Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers

During recent travels, I was visiting relatives in Honavar, Karnataka – a sleepy coastal town south of Kumta (see google map below). I had stopped by a family store to add money to my pre-paid cell phone. There, this older gentleman was weaving these delicate pink buds called jaaii-che kaLo. These buds only sprout after the monsoon rains (June – August), have a delicate fragrance and are highly sought after during the festival season in July-September. It was a simple, yet mesmerizingly beautiful weave and he agreed to let me record it on my flip video. Continue reading “Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers”

THIS is a Saree

A bit dated, but saw this recently on a forward.

Arun Shanbhag Silk Saree

Chennai Silks, India has woven the world’s costliest silk saree worth Rs. 40 lakhs (96,000 USD). The weavers incorporated gold thread as well as precious stones into the saree. Not only will it lighten the wallet, wearing the 8 kg saree (17.6 lbs) may cause the wearer to lose weight.

The exceptionally stunning sari is woven with 12 precious stones including diamonds, ruby, emeralds, yellow sapphire, topaz, pearls and corals. Gold, platinum and silver threads are used in the weave and together with the gems depict 11 of Raja Ravi Varma’s popular paintings. Woven on the “pallu” is ‘Lady Musicians’, one of Ravi Varma’s famous works paying tribute to women of diverse cultural backgrounds. It took 30 weavers, seven months to make the saree.

This Reuters video has more images and details of the saree (Reuters)

I am thankful that during M’s saree shopping binge in Chennai, we did not come across this saree!

Meeting LJers

Pictures of LJers Radhika, Vijay Basrur and Deepa George at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag
In Mumbai, I met three wonderful LJers. Deepa organized the details and along with Basrya, met at Trishna – the seafood place in Fort Mumbai. It was such a thrill to see folks that I had only commented with. Finally putting faces to all the posts. By just reading her posts and her comments, I surmised Deepa would be a vivacious bundle of energy. She was all that and more. She is beautiful too and has the warmest smile. Everyone should have a friend like Basrya. You quickly realize he knows more people than you can imagine and his cell phone rings constantly. Their warm welcome put me at ease, and very soon we were chatting away like if we had know each other for ages. Continue reading “Meeting LJers”

Of Diamonds, Mehndi and the Girls Who Deserve it All

Of Diamonds, Mehndi and the Girls Who Deserve it All Arun Shanbhag
As I daydream of the foods to gorge on in Mumbai, M interjects my reverie – she needs a small diamond cluster earring. But you already have a beautiful pair, I remind, as if any woman can actually forget the glittering rocks they have. Those are too big; for work everyday I prefer something smaller. I wish she was a food gourmet, it’s less expensive.

And so, we’ll put together our list of things to get in India. Jewelry, salwar khameez and other dresses for her. Eating out, books and music for me.

One thing is certain, a day before we return, one of my cousin sisters will organize a mehndi session. They usually ask a talented lady to come home, and after dinner all my cousin sisters, sister-in-laws, nieces and whoever, get their hands decorated. Whenever I poke my head in, its a treat to see all the girls treat themselves in such a collective manner, joking with each other, giggling and sharing in the camaraderie. As one gets her left hand decorated, with her right hand she designs anothers. And so a whole chain of young women, little girls at heart, helping each other amidst a squealing cacophony. With both their hands covered with mehndi, they also relax knowing they wouldn’t be called to bring water, or make chai, or other silly things for the menfolk. I only wish such joys visit them always, and for the rest of their lives. For they who make our lives worth living, what are a few diamonds!

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