tiredness. When you try to rest, the body is inert but the mind is jumping all over. Such a vicious cycle.

break it or
wrap it around you
the choice is yours
myriad moods, 
a few unchartered 
yet symbolic 

I chose to forge ahead
rest be sent to sleep

What better way to get around it? By draping a mustard yellow handloom cotton saree with a purple handloom blouse, both from Nalli. Saree was gifted to my mom by my youngest SIL. Now mine. Un-starched. Soft. Body hugging. Blouse is newly tailored. 

Accessorized with Silver danglers from Fab India.What more do I need?


We all have something in our wardrobe which never sees the light of the day. It is a fact that I have many sarees that I have forgotten all about. And suddenly they merge out of the closet. How and why? Because the sarees have decided that they have to worn on that particular day. 

This saree of mine was a gift from my eldest SIL, Sujata Tripathy many years back. It is cotton silk handloom and looks like ikat to me. The purists will tell me more. It is half and half. Seems it has a double pallu. Very unusual. Double shaded with green and brown with a beautiful sheen. I loved it when I got it. I loved it when I draped it today with a brown embroidered khadi blouse. (BTW, I have lost weight and the blouse is loose). 


I and mom decided to go to a Weavers Exhibition in Aga Khan Hall, near Mandi house. I ended up buying more stuff than I wanted.I bought a Kanjeevaram,an Uppada, a Dhakai Jamdaani, an Indigo Chanderi and a bamboo saree. I also bought a few kantha blouses. I would have bought more but mom said I ought leave something for Dussehra/Diwali shopping!!

My mom is very knowledgeable about handloom weaves. She can recognize easily the difference between handloom and powerloom products. I wasn't aware of that! 

I am draping a greyish-mustardish Kargil saree and mom is draping a Passapali. Both new and without fall. I paired with a red Ikat blouse. My mom is draping a Sambalpuri Cotton. 


I don't recall anything about this saree except for that it was gifted by someone. It is from Maharashtra. A black cotton saree with brown checks. The border is bright and look like Silk. It seems to be a handloom as it has those tiny holes and imperfections but I am not sure. I draped it with an off white blouse with golden border on the sleeves. Next time I plan to wear a Kalamkari blouse with it.


It was some 20 years back. I was gifted an orange Organdie saree with shadow work. I loved that saree even though it had a mind of its own. It did not hug my body and stayed away as much it could. 

One day I set my mind to embroider a saree just like that. Bought the material in pinkish purple along with the embroidery threads and made my younger brother sketch the design on the raw saree. I was all set to do heavy thread work. I did the border, the anchal and lost interest half way through. I forced myself to do the coloured motifs so as to make the saree wearable. I even stitched an Sambalpuri Ikat blouse for it. I draped that saree many many times. One fine day, I told my mom to give it away. That was 10 years ago.

Recently, I was looking out for sarees to drape for the pact and mom gave this back to me. She hadn't given it away as she remembered how I had worked hard for it. I fell in love with it again. 

I draped it with a newly stitched Sambalpuri Ikat blouse, coincidentally the same shade as before. I accessorized it with an Amethyst necklace bought from some Emporium. 


I had bought this very light lemon cotton saree with Luknowi shadow work, for my mom some 12 years back. She draped it only once, and gave it back to me. I have draped it on and off. With a different blouse each time.

There is a story behind this saree but that is for my mom to tell, so I will leave it for now.....


A repeat for the pact but totally new in school. I bought this block printed Kalamkari from Nalli. Paired it with a handloom blouse from Andhra Emporium. My accessories are my usual platinum studs/earrings from Tanishq and Silver bangles from Cottage Emporium.

I was also wearing stone studded anklets but those were not visible to anyone.


Garden Vareli orange/rust chiffon with a embroidered Khadi blouse. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

iRead Book Tours: Welcome, Reluctant Stranger! by E Journey

 “In the conventional storyline, I’m supposed to be the one slaying dragons to save you, the princess in distress. So, you see, I feel odd being the rescued.” 

 Welcome, Reluctant Stranger! (Book 3) by E Journey

Book Description:

Frantic flight, peaceful life. Act of treason on an island country. Cauldron of warring emotions. Exotic beauty, ace with a gun. Hunk with gifts for mockery and cooking.

Nine-year-old Leilani and her family mysteriously flee the island country of Costa Mora, leaving her father. Years later, her peaceful solitary life in California ends when she rescues Justin Halverson from thugs and she learns a devastating truth about her father. As she agonizes over her father, Justin comforts her, and they’re drawn closer together.

With Justin, she returns to her birthplace to get her father quietly out. There, she reconnects with her past, but can she forgive her father and accept him for who he is? Can she finally be at peace with who she is? Welcome, Reluctant Stranger interweaves a love story into a tale of past political intrigue and Leilani’s inner journey, accepting her past.   


Such a powerful novel about love, healing and redemption. Leilani's past is always with her even though she leads a fairly peaceful life. She might be helping others but she can't come into terms with who she really is. 

When she rescues Justin from being beaten up, everything comes into head. She knows that she has to face her past to save herself. And goes back to Costa Mora, looking for hr father. JUstin too is a broken man, lost and trying to find himself.

This novel has it all. Political turmoil, inner conflicts, romance and the healing that has to come from within, not from any therapy.

It made a good reading, flowed well and grew into me....

Friday, September 18, 2015

iRead Book Tours: Hello Agnieszka by E Journey

Hello Agnieszka by E Journey

Short Synopsis
A passion for music. Her oldest son’s suicide attempt forces Agnieszka to reveal a past she has kept from her children. A young Agnieszka discovers a passion for music upon hearing her grand-aunt Jola, a concert pianist in Poland, give a recital. Jola hones her talent and feeds her dreams of becoming a concert pianist.
Shattered dreams. But real-world problems, thorny relations with a mother tied to her roots and betrayal by lusty Aunt Jola a shatter her dreams.
A 70s love story. Young Agnieszka finds love that renews her hopes for happiness. Sadly, it ends, cut short by forces outside anyone's control. Sustained by music and memories of her first love, Agnieszka grows and gets a second chance at happiness. 


Many layered writing, filled with emotions, makes for good writing. The characters come out alive on the pages and evoke strong emotions for the reader too. It moves back and forth between present and past effortlessly. Grips the reader with its plot and the pace is good.

Characters are very realistic. Agnieszka is a very strong woman and a mother who can go to any length for her children. The story is replete wit history oof her life and the consequences of that. Such a rich and deep novel.

I loved reading it. It opened my eyes at many levels...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

iRead Book Tours: Hello, My Love by E Journey

This book is a modern slant of a Jane Austen novel. Elise is a law student, bright, beautiful and very focused. She meets Greg in one of the dinner parties thrown by her parents. They keep meeting on and off. Initially Elise keeps her distance but slowly she likes Greg and looks forward to meet him. Greg is engaged but that does not stop him from hankering after Elise.

One year after after their meeting, just two days before his wedding, they end up spending a night together. Lori, his fiancee, is bent on revenge and that tears them apart. They are left questioning themselves, the way they behaved.

They meet again after a couple of years, Greg is as enamored with Elise as before but accident happens. Is it Lori again, who is hell bent on destroying them? 

This book has that suspense element, which keeps us hooked. I liked the way the romance developed, the characters developed. 

 I loved the romance with that right element of whodunit!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wet Silence by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

I am a woman
who can be left in a desert,
and I'll come back smelling of jasmine. 

Title: Wet Silence
Author: Sweta Srivastava Vikram
ISBN: 9781615992560
Publisher: Modern History Press/2015
Pages: 72

A poetry collection that hits hard. Gut wrenching emotions pour forth. How do I review it? Being an Indian, I have heard, seen, felt enough. So close that the mind shuts down. 

Widowhood is a curse even now in many parts of India. She is made to shun all worldly pleasures. She can't attend any auspicious functions. Can't wear colours, can't have certain foods. I have heard it all and more. In my paternal grandma, who was widowed at 18, with a two year old son and carrying another in her womb. And then she lost her second child at 28 years of age. She brought up my dad single-handed, with virtually no support from her so-called family. 

When I was old enough, I could even feel her longings, her deep sadness. Yet I also saw the strength. 

When my dad passed away 13 years ago, I saw my mom reach out for white sarees, and shun certain foods. My brothers and I did not allow it. How could we? 

Sweta Vikram has made the women reach out to us. Somehow it saddened me. Her poetry reaches out. Yet I had mixed feelings. Maybe because it was too close to home. 

Posted for Poetic Book Tours:

Sweta's Video:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Saree posts continued....


In Delhi schools, Independence Day is celebrated on 14th August. We have cultural events lined up for the day. We, teachers make an effort to dress up in the colours of our flag. It is any one colour or all colours of the Tricolour. Our clothes are pre-decided as we repeat the same every year for Republic Day and Independence Day. We all know about who is going to wear what and it does not bother us.

I usually drape a white Kasavu with orange border with a green handloom blouse. No surprises there. 

Keeping that in mind, I repeated one of my sarees of the pact. ( 27/100. It is 100 days, not 100 sarees, right?) It has all the colours of the flag and goes well with the spirit of the week. 

I paired it with the same green handloom blouse and accessorised it with Silver earrings bought from Fabindia yesterday, their Anusuya range. I fell in love with the earrings and had to buy!

BTW, I couldn't watch the programmes as I was very busy otherwise, although I could hear it loud and clear. The photo are taken at the fag end of the school day in a corridor with four of my tricolour hued colleagues....


27 years back, my mom and dad were travelling to Bhubaneswar. The worst happened and all their luggage was stolen despite travelling first class. From Bhubaneshwar, they went to Buguda by bus, my dad's native place, where my grandmother lived. (She refused to live in Delhi permanently with us). 

Now, not having any clothes, except for the ones they were wearing, they had no other option except for buying clothes from shops near the bus stand. 

My mom bought two simple sarees, printed cotton ones. She draped one saree only once and the other one disintegrated after many drapings. (She bought more sarees in the ensuing days)

Today I draped that remaining saree, bought near the bus stand. I found it in her wardrobe, while sorting through it, on Sunday. I told her to give it away as both of us preferred Sambalpuris or other handlooms nowadays. Last night I was looking for a saree to drape and I don't know what made me look at it. I picked it up and decided to drape it. It is very soft to touch and easy to drape.

Today in the morning, I changed my blouse thrice as the previous two did not suit the saree. This off white blouse with gold border in the sleeves was a perfect match. BTW, the blouse was a plain one. My mom stitched the gold border on the sleeves. 

My colleagues are used to seeing me draping sarees and don't say much. However, today many came and told me what a beautiful saree!

Needless to say, this saree will not be given away.


A few saree pacters chose Saturday for the National Handloom Day meet for Delhi. It was a very humid day but commitment is commitment, right? And Dilli Haat, INA is a great venue. I invited a colleague of mine, Sushila Gupta and she accepted. She is not a part of the pact but as she drapes sarees all the time, I thought it was only apt to invite her. 

We really enjoyed. Shopping was not in our agenda although a few did shop. We browsed around. Fooled around. And got ourselves photographed by a lady who was impressed to see us in sarees. Except for one more female, we were the only ones in sarees. 

The best part is, we all gelled. I know Ritu from my school days. I loved meeting Alka Selot AsthanaRema Srinivas Kamath and the ultimate child, Radhika Rathi. All were in handloom sarees.

I draped a pista grey-green cotton Bomkai with maroon border and anchal. It is another one from my mom's collection. I paired it with a handloom blouse from Nalli. Accessories. ....Pearl jhumkis from FABINDIA and a silver filigree bracelet gifted by my mom....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Monday Mailbox: Posting after so long

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. It has finally found a permanent  home at Mailbox Monday with the following new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit
Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach

I have received a lot of books but haven't done a mailbox post for so long. I am posting only the print copies I received in the past two weeks or so. 

I received the following in my mailbox, thanks to publicists/Authors:

 Hello, My Love! (Book 1) by E Journey:

Beyond broad shoulders and heaving bosoms.

This thoughtful woman’s romance novel explores the inner life (thoughts, hopes, and doubts) of a couple as they contend with the realities of compelling relationships.

A modern-day pastiche of Jane Austen novels. Elise is a bright, beautiful law student, focused on a career and distrustful of men. She butts heads with Greg at her parents’ dinner parties. Dark, good-looking, internet-business owner, he finds Elise intriguing, so unlike the dark-haired seductive beauties he used to escort around. 

Specter of revenge. Unable to deny their attraction for each other, they spend an unexpected night together two days before he is to wed someone else. Lori, the jilted fiancée, exacts revenge, tearing Greg and Elise apart and forcing them to face who they are and what they really want.

An accident. Older and wiser, Greg and Else reunite two years later. He is in for a surprise. Later, their lives are thrown again into disarray when Elise becomes the victim of a hit-and-run. Is Lori back to haunt them again?

A delicious romance with a literary slant, spiced with a twist of whodunit.

Hello, Agnieszka! (Book 2) by E Journey:

A raw tale of early love, rivalry and betrayal. Her oldest son’s suicide attempt shocks the Halversons and forces Agnieszka to reveal a past she has kept from her children. 

Passion for music. Hearing her talented, irrepressible grandaunt Jola, a concert pianist in Poland, give a piano recital, young Agnieszka discovers a passion for music. Jola hones her talent and feeds her dreams.

Shattered dreams. Real-world problems, thorny relations with a mother tied to her roots and betrayal by Jola shatter her dreams.

A 70s love story. Agnieszka falls in love, but fate deals her first love a death blow. She rises from the losses she has suffered and gets a second chance at happiness.

A mother’s youthful dreams thwarted and renewed, amidst the exciting promise of the 70s.

 Welcome, Reluctant Stranger! (Book 3) by E Journey:

Frantic flight, peaceful life. Act of treason on an island country. Cauldron of warring emotions. Exotic beauty, ace with a gun. Hunk with gifts for mockery and cooking.

Nine-year-old Leilani and her family mysteriously flee the island country of Costa Mora, leaving her father. Years later, her peaceful solitary life in California ends when she rescues Justin Halverson from thugs and she learns a devastating truth about her father. As she agonizes over her father, Justin comforts her, and they’re drawn closer together.

With Justin, she returns to her birthplace to get her father quietly out. There, she reconnects with her past, but can she forgive her father and accept him for who he is? Can she finally be at peace with who she is? Welcome, Reluctant Stranger interweaves a love story into a tale of past political intrigue and Leilani’s inner journey, accepting her past.    

About the author:

E Journey is a realist who thinks she has little imagination. Credit that to her training (Ph. D., University of Illinois) and work in mental health, writing for academics and bureaucrats, and critiquing the work of others. She’s been striving ever since to think and write like normal people.

She’s a well-traveled flâneuse—a female observer-wanderer—who watches, observes, listens. And writes. A sucker for happy endings, she finds enough that depresses her about real life, but seeks no catharsis by writing about it. For her, writing is escape, entertainment. She doesn’t strive to enlighten. Not deliberately. But the bias of her old profession does carry over into her writing. So, instead of broad shoulders and heaving bosoms, she goes into protagonists' thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to reach balance and grow.

A cluster of 7½ literary short stories presenting the romantic-sexual facets of: Narain who lusts for Munika, Old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia, Jackie who is in love with Nic, a surgeon who is changing more than a patient s hairline, nose, lip, and chin, Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing, a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation, and Sunil who meets the woman of his desires through an adult dating site. Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal unrelationship that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.

Brutal is the debut novel of Uday Satpathy. Two ace journalists—Prakash and Seema stir up a hornet's nest as they chase the story of a schoolteacher who murders 11 of his students. Their pursuit of the truth takes them to the ominous forests of Bandhavgarh where an eerily similar incident had occurred 8 years ago. One by one, their leads end up dead and they soon realise that they're pitted against forces more evil and powerful than they could have ever imagined.

Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India. The book raises concern about the treatment of widowed women by society; lends their stories a voice; shares their unheard tales about marriage; reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy; and, addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives. It’s a collection of poems that covers a myriad of subjects centered on social evils such as misogyny, infidelity, gender inequality, and celibacy amongst other things. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. The collection will haunt you.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Celebrated Handloom week with Handloom Sarees


National Handloom Day, August 7, 2015

This saree belongs to my mom and is a much draped one. A Sambalpuri with floral patterns and paisleys and temple border not so common. I think most of the "not so usual" Sambalpuris we have, are due to my second mamaji. Whenever my mom visited Cuttack, and wanted to shop, he used to take her to all those shops which kept only exclusive stuff. She used to buy two, for herself and me. And my mamaji also gifted a saree or two. Now, no one remembers if mom bought this saree or was gifted. I have always loved her in it and got to drape it today for the first time.

Paired it with a printed maroon blouse. There are tiny multi coloured hearts all over the blouse. What else, but pearl earrings!

One great saree to celebrate the National Handloom Day...

August 6, 2015


I had bought this saree some 20 years back from the Exhibition in C R Park. It is a very soft cotton, batik print. I had draped it a few times.

My saree is NOT handloom but my embroidered Khadi blouse is! Counting it towards a handloom wear leading up to August 7.

A few years ago, I told mom to give it away along with a few others as I was not going to drape sarees any more. My mom being mom, knows me better that I do myself. She simply kept those sarees away from my eyes. When I started this pact, she quietly returned the "give away" to my wardrobe!

Mix and matched with a Khadi blouse. My mom is a wizard, she fixed that blouse such that it fits me again after many many years....

Aug 5, 2015


This Beige-Pista shade cotton handloom saree belongs to my mom. It is a Dhakai saree and was gifted to mom by her younger sister. It has booties all over and anchal is very pretty. I have eyed this saree for a while now and finally got around draping it. 

Paired it with an Andhra handloom blue ikat blouse. 

Photo credit: Pooja Dhamija / Sushma Mahajan

August 4, 2015


My saree is a Coimbatore cotton characterised by the typical 'plain body , relatively small borders and rich heavy thread worked pallu' . The saree is finer than its Kanjivaram or Chettinad sisters , as its woven in finer count yarns . The motifs are achieved using slightly heavier yarn to get that raised dobby effect .. 

It belongs to my mom. But it is a handloom. The aanchal and the border are very good. I find the colour very soothing. One thing that I noticed today that the patli portion has lines. The body has booties all over. 

Blouse is handloom from another saree. And jhumkis bought from local market.

Photo credit: One of my students

Aug 3, 2015


I visited Bangalore in August 2013 to celebrate my eldest brother's birthday and Rakshabandhan. I and my SIL used to go shopping everyday of my stay. At that time, I had a saree phobia and was into casuals only. I did not buy any saree for myself but we bought sarees for my mom. 

My mom is into cotton handlooms and drapes only unstarched sarees. (I have inherited that particular trait). My SIL bought two sarees from Tamilnadu Emporium. A Madras check and another one with tiny checks. Both in different shades of green.

I am draping that Madras check saree with another of my khadi blouses. As I woke up late, I had no time to accessorize. The rings you see in the pictures are my daily wear. I never take them off.