Archive for August, 2009

white_rosesThough I don’t believe in God I am always fascinated by how believers expiate their sins. I remember in high school, meeting this girl whose father was a quarry owner. The family used to mine blue metal (jalli) off Tambaram. He of course had to grease a lot of palms, including those of policemen and labour inspectors, to ensure that work at his quarry went uninterrupted. Since he felt guilty about his profession, the family was every year hauled off to Tirupati where they would either shave their head (the men) or cut their hair (the women) en masse. Of course he would continue his business once he came back to Chennai, but he obviously felt much better after settling his account with God for that fiscal. My friend of course didn’t like getting her waist-length lovely wavy hair chopped off to shoulder-length.

Then there is another lawyer I know who engages in all kinds of nefarious activities at Madras High Court. But everyday he feeds a beggar during lunch time (nothing paltry – a full meal from the Saravana Bhavan there). His logic? “Well I am only engaged in this horrid business. I don’t want my sins to descend on my children. So we have to do something madam. If we do something for someone only can we hope to get a little puniyam.”

So what are your ethics?

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I heart “Simply Natural” by Catherine. I love her blog and am a regular reader! Most interior design blogs are very consumerist in nature. But on Simply Natural you will find a love for antiques, a love for natural products and a love for people! She’s anti-consumerist in nature and her photos of how she celebrated Christmas  are amazing for their simplicity and style.

Catherine says: “When I was 14 I swapped to a smaller bedroom because I fell in love with a magazine article about small bedroom style….and so begun a lifelong passion for interior decorating. I live in Adelaide, Australia with my young son and I pour my creative energy into my home. I have a love for all things pure and simple, natural and textured…think white, wood, seashells and cane. I want to share the things I love with fellow lovers of pure and simple decor style”

(Below a handmade Christmas ornament by Catherine)


I love how her bedroom looks. Definetly has a “Zen” like quality to it. Its also so clutter free and amazingly soothing.  I love colour – lots and lots of it, but her blog is now converting me to her love of nuetrals. When I was first browsing through her blog, I was just looking at the pictures (Hadn’t caught on that she was a great writer as well) and thought this picture of her bedroom was a shot of a five-star hotel. Looks picture perfect, doesn’t it?


Check out the antique Chinese screen above the bed – so bold and dramatic. Her love of all things Asian is something I can relate to. I love bamboo, wood and brass antiques and furniture. There something so ethnic, earthy and fairy-tale like about antique items – legacies from the past. Her collection of antiques makes me want more for more.


And like her I love plantation shutters. I studied in Madras Christian College, built by Scottish missionaries more than 150 years ago. Most of the doors are plantation doors, huge in height and girth. I remember that some of the plantation shutter doors in the Chemistry lab were over 10 feet tall. The lab attendants had to use stools to reach up and close the bolts on those doors. Some of the windows also had plantation shutters. We had cathedral-like huge ceilings; our voices used to echo during classes and professors didn’t really have to strain to make themselves heard. And since my mother works for the government, everytime she got transferred we got to stay in those huge, lovely bungalows typical of Indo-sarcanic architecture. I love large houses with large, airy windows, tiled roofs, sprawling lawns, long verandahs – the picture would be complete with a few dogs, cats and some birds (not caged). Seeing Catherine’s pictures brings all those memories back, as economy has now dictated that I live in a cramped apartment in busy Nungambakkam. (Below a picture from her lovely blog. Doesn’t it remind you of the ambience created in Hey Ram?)


This is another (below) great picture from her blog. Look closely into the mirror – see that elegant, scroll-type wall hanging? Well that is another architectural piece that Catherine managed to salvage and use in her home.


I was also pleasantly suprised to read  a movie review of Practical Magic on her blog. And like most people obsessed with decor, it was the gorgeous  interiors she was reviewing! I have also found myself distracted by the interiors in movies – like in the case of Mozhi I found the movie a dead bore, but the interiors were great. While the heroine’s red and purple bedroom was too colorful and jared my senses, the hero’s black n’ white colour coordinated apartment was both classic and sophisticated at the same time. Isn’t there something so chic about plain black & white? My recent discovery of Black & White bliss fulfills my need for eye-candy in that direction.


And then the love for metallic objects. Catherine says: “can’t even explain why I love it so. I guess I just like the contrast of hard and soft, and metal objects often have quite strong, simple, architectural lines which appeal to my eye. Even the colours of metals – browns, greys, silvers, blacks – steal my heart. And there’s a utilitarian honesty about metal – it’s as much as home in a workshop or garage as it is in the living room.”

I love silver! I love all things metallic and my athai has gifted me a few silver tumblers and some brass lamps to satisfy that earning.  So going through Catherine’s blog is quite therpautic in nature.


(Love roses as you can see from my blog header and numerous posts)


But most of all her blog is so human. Having been a bit of a problem child myself, I can empathise with what her son is going through at school. Blogs somehow make things so personal. Even though I have never corresponded with her personally, I found myself daily checking her blog to read about her son’s progress. And also I love her approach to life! so fun! so full of zest!

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