December 12, 2012

Bangalore Flower Market

Wholesale markets have always fascinated me. The huge stocking, the clutter around, the availability of the unimaginable, the rock bottom prices – it’s an ecosystem that has an uncommon beauty to it. And no matter which part of India you are in, it doesn’t change much.

As if I had not seen enough flowers, I was itching to visit the Bangalore flower market, which would be my first wholesale market visit in this city. We chose Ugadi, the Karnataka New Year, as the day. This would either mean that we were in for a treat OR that we would be swarmed by the crowd. Add to it the warnings we got from friends - don’t argue if don’t know the local language, don’t wear any jewellery, beware of pick pocketers and the likes. Nonetheless, we decided to go.

We reached around 8 am and the market was already bustling with activity. As soon as we entered, we could smell fresh veggies. There were veggies everywhere – incredibly fresh and oh-so-interestingly arranged.

Visiting local bazaars opens up a whole new world for you. Not to forget, it’s a great study in buying patterns too. Interestingly, India is known for micro-sales. So when I saw the mini packets of garam masala, I wasn’t surprised. Fit for daily use, these packets are especially for buyers who don’t like to stock too much. Just enough is just right.

A little ahead we got to the heart of the flower market. I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Multi coloured vermillion, spices and clothes– I loved every bit of it.

And then came the main attraction – the flowers. Garlands, loose flowers, gajras – they were in numbers I had never seen before. The sellers were attracting buyers with the best prices, rolling out streams and streams of fragrant garlands and briskly weaving some new without batting an eyelid.

But that wasn't all. Every corner was full of surprises.

Like the man who said the cow ‘talked’ to him.

Or the one, who oblivious to the chaos, was reading the morning news.

We saw gems of indigenous organizational skills 

And a world of exotic colour and fragrances

I was, once again, amazed to see how these bazaars effortless bind together modernity and yesteryears’ charm. There’s a constant push to keep up with the times on one hand, and a seemingly untouched and unchanged way of living on the other.

Suddenly all clutter looked beautiful

and even what I couldn’t decipher, began to enchant.


July 17, 2012

Flower power

When I first landed in Bangalore (almost a year ago), one of the many things that struck me (apart from the beautiful weather and the bad traffic) was the sheer number of flowers around. From embracing vehicles to adorning women’s tresses to creating a neat colourful border on either side of the road – there were flowers everywhere.



Every season, a new variety of flowers would bloom. On one of the Bangalore walks (another post that’s pending), I learnt that the Britishers had thoughtfully planted these trees so that no season would be without flowers, thus lending the city great cosmetic value. And they were so right. Walking around the neighbourhood and travelling to places proved to be sheer eye candy. Bright yellows, pretty lilacs and cotton candy pinks took turns in welcoming me on my way to office. 

Frequenting temples became a joyful experience. And the flower show clearly stole the show.

My indulgence with flowers grew. I began to buy the mogra malas for the small temple at home. After the trip to the temple in the neighbourhood, I’d even pin the flower the panditji gave, in my hair (like others did). And the house would never be without some pretty stems on the table.


 It’s been over a year in Bangalore. 3 flower shows, 2 spring seasons and several visits to the temple – the beauty of the ‘garden city’ has grown over me.


A trip to the Bangalore flower market is pending since long and I know that I’m going to be smitten by the sheer number of flowers there.

PS: I finally made it to the flower market. More about it in another post :)

March 21, 2012

DIY weekend

A lazy Saturday afternoon, great ideas doing the rounds in my head and some lovely music to accompany - a perfect setting for a craft project that has been pending since long.

So I get the object I’ve planned to work on. It’s a grater. Yes, a grater! The paints and brushes finally get to step out of the cupboard and all arrangements made, I get down to business.

Getting my hands dirty in paints always leaves me feeling happy. The neck strains, the back aches as I try to paint the little corners of the grater, but nothing seems to bother me while I’m absorbed in that moment.

Finally, the humble grater gets metamorphosed into an objet d’art.

But the purpose of painting it all pretty was something else. Those who know me well know about my huge collection of earrings and how I’m always on the lookout for a nice jewellery box for all those lovely pieces. So to make my morning looking-for-the-earring-pair ritual easier and add a kitsch angle to the boring jewellery box, this was my solution.


P.S. Use an old paint brush as the sharpness of the grater can easily spoil the brush bristles.

P.P.S. Try going for an aluminum base as it’s much easier to paint.

P.P.P.S: Acrylic colours can easily stain the clothes so be careful. Else feel sorry about spoiling your favourite pyjama, like I did.

February 22, 2012

What's cooking?

Food holds a special place in everyone’s life - not only in the methods in which it is prepared but also the ways in which it is consumed. A table shared with friends energises and anchors relationships. A humble meal with folks revives memories. When we share tables, we effortlessly share a part of ourselves that chooses to stay latent otherwise.

Lately, I have begun to believe, there is no better way to connect than through the medium of food. Gatherings, no matter how small, infuse a spirit of warmth in you. Food ceases to be food and becomes a catalyst to connect, share stories and soak in laughter.

Food is all about sharing time with family and friends – at home, in restaurants, at work. We really spend quality time and linger over meals. The value of these gatherings is not in the quality of food, the flowers or any decorations as much as it is about the time spent together in eating and enjoying these things.

“Talk becomes more honest and more personal; the words mirror the spirit of the food served. Hearty, warm dishes lead to talk of things that affect the soul: love, loss, sickness, and success”
- Forging Family by Saer Richards

Gastronomy, then, is as much of a pleasure as an art. It can be shared, offered, discussed –in flavours, colours, images and words. The culinary canvas is as much a means of self-expression as a way of entertainment. To say the least, food is the common denominator that pulls us together and stimulates conversation.

There’s something about sitting together and sharing a meal. It’s the most natural approach to entertaining. It’s a healthy reminder to appreciate the friends we have and the times we gather. But more importantly, it’s a reminder to share our tables more often, to open our doors and our hearts.