Sunday, September 2, 2012

India Cheap and Best

I was recently asked to  list some of my favorite things about India.  The editor at Marie Claire ran seven of the ten things I listed. Here's the un-edited version. 
Delhi at night
is expansive; under cover of dark the silent and the acquiescent break into laughter, housewives still dressed in day time drabbery show off faces painted for the night; trees breathe and so do people.

Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain revived this lost art of storytelling, introducing children and adults from Bangalore to Simla to tales of valour, trickery and magic, reminding us meanwhile of the beauty that is Urdu.

A paper twist of hot roasted moonphali in Delhi and kappalandi in Kerala. Wherever you are, if it is cold outside, this is how you warm yourself on the inside.

Even if your kids never get a decent education, one that values them for who they are, teaching them thus to value themselves, you can always read excellent thinking about education in the pages of Mindfields, a quarterly journal put together by Amruta Patil and Luke Haokap.

Queer Café
The best open mic in Delhi, maybe in all of India. Once a year at the Attic and brought to you by Nigah.

Pink Chaddi
Because we all have one and we all know a sexist politician who needs one mailed to him; do size up to cover the recipient’s big ass.

Relatively affordable ayurvedic skincare. Don’t let the ugly green plastic containers fool you. What’s inside may not vanquish your adult acne (nothing ever will) but it will negotiate a peace treaty with terms that are favourable to you.

Bucket baths
It’s good for the environment and good for the pocketbook and only a little bit uncomfortable, and did I mention good for the environment?

Muslin saris from Soma. With only a dozen prints to choose from you don’t have to contend with the boggle your mind Nalli effect. And muslin or mulmul is heaven for the bungling amateur you are. Just wear it low on the hips. The disarray elsewhere will be read as artful. The only way to look more elegant is to opt for vintage from the little shop next to Yodakin bookstore in Hauz Khas village. Yes, by vintage we mean that it used to belong to someone who is now dead, but it’s also Kashmiri silk, scrunches down to the size of a tennis ball, opens out without a wrinkle, and wraps you in grace.

Gauri Gill
Because her photography raises those questions you’ve been asking yourself, but by raising them in an unfamiliar language she makes them compelling all over again.

1 comment:

  1. delhi at nights: yes. especially in winters.
    dastangoi: oh yes!
    groundnuts: always. and winter's coming :)
    mindfields: looking to subscribe for my 'academic' girlfriend
    queer cafe: looking forward to the next edition
    pink chaddhi: well, i'll rather send a baniyan instead :D
    biotique: agreed
    bucket baths: totally!!!
    gauri gill: will explore more of her work

    good collection of 'citymarks' this

    and will make it a point to visit the vintage sari shop next to Yodakin, needed something out of the ordinary for the woman i mentioned above :)

    thanks for the list Mridula.

    -a 'dilli' lover