Browsing Tag

accessory

Accessories, bracelet, Ghalib Nazm, Mirza Ghalib

Yearning’s Of A greedy heart.

April 22, 2019
MoodyMo

Love me like no other will. Behold me like no other will. In my madness give me my sanity. When you see my undone hair, falling over my face and shoulders. Don’t push it back to see my wrinkles instead herald the sun-kissed shadows of shame on the years that have gone by. Those who have made me feel lesser for wanting more out of my life.

Yes, I was happy. When I caught you admire the gap between my breasts while I was bending to pick your thrown dirty sock over your used shoes on the side. I didn’t know you were admiring my still retained remains of youth and also your invisible iron chains around me. You knew my degrees were a mere conversation starter. Because the min I would get excited and get drawn to explain my passion for Wordsworth or Tagore. You would cut me short to explain about the next merger in the world of conglomerates and corporates. I would stop midway in my track and admire your intelligence. Felt proud that I was yours.

In the moments that would follow. You would lovingly gaze at me and ask me if I wanted another glass of wine. But it was an unspoken rule that I can’t get drunk on wine. Everything measured like your speech and my emotions.

MoodyMo

MoodyMo

The ladies around me came up to me and told me. He is so madly in love with you. I had learnt to fight my tear in the corner of my eyes. Because if it was love. How could you not let me finish my love for that mid sentence of Wordsworth. You knew most of my days were with the house help planning the next meal at home. My world was you. When the call from my best friend from New York came. I heard her with glee. She was the bureau head of NYTimes. But after I hung up I recalled the distinction I got in English and art.

I got into my big car silently and put on my headphones to listen to Farida Khanum sing “Aaj Jane ki Zid Nah Karo”. I felt a lump in my throat because I recalled the lost lanes of my youth. Where the sun was shining bright. My heart knew I would be a writer someday. It felt like a distant dream. I knew I must be gracious in accepting the big car, the servants, the large empty balcony and my everyday ritual of drinking tea in a china cup with organic leaves, brewed at the right temperature. But I yearned the kulhar chai with the passion of doing something in life and saying bye to my besties to meet again tomorrow. But I was not maybe gracious after all. To be happy with all the material possessions and yearn for more and more. More love, more art, more freedom.

MoodyMo

MoodyMo

I was touched by a poem of Mirza Ghalib that loosely translated as. There are so many desires in my heart, each desire a stab of pain. So much I desired in life yet so little…….

I wear the bracelet around my wrists and it says Haazaron Khwahishe Aisi….the rest of the Ghalib Nazm in my heart. I don’t say it out loud, lest others hear my cries of lament. I keep that nazm in my heart and smile at people around me. Because my secret is with me in my songs, poetry and my art. Till there is cinema, music, art and craft. I will strive to open the Pandora’s box searching for my alter ego in all of them.

Accessories, Indian Fashion, Nagaland Jewellery

The Warriors Of Nagaland And Their Jewellery

April 12, 2019
Moody Mo

As I once again take familiar steps into the known terrain of the North Eastern hills of India, I realise having grown up among the Khasi and Jaintia hill folk. It has taught me to differentiate between the various tribes living in that untouched pristine terrain of flora and fauna. Each of them beautifully different from one another. The traditional clothing and jewellery are unique to each tribe.

The organic home loom weaves, is sure to leave you spellbound with its richness. The colours and motifs each different from the other. The northeastern women are slender with a clear complexion, high cheekbones and straight long hair. Among them, the  Naga women are especially the prettiest. Aware of their warrior genetics, there is an unspoken strength of the battles they have won over the years. The athletic gait and the clear skin with a bit of freckles makes them the sexiest among the other gorgeous North Eastern tribes.

Moody Mo

Moody Mo

As I grew up, I longingly looked at the Naga older women and admired the way they wore their shawl and jewellery. The wrap skirt around the waist with fitted blouses and the chunky bead necklace was like a eulogy of their past lore and the struggle of their today. Wanting to be recognised and not misunderstood is what each Naga strives for. I for one was always quietly, furtively staring at Lalrempui, my Naga classmate. She embodied her free sexuality and strength combined with beauty all around her persona.

Loreto socials were the day where you see the difference between the wealthy and the not wealthy school girls. The sharp divide was so palpable to my young mind. The Khasis, Mizos, Naga girls wore knee-length boots with kilt skirts and floral blouses with sweaters. The Bengali and Assamese girls were more traditional in their dressing. The forever living in fear Bengali girls were mostly unfashionable near the fashionable Naga girls in school.

I was the Bengali girl with oily hair and a skirt that had a folded hem that was unfolded for a few years, till you stop growing up. To my mother’s relief, I didn’t grow too tall. So her opening up the stitch and stitching it again got less tedious as the years passed.  I wanted those boots and the wrap skirt that would flaunt my hips and small teenage waist. But Ma wouldn’t allow. She liked me in polo sweaters with skirts or dresses that were always below my knees.

As I grew up and moved out of the North East, I had forgotten the fashion sensibilities that had shaped me up. But some things have a way of returning. As I visited Assam last year, I found myself in this little store with Mekhala Chadors and the Naga necklace. I was excited about the collection as I  tried each of the colours of beaded necklaces.

I picked up three of them. The brown Naga necklace is one of my favourites. It reminds me of the days when I wanted this but didn’t have the means to buy it. Today, I have gratitude for keeping the memory of the feisty Lalrempui with me. She got caught for running into the boys’ hostel one night and the entire school spoke in whispers about her. I listened to them all, but I saw the proud, gorgeous Lalrempui walk unabashed in her stride like the true Naga queen that she was.

 

Accessories, Amruta Dongray, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, jewellery, Rajasthan

Amruta Dongray’s Abundance Of Amrud

April 5, 2019
Moody Mo

I was navigating my path ahead with trepidation. I knew all along nothing about this relationship was okay. It was a narcissistic, mind-numbing experience. It always a game of who won that was beginning to tire me out. I was staring ahead into the unknown. Fear of ending relationships stopped me from saying my final goodbye. It’s easier to have two evenings of toxicity than have the rest of your life being alone on weekends and watching everyone having such a full life on social media.

During one of those evenings, after a fight and with a tear at the corner of my eye, I met Amruta Dongray. She is feisty and mellow, it was a rare combination to find in people. I was drawn to her infectious laughter and a huge sense of relief to meet confident women, who embody faith and grace. We got talking and she told me she had bid her farewell to Bombay to be in Bangalore. And she started her brand of jewellery called Amrud, The Abundant You. We rummaged through her collection and I was drawn to a  pair of earrings that had a moonstone embedded in its beauty.

She told me her story. The inspiration for the earring was the Jharoka and the utensils in her Maharashtrian home. The style is a mix of western sensibilities infused with an Indian essence.

Moody Mo

Moody Mo

I couldn’t help but look back at the jharoka and its existence since medieval times. This overhanging enclosed balcony is used in the architecture of Rajasthan. It is also an Indo-Islamic architecture. It served the purpose of women to see the outside world without being seen themselves.

It’s a secret world of women, where they admire the people without them knowing. You can create your own stories.

Amrud’s earrings are an ode to those hidden stories of the women behind purdah. They are the lost shadows that run against the silhouette of dusk and dawn. We just see those shadows like X-ray films. The rib cage clear against the light. The heart with blood and breath are hidden away from most others.

Lady of Jharoka urges you to say your goodbyes when the time is right. To overstay is toxic and the vision gets altered of self and the other. My earrings have a gold polish that catches the jalli reflections of light and shade.

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Gender, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Lifestyle, Tradition

Try To Tie Me Down And Fail Forever

March 29, 2019
Moody Mo

The hand that rocks the cradle also rules the world. Women have balanced this multitasking job since time immemorial. I looked back at the muscular smiles that mocked my femininity. Telling me oh stop! It’s not easy for a girl like you to do what you are seeking out to do. I smiled like I did, remembering the cold blue night of my loneliness and knew that this fight will go a long way ahead in time. When we are allowed to express without our own also judging us or choking our voices with their opinions.

I found Ashwini Oza another soul just like me, expressing her creative energy with her jewellery brand Arnav. I loved the necklace she has created. Her inspiration was a tie. Which mostly men wear or tie down women in submission. I was hooked on to this style statement as I held the tie silver necklace with dye motifs and an owl pendant.

My mind was raging with the imagery of my mother praying every Thursday to Goddess Lakshmi whose carrier was the beautiful white owl.

Moody Mo

Moody Mo

I understood even religious texts uphold the fairer owl as auspicious, unlike the darker owl. Dark is demonic and dark isn’t considered attractive. So many years of subjugation. Women are guilty for being dark, infertile, free-spirited or not towing the line. It isn’t a pretty sight at all for the patriarchal rules of society, when women who dare to walk out of line, are condemned as crazy.

I wore my tie necklace over my bare shoulders and I knew the light from the coloured glass pane was reflecting on my collarbone. I was waiting to be admired. I realised how we seek validation of self from the eyes of another. Never delving within to seek the source of our strength.

I decided I won’t wear my tie necklace in front & as he came in. I pushed my tie necklace behind my back. I knew my spine felt the weight of the necklace fall carelessly behind me. I moved my hair to turn and look. He barely speaks much. He just sighed and said wow!

As I bend down to strap on my sandals. I saw him staring into my face and he looked straight towards me. I knew he was tied down forever. He won’t forget this evening. It was the falling of dusk and my conditioned patriarchal moral values. All created by human beings who are frightened, of the hand that rocks the cradle and also rules his world. He felt vulnerable and I was sure, I wasn’t getting tied down ever again with the weight of his expectations from me. 

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition

A Classic Called The Angarakha

March 18, 2019
Moody Mo

When you feel vulnerable and think that you may lose your soul to this crazy thing called life. You protect yourself by listening to music that heals, or you indulge yourself till the thoughts are dimmed and what stays is the feeling that the universe is protecting you with compassion. As I listened to music, I tightened my Angarakha strings over my breasts, protecting my heart from more pain. The pain which I wish to forget and not go down that road again.  I have always been fascinated with the clothing from the Mughal era. It has the Ishq of a bygone era of opulence and craft. One such clothing is the Angaraksha also called the Angarakha, the other name is Jama.

The word is derived from the Sanskrit word “Angarakhsaka” which means protection of the body. It has over the years seen many variations on the ramp. The long and short of this shirt dates back to the 16th century Emperor Akbar. The first King who had the vision of uniting India on religion and culture. His clothes were a reflection of both the rich cultures, in the fusion of Indian dressing.

I recall falling in love with this garment since my school days. Watching Merchant Ivory’s Heat And Dust, and the white cotton unisex Angarakhas. It falls over your body, hugging the contours. You may loosen or tighten it based on the mood of the moment.

I recall the time I wore my first Chikankari Angarakha for my first date. I remember how he stared at my first flush of youth. Covered from prying eyes, yet revealed exactly what promise lay inside. A girl child blooming into a woman. He too was young, unsure of his ability to love and be confident of self.

An Angarakha to me is one of the sexiest garment created since time immemorial. It covers yet it reveals, exactly how style should be. It is an amalgamation of our experiences, of finding our own divinity among all the beautiful and ugly experiences we have gathered over the years. We are gatherers of stories, of our own lives and others experiences who visit this space in our lifetime.

Sonam Dubal captures my imagination of the fluidity of this garment in its totality.  I am drawn to his aesthetic as a designer. Drawing my experiences from the past to the present me. The little mirror work on the edges catches the light of the sun and reflects in my heart and soul.

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Tradition

Desires Cut Into The Fabric Of Love

March 14, 2019
Moody Mo

My love for good things began very early on. To the utter horror of my middle-class parents, they were worried I wouldn’t ever settle for the mediocre. A factory outfit never made me feel my best, it had to be a bespoke outfit. After much thought and pondering would my tailor add the Kutch mirror work patch or the lace to give my mundane outfit its edge, and make it my statement. The aim was always adding an Indian sensibility over my denim or the check-patterned Kilt.

With this undying need to be always surrounded by beautiful things, it surely was a constant struggle with my limited income. I had that discerning eye for all good things, including my male friends. I wasn’t exactly generous at that choice, but he needed to have more than just good looks to keep my interest going. Most times, I was disappointed so I decided to put my energy into clothing that saluted an art form of India. As usual, most things had to be a cut above the rest. Being raised as a Bengali in Delhi, you are forever struggling between the two identities that you can’t fathom when which one takes over. The constant struggle of being a quintessential Bengali with the cacophony of the Peacock Punjabi. It surely was a sure shot path to schizophrenia. But my love for Rajasthan and it’s arts and crafts is a constant. Till date, it remains a passion that needs regular acknowledgement. Every week four times at least, I wear a Bandhini or a Sanganer print over my jeans, that size hasn’t remained constant. I recall the small store in the early days of fashion-hungry Bangalore at Commercial Street which had RJP, Rohit Bal, Anita Dongre and few more well-known designers. RJP always stole my heart with his fine cotton and minimalist design sensibility.

RJP is famous for his pintuck kurtas and remarkable indigos. I had to attend an elite function at Bombay; a very important second wedding of a friend. I had to look the part, so I choose this black cutwork kurta over a white crinkled skirt to wear for one of the evenings. It was my first Rajesh Pratap Singh ensemble. Cutwork is typically a technique where you cut the fabric, resulting in holes, which is reinforced with embroidery or needle lace. It originates in Italy and is called Punto Tagliato. Renaissance was the period of new things and cutwork began in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. And even in the fashion world of today, cutwork is very much prevalent and is also called lace. The hand cutwork is one of the most traditional forms of this art.

As a child, I still recall the sari petticoats that were dried in the sun with cutwork on its edges. Our home linen had cutwork on them. So cutwork was a natural draw to my senses. Senses that were carved from nostalgia and memory. RJP cutwork kurta makes me feel sensual without baring much. The arms on one side have the cutwork that reaches up to my shoulder blades. It fits like a dream and black makes me feel sexy, desirable and shapely. In spite of the PMS bingeing, black is so forgiving. Just like how a gentleman should be. Most women over time stop listening to the voice of their bodies and the need to be cherished. Just as we are flawed or perfect. Because beauty is a factory idea, created by the advertising lobby. Real women have fat and bad moods.

Like great love stories where there is passion, romance and my favourite word called Ishq.RJP with his signature pintuck kurtas and this cutwork design makes me crave for the moonlight on my shoulder blades and my lover finding spaces to kiss away my loneliness between the neatly cut fabric. Exposing just that much and more.

 

 

 

Suffrage Movement 1848 To Continued Women Empowerment 2019

No Chains Can Chain Me No Cage Can Capture Me

March 7, 2019
Moody Mo

I just switched off the pause button inside my head. The unbridled thoughts of years came gushing out like river that been halted midway in its mad flow. The big wall that stopped the gushing of the clear stream was an unspoken need for acceptance and acknowledgement from sources outside my being.

Recognition of the being was the toughest part of this shift in my journey of knowing myself. The fear and the thoughts were numerous of others but myself. Forgetting self as a woman was easier than acknowledging my hunger of spiritual connections from my circle of life. The friends, the spouse, the child and each and everyone who tried to calm my tornado of emotions. They were unaware of how I was dying a slow death from inside. Walking the line and pleasing others everytime. They tried to tie my mouth, tie my hands but couldn’t tie my wild heart and soul. It was raging to break free from my rib cage. Suddenly it was this utmost hunger for freedom. I no longer wanted to ask for permission for my thoughts. Even your thoughts are conditioned. I struggle with this inner voice where success and productivity is measured with a monthly salary. It been years since I earned. And the truth is my sense of identity arises from what I do as a professional. All social gatherings I am asked the same stupid question by “so called” educated emancipated individuals, What do I do for a living?

I draw a blank there. I was nurturing a home and a child and feeling the stretch marks on my tummy. I knew I had a journey in that texture. I in a dim voice said. “I was looking after home and child.”

Fashion Blogger

Fashion Blogger

Most lost interest in speaking to me. Then to bring attention of myself. I spoke about the past.

Now when I tell them I write a blog. They ask but that’s just a hobby? Hey no! I write because I am hoping someday some artists get recognition. And my words touch your soul. It’s more than a hobby. This is my zen.

Most things I found at the dusk of my life. The people of the past ,connections and conversations were lifeless like the dead butterfly before it could turn into dust.

Have you seen a dead butterfly lying listless on the flower? It came searching for the nectar at its most toughest, slowest flight from life. And like the listless butterfly It was a mirage that I surged towards. Knowing well the fireflies would die in the lies of the flickering flame that was so inviting. It was forbidden and like the firefly I was just gravitating towards the death of the old me.

I just found my place under the sun, spreading my wings and not confined to the closet, where my emotions and speech is no longer measured with patriarchal society rules. I will break the stereotypes as I surge ahead. My place is not next to your shoes. It is in my boots that will march unhindered, unstoppable like the storm brewing in my heart and the untamed seas.

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition, Travel

Revival Of Leather Crafts From Calcutta

December 20, 2018
Leather Handbag

Passing by the closed leather tannery in Calcutta, my heart sinks for the closed factories and the character of the distinctly Chinese settlement of Tangra on my way to the airport. I could feel the memory of the odour of leather permeating my senses & into my nostrils. The odour of the past when I lived in Calcutta. I saw buildings close to each other and large sheets of weathered leather being tanned. I often thought what would become of the finished leather. Would India ever be able to compete with the international standard of coveted world-class products. I know India has all the raw material but the lacks the endorsements it requires to create a product that the world would desire to pay the price it deserves.

Nostalgia is my companion, it keeps me warm on days I feel I the cold around my soul like a companion you nurture over the years. This transaction that life has to offer in our companionships, was always my gnawing thought of how life happens and your concept of relationships change over time. I realised that some inanimate things remain our companions forever. I love the Spanish term Kompanero which is a companion. So when I look back at the friendships I lost, my things that didn’t stay the same. A thought occurred to me about how some daily accessories are like a comfort pill in our lives. I never leave home without saying bye to my dog and my handbag. This is my kompanero. It holds my hidden notes of the fragility of my relationships. My lipstick, my book, my money and my other knick-knacks for the day.

My head is filled with so many jumbled up memories of the city I left years back. I suddenly realised I had time before catching my flight and sit in the Calcutta airport to catch my connecting flight back home. As I passed the stores and men sitting and sipping beer with a familiar bonhomie. My eyes were hooked to a store inside the cacophony of aeroplanes taking off and landing.

Leather Handbag

Leather Handbag

I saw the term Kompanero written in bold on a store. I was automatically moving towards the entrance to be greeted by a gentle Bengali salesman. He didn’t push to buy and I was relieved. I searched every rack and loved them all.

Suddenly there was this brand of bags in India, it was international in its style and extremely good quality leather. I had found my eyes blazing on every rack. The salesman told me that they have 50,000 sq ft of space in Calcutta, where they produce these bags. The local craftsman is being employed to sustain this culture in Bengal. It is intricate the work. The leather has a distinct distressed look and is created to perfection.

I sighed as I held one of the absolute gorgeous craftsmanship in my hand and felt the softness of the leather and its subtle branding that wasn’t shouting out loud but was absolutely done to perfection. I didn’t want to check the price tag and was pleasantly surprised at the cost. It was competitive without being too pricey. I pulled out my card, did the payment and was proud to have my Kompanero on my shoulder. I didn’t pack it in its cloth bag but emptied out the contents from my bag into my Kompanero.

It gets attention every time I carry it around. The fashionable lunching ladies ask me which international brand is this bag? While feeling the leather and discreetly trying to read the brand.

I smile and tell them. It’s my companion and it’s called Kompanero. It started in Bangalore and now is found all over Europe and in UK too. And yes it is made in India.

Look no further, you have so many brands in India with the excellence a connoisseur would search in their wine or cheese. Kompanero is superbly stylish and crafted to perfection. Your bag is your secret holder. Stuff in your ego inside your bag and carry it over your shoulder or across your tummy. It will always add and not reduce. I love it with all my heart and soul, my Kompanero, my companion forever.

 

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition

Ornate Combs And More….

November 21, 2018
Ornate Combs

My late grandmother who I lovingly called Dida, had thick long hair even at the age of 88. She combed her hair with a wooden comb that my grandfather had gifted her as a bride. She often would sit in the Delhi soft winter sun after a bath and request me to comb her hair. I enjoyed this ritual of running the fine-toothed comb through her almost now grey long tresses. It was a bonding moment for us. It was also the time when I heard her stories of the past. And tried imagining her and my grandfather’s plight of marrying this doe-eyed beauty. He was always on his toes with her demands for perfumed oils and hair accessories.

She is no more but her memories are etched into that little space of my mind. I recall Dida using the corner of the comb to fill her parting with vermillion we call sindoor. Over time, that comb has become a part of my memories of her. Today, it lies desolate on my mirror shelf with the last tooth that still achingly holds on to just a slight ember of that red. She stopped using that comb over time and graduated to the plastic combs that were available easily.

Ornate Combs

Ornate Combs

But in the collection of her beauty products she had an array of different combs. She had filigree combs and the ivory ones. The comb story goes back to early civilizations where beauty and valor would be equated with tresses. If you have studied in an Irish run missionary school, you would know the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson’s life was in his locks. And, until it was cut off, he was the strongest man alive.

In the same way, from Egyptian civilization excavation, archeologists have found combs made from ivory, bones, and wood. They are ornamental and have designs and filigree work on them. Losing a comb is considered an evil omen. In many cultures, during a wedding, the husband gifts his wife a comb.

Many art collectors have an array of combs of the past. Those vintage fine-toothed combs are used to comb out the lice in long hair. The large toothed ones are used to untangle the messy mane.

Dida is no more but her comb stays as a reminder of her resilience when she saw her son die before her and her husband who loved her so dearly also leave her, to soak in her fortitude of pain and sorrow.

I knew when I sat behind her and opened her long tresses to comb it during her later years. I could hear her sigh. And that sigh was like a surrendering to the impermanence of this thing called forever.

She taught me to love and immerse myself in that untouched little corner of your heart where lies the wonder of all things happening and things that are about to happen. She stayed mum for a week when her son passed away. But after a week she told me to sit beside her and comb her hair, while she sang to her favorite lord. She sang that the day has passed and dusk has fallen, it’s time for her to cross over from this life to the afterlife, where her weary heart can’t take this arduous journey anymore.

I still choke on those words when I recall her gentle voice against the setting sun and that desolate comb lying still and listless on my mirror shelf. The red ember has vanished now but I know that this will remain part of my collection forever.

I too would gift a young bride, a vintage comb to unravel her tresses to this longing called love and life.

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Tradition

The Conch Shell Bangle

September 3, 2018
The Conch Shell Bangle

Childhood memories stay like a sepia film entrenched into your being like it never left. You grow up and move away from all the nitty gritty of the childhood jigsaw puzzle. Some of that puzzle you can fit into the missing pieces and some of them you keep searching. When I close my eyes I recall the dusk at home and my neighbours home, where mashi which is the Bengali term for aunty. Adjusts her saree and at dusk blows the conch with the terracotta incense filling into my every nerve and fiber and I watch in amazement. Her petite hands adorned with the sanka and pola. Which are the conch shell bangle and the Coral bangle which is the pola. She wore it forever. Her hands caught the light of the Diya burning into the darkness of her puja room and it felt surreal to watch that.

I never saw my MA wear that bangle.  Whenever I asked her she told me it’s too difficult to wear so much paraphernalia to prove your marital status. I found it sad. Because to me, it was just so much craftsmanship to create that thin bangle with filigree work to me was so much detailing that it drew me to watch with fascination how they create this absolute craftsmanship on something out of the sea.

Just the colour combination of red with white is appealing in so many ways to my sensibilities that have been shaped up with life experiences.
Today you find many types of the sanka bangle. Some are inlaid with gold filigree work with leaves and diamond shaped gold motifs. It’s like a trip into all things ethereal and artistic. These days I am not cowered by the idea of teaming my sanka with only my saree’s. I wear my sanka with my western wear like any traditional bangle and I can promise you that it adds so much to the entire look.
 
This craft of creating such minute designs on the conch shell bangles need to be elevated from just another languishing traditional art form.
Let’s embrace this with a large heart and while we buy this we know we are adding another lifespan to the creators of this craft.

So I have decided that I will gift my friends married or single this bangle the next festive season as an appreciation of its beauty and an ode to my Bengali culture that makes me the person I am today.