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Remember to Embrace Your Roots with Alta

Remember to Embrace Your Roots with Alta

A Symbol of Beauty and Tradition.

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In the tapestry of Indian culture, there are threads that weave together stories of tradition, beauty, and significance and passed down through generations. Among these is Alta, a symbol of beauty, tradition, and heritage. As a woman deeply connected to my Indian roots, when I sat down to write about Alta, my mind wanders back to the vibrant memories of my childhood, where this traditional red dye played a significant role in our family tradition.

Growing up amidst the bustling lanes of Banaras, I was fortunate to witness firsthand the profound bond between Alta and the women in my family. I remember, before every puja or auspicious occasion, my Nani would summon a skilled lady to apply Alta and I used to watch in awe as the lady carefully applied Alta to everyone’s feet, her fingers gracefully tracing intricate patterns, each stroke infused with beauty and reverence. In those moments, Alta wasn't just a pigment; it was a ritual, a symbol of femininity, and a bond that connected us to our ancestors.

Reflecting on my childhood, I am filled with nostalgic memories of Alta's presence in my family. to the feet of all the women, including us kids. Though as a child, I may have found the colorful feet a bit bothersome, today, I cherish those moments as precious reminders of our cultural heritage and familial bonds. I realized that Alta held deeper significance beyond its aesthetic appeal. It is not just as a cosmetic pigment but as a symbol of defiance against cultural erosion.

In Odisha, during the Mithun Sanakranti celebration, Alta takes on a special role, signifying the celebration of womanhood and menstruation. The act of applying Alta to one's feet becomes a powerful symbol of fertility and auspiciousness, connecting women to their cultural heritage in a deeply profound way. This tradition resonates with me on a personal level, as it celebrates the beauty and strength of womanhood in a society often marked by taboos and misconceptions.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life the vibrant hues of our cultural heritage were overshadowed by the monotony of Western influence, a red color liquid made from Ratanjot reminded me to embrace the kaleidoscope of colors that make up my Indian heritage. Alta became a bridge that connected me to my heritage, reminding me of the strength and resilience of generations before me. With each stroke of the brush, I found myself reconnecting not only with my roots but also with a sense of identity and belonging that transcended generations. Whether it was during festivals like Durga Puja or weddings adorned with Alta, each brushstroke carried with it a sense of belonging and pride in my cultural identity.

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A Beach Day in Saree : Kosataga

A Beach Day in Saree : Kosataga

Here’s a not so regular day at a UK beach :P

After 6+ months of lockdown in the UK, this World Ocean Day, I finally stepped out! Never have I been more grateful for the bliss of nature :’)

Standing by the shore, amidst the magical blues of Sunderland, I soaked it all in. It was just me, the vast expanse (and well my husband behind the camera :P)

But that day, I truly experienced what it means to seize the day!

I ditched my beachwear, and draped myself in the elegance of a gorgeous royal blue Banarasi saree.

I felt like an artist, painting the beach with the rich language of Banarasi culture. 

The waves came running to me, whispering the magnificent tales of their journey, while the light breeze giggled, frolicking with my pallu. 

My beautiful memories from that day remain etched in the sand forever :’)

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Pause, for yourself and the planet!

Pause, for yourself and the planet!

This World Environment Day got me thinking. 

Most of the comparatively unsustainable choices I’ve ever made have been triggered by fast living. Where I wanted things instantly, because of the daily hustle bustle.

Social media I feel is a big part of fast living. I’m sure like me, many of you must be struggling with screen time.

I mean we all know the digital world is addictive, and tap after tap we end up spending hours consuming information.

I’ve been consciously trying to get back to slow living now. I have started allocating time for my online interaction and every moment I feel like picking my phone for random scrolling, I stop.

Instead, I pick a book or cook something. I meditate or go out for a walk.

This one day I literally paused and decided to take a day off. 

I switched off my phone, draped my favourite saree,  

ditched heels for the ultimate comfort and opened the gateway to a slow morning!

I headed to a serene park and just explored. Have you ever felt the texture of leaves, it’s a calming feeling!

I sat in the park and spent time with myself. Random strolling replaced random scrolling, thoughtful sketching took over mindless tapping.

Amidst the vast field of inspiration, I sat quietly and poured my heart out.

I was absorbed. Taking it all in! 

 
When I was indoors, and the lockdown had increased my screen time, I tried to pick a hobby like crochet designing. It’s really difficult in the beginning to consciously reduce your online time, but it gets much better with time.

Until I forced myself to divert my mind to other activities, I was constantly in a loop where I would feel sad about the digital world taking over me.

I realised I was just trying to fill every moment with some content. When I’m cooking, I don’t need to run any sitcoms in the background. When I’m reading, I don’t need to have just one glance on my phone for a few seconds. Now, I am making an effort to not fill every second in between tasks with my phone.

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Banarasi girl’s lockdown cooking in Silk saree

Banarasi girl’s lockdown cooking in Silk saree

Yes, I dressed up in a pure handcrafted Muga silk saree to cook! (and yes I was scared about spoiling it too)

But where there’s a pandemic, there’s lockdown madness!

My friends and family are back in India and seeing the cases break records every day, I am constantly worried about their well being. 

The pandemic was taking over me and I finally decided to SHUT the news, dressed up in one of my favourite silk sarees and spent some quality time with Aditya while cooking together.


Can’t escape reality but I felt it’s very important to preserve my mind too.. Small pleasures of life and did a lot to uplift my mood :’)

Plus, these days we find it so difficult to carry on our business. To post or not to post on social media is a big battle and we wish we could take a break till things settle but the truth is we also have to pay salaries to our artisans and employees.

As a small business, stopping operations is not an option for us. Yes we’re working in limited capacity for some time, while taking all the safety precautions and in fact it’s the work that keeps us sane from constant overthinking.

Draping myself in silk sarees and spending time with loved ones are my go to stress-busters. What are the simple ways in which you relax?

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Banaras, an eternal emotion

Banaras, an eternal emotion

The rich Banarasi tradition and folklore, is not a mere inscription in stone, it’s an emotion that can be seen and felt. It’s a living legend.

The Banarasi way of life is a life of satisfaction. It’s the state of ultimate santosh (contentment) with whatever little one has. Varanasi-Kashi-Banaras is eternal and so is its rich folklore and fables.

It’s the land where life is a joy ride and death is a celebration. It’s a land where the river Ganga reflects the glorious sunrise and dances to the tune of Banarasi Bhairavi and Thumri. It’s the land of rich handloom, a land which gave India its literary heritage.

 It’s the land where little joys of life are present in abundance and tears of sorrow ashed away in the holy water of river Ganga. It’s a place where paan becomes a piece of culinary art. It’s a place where having seen enough is never enough. It’s mystical, it’s the land of eternal bliss, where every day is a new discovery

Considered to be the oldest living city in the world,older than the oldest, Banaras exudes the energy of a child.

As Dr. Bhanu Shanker Mehta beautifully introduces Banaras, “Every particle and pebble (called Paras and Shiva respectively) of this city welcomes you. Here, every drum reverberates with the sacred mantra, Atithi Devo Bhava (guest is god).”

The city with many facets of life, is known by various names, each name rooted in a history of its own.

Popularly known as Kashi, the one that enlightens, it’s a luminous city where people flock from all over the world for spiritual enlightenment.



One of the Jataka-tales of Buddhists, refers to the city as Sudarshana— the good looking, and preaches the philosophy, “may your eyes see only the good”. The tales also call it Surandhana— the well protected one, a city where God protects you from all the sorrows and sufferings of the world.



Another name for Banaras is Pushpavati, the city of flowers. This name carries with itself the spectacular beauty of Banaras in spring. It’s a carnival of nature, where the guests are welcomed with Chaiti, a splendid bed of roses.

It’s the Avimukta Dham, a place that Lord Shiva (lord of the universe) never forsakes. As the legend goes, Banaras is situated on the trident of Lord Shiva and is different from all the three worlds.

It is known as Ramma Nagar by the Jataka tales, a city where everything is charming and surrounded by merriment.

The famous poet Bedhab-Banarasi once said,

“I will not leave Varanasi where you get Langra mangoes when alive, and Ganga water after death.”

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