A Spring Affair

a spring affair

  “A little madness in the spring Is wholesome even for the king…”   True that. Emily Dickinson’s advice aside, the onset of this pretty season is reason enough to shed our serious airs for a while and smell the roses. Quite literally. All of February, forget roses, I barely paused to smell the coffee […]

Sangam Notes

sangam notes

Two thousand years ago, the world witnessed a unique and remarkable flowering of literature in the Tamil country. Known as the Sangam period, it was considered to be the golden period of Tamil literature. Poetry of this period was broadly classified into Akam  (that which dealt with the inside: human emotions) and Puram (that which […]


Jahanara - a concept note

In 1644, in Agra, a solitary event changed the life of Shahzadi Jahanara Begam, eldest and favourite daughter to the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. On a quiet, moonlit night, in the silvery shadows of a luminous tomb being built in the memory of her dead mother, the princess in a cloud of perfumed silk was […]

A fab kind of love

The fabric of our lives

I fell in love in 1997. Ilford house on Woods Road in Madras, on a damp November afternoon, provided the perfect setting. I’d sauntered down the cobbled road that branched off the famous Mount Road. It led to an ancient stone and plaster building that had been restored without any loss to its old crumbly […]

Song of the South

Sungudi tunic and Chettinad palazzo,Mantra

Colour-obsessed as I am, it was so easy to run amok in the ‘city of jasmines’ – the enigmatic temple town of Madurai. Designed like the petals of a lotus, its interconnected streets bump into one other at quadrangles, with all of them leading to one of the temple gates. This is a city where […]

Seven teas to remember!

Vintage grace, Shalini James' Mantra

“If Bergamot be yours, then chamomile is mine…” Every so often to my surprise, the revolutionary sentiments behind ‘Indian by choice’ turn to serve as a throwback to our Raj past. There is the designer’s angst within me to straddle the two – the cause and the consequence – in my design sensibilities. So before […]