Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is common knowledge now about how I love featuring entrepreneurs on SHP. Today, I bring to you two such awesome women- Alicia Souza and Shubhra Chadda and of course, lurking in the background- the anonymous benefactor Darth Vader.

Chumbak started four years ago (and died to be re-ignited earlier this year) as an idea in Shubhra's mind to create India inspired fridge magnets. And then she met illustrator extraordinare, Alicia Souza and...... do you think I'm going to use the clichéd "The rest is history!"? Think again! Well, Shubhra and Alicia went their separate ways, rather separate countries- Alicia moved to Australia. They re-connected a few years later and finally Chumbaki was born.

I'm going to start the peek into Chumbak's fun products with Alicia and Shubhra's first love: Chumbak fridge magnets. And unlike most other 'India inspired' products, Chumbak's stuff is priced very reasonably.

Fridge magnets too banal for you? How about a tin of Indian flavoured chocolates then? Supari, Coconut, Garam Masala and Ginger! I would buy those just for that colourful fun tin!

Here is a peek into some of Chumbak's loot. Look at how far A & S have come from fridge magnets! So, the loot includes- Boxer Shorts, Posters, Keychains, Tees, Bookmarks, Luggage tags, Notebooks, Postcards, Charms, Coasters, Mousepads, Mugs, Piggy Banks, Playing cards and even Hadmade soap! Phew!

My first glance at Chumbak's webstore and 'Travel pens' caught my eye. Whazzat? City guides in a pen. These travel pens have banners inside them, giving you a quick "Lonely Planet Lite" information on each city- What to eat, where to go, what to buy.  Quite unique isn't it? Way to go girls!

Visit Chumbak's online store to buy their fun products. Or you can find them on Facebook here.

Suggested reading:

Story of Shubhra and Alicia's struggles as an entrepreneur on their blog: The joys and sorrows of a startup.

How it all began- I think this inspires aspiring entrepreneurs to keep trying at it, even if it is a 4 year journey like Chumbak's was.

Alicia's wonderful illustrations on her blog.

Sound Horn Please for these inspiring women!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Namaste: Good Morning Monday!

Namaste! How did your thanksgiving go? I had a wonderful time in Boston with some wonderful food and some wonderful company. Food, some good company, a positive bank balance and I'm a happy person.

As I promised in my earlier post here is another peek into my home. My painted rock was inspired by Geninne. Have you checked out her wonderful blog? If you haven't, you are missing out on how fascinating  painted birds could actually end up being!

Also Peacocks & Paisleys, PreeOccupied and Indya Kaleidoscope are all hosting wonderful giveaways. Do drop in and try your luck at winning them!

Stay tuned this week for another one of SHP's trademark features. Here is wishing you a wonderful wonderful week ahead!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On a trip to one of my favourite stores

Warning: This is going to be a picture and word heavy post. Read at your own peril ;)

SHP's previous post on 'Pop Goes The Art' was chosen by BlogAdda as a part of it's Tangy Tuesday series. You can read all about it here. It was a wonderful email to wake up to. Thanks BlogAdda for choosing Sound Horn Please! Honoured!

A friend of a blogger friend recently emailed, asking me to recommend stores in NY to buy Indian decor items. Well, I thought to myself why not take all of you on a tour of one my most favourite Indian stores in New York?

Yes! Yes! You ARE reading it right! The name board is in Hindi! And it made me stop in my tracks and walk in. Beti, it's the only one in Manhattan to have one, the owner proudly proclaimed. And then began my romance....

Let me take you on a tour.....

Bhartiya Vasthra Bhandar is not your usual posh Manhattan boutique with accented voices smoothly telling you the history behind 'the piece'. You walk in and its a warehouse choc-a-bloc with colourful stuff, making you take a few deep breaths to decide where to start from. None of the products make you go- 'Errr.. maybe a trip home to buy this would be cheaper'.

Bottom right- That's a desi double horn  and its definitely on my 'To Buy List'. With Sound Horn Please as a blog, how can I not? Those light switches brought on a wave of nostalgia.

The cameras below hit right on my soft spot for antiques <sigh>
 Buddhas, Buddhas and more Buddhas! Drool!

I know you must be wondering what I've brought back from the store over my many trips.... So, here is a peek!

I'm thinking of spray painting the lantern red.. Yes? No? And that's my all black bookcase that got a little bit of my brushwork to add some zing!

Here's my favourite- My antique brass paan daan!On my next trip to India, I hope to add my paan daan's South Indian sister- the equally beautiful rectangular brass vethalai petti.

I've had a few emails asking me to post photos of my home. So, here is a tiny peek. I don't usually burden my lovely porcelain elephants with the heavy brass paan daan, they stand tall for their mahouts- my tealight candles.

All of the above images have been clicked by me. Please do not copy. Email me if you want to post it elsewhere on the internet and they are yours :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pop Goes the Art: Nidhi Chopra

 Ever thought of breaking out of that boring 9-5 job and making it on your own someday? Well, Nidhi Chopra, then Karnavat, did exactly that. Armed with a graduate degree in Mass Media and a pop art painting she had made as a gift, Nidhi started 'Pop Goes The Art'. And take a look at how far she has come!

Send PGTA a photo of yourself or a loved one and you get a hand painted canvas a la Andy Warhol!

... Or hand painted personalized clocks 

Like the previous SHP post on 500 BC, here are some more kitschy bags! How dreamy is Madhubala?

These gorgeous laptop desks makes the prospect of spending long hours working on the laptop easier to bear.

How about some colourful cushion covers? I loved the colourful one on the evolution of means of transport and then given my Buddha fetish, of course the Buddha!

Love Indian kitsch? Here are some printed wall clocks. Don't you love the 2nd one? It doesn't have the usual images that we see everywhere defining what Indian kitsch is...

Loved all the eye candy? Hop on to Pop Goes The Art's website or Facebook page if you want to place an order or enquire about prices.

I'm leaving you with some lovely PGTA boxes, as a peek into tomorrow's post on my box fetish. Check back in tomorrow! The Lakshmi boxes are PGTA's latest Diwali launch. Order while still in stock!

{Photos credit to: Pop Goes The Art}

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Ikat Deluge!

Remember my weekend in Boston? A trip down Newbury street, Boston's 5th avenue, Ikat assailed me from every display window. Every boutique had Ikat winking at me on a dress, on a cushion, on plates. I come back home and hit the treadmill and opened Elle Decor to be overwhelmed by ads for Ikat rugs and curtains.
 Clockwise from top left: Brunschwig & Fils- silk & cotton fabrics, Gucci butterfly print silk dress, Silk lampshades by Sloane, Urban Outfitters Indigo Chair, Madeline Weinrib cushion covers, Distant Boutique's Vintage Uzbek teapot, Anthropolgie bowls and Gail DeLoach capiz-shell bowl.
{Photo credit for 2010 Elle Decor pictures go to Geoffrey Sokol}

I even saw Ikat cushion covers at Target a few months ago. You know what they say about trends, its no longer haute couture if you see it in your chain stores. Well, take a walk down Manhattan's 5th avenue and Juicy Couture, Gucci, Diane Von Furstenberg et al have all gone Ikat.

Clockwise from top left: Madeline Weinrib velvet cushion covers, ABC Carpet Silk Ethos Rug, Ceylon et Cie Louis XV Style Silk-cotton Armchair, Charlotte Moss Rug for Stark Carpets, Diane Von Furstenberg's famous jersey wrap dress in Ikat, Madeline Weinrib's Silk Ikat clutches and Diane Von Furstenberg's Ikat Kindle cover for Amazon.

Elle Decor wrote an article in '2008' on the Ikat trend alert! Some images from the article below. Though not a fan of wallpapers, I loved the Ilkat wallpaper.

{Photos credit to Elle Decor 2008}

Though I love Ikat to death, it has been a serious Ikat overkill don't you think?

Aarohi Singh: Bangalore Exhibition

Aarohi doesn't need any introduction, but for those of you might have not  paid attention to the desi kitsch wave in the Indian art scene, Aarohi is on top of that wave- riding high! I woke up this morning to the email that she is having an exhibition in Bangalore and regret that I couldn't attend filled my usually happy Friday :(

So instead, I'm writing this post. SHP's B'lore readers, please do go take a peek at her colourful hand-painted baltis, kettles, center tables and trunks and take some home. And for those of you in Madras, B'lore is a 3 hour train ride and its a trip worth making! Details below!

The hot pink of the poster should give you an indication of what's in store for you ;)

For more details of the exhibition and to take a look at Aarohi's unique artwork visit her blog, Art by Aarohi.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coyote Silver: Dipika Vijay

After 2 laptop crashes, a bout of flu and a crazy rush to fulfill Diwali orders, I present to you- Coyote Silver! Phew!

Dipika Vijay graduated from India's prestigious design school, National Institute of Design (NID) with a graduate degree in 'Lifestyle Accessory Design'. Her entrepreneurial journey started when she wore a self-designed gold neckpiece to a party and was inundated with compliments. All you aspiring designers reading this blog, most designers featured here at SHP write to me with similar stories- so own anything handmade? Flaunt it- never know on where that might lead you ;)

Dipika creates stunning gold and silver jewellery under the label 'Coyote Silver'. She sums up Coyote Silver with the words 'Flamboyant'  'Swank'   'Natkhat'   'Haba Haba'   'Wearable Art'  'Chutzpah'  'Cooler-than-thou'. Now, let me show you that the adjectives are definitely not euphemisms!

My favourite metal- Silver!

Did you know that the Latin root for Gold is Aurum meaning 'Shining Dawn'?
Love LOVE love those Jali design earrings! Don't you?

And if you still have a Diwali hangover, check out these lovely Ganesh diyas? Aren't they the right mix of tradition and modern to celebrate Diwali with?

And, if you are thinking of putting Dipika in a neat box labelled 'Jewellery Designer'... Think again! She also loves working with acrylic. Here are some of her fun coasters!

As I know a lot of you reading this blog have a thing for lotuses and Buddhas, I hope you are drooling.

Dipika also makes gorgeous stirrers, hair pins, trivets (do check out the Roti, Garam Subzi ones) and place mats. You can find them on her blog here. For prices, you can email her at coyote[dot]dipika[at]gmail[dot]com.

I have my eye (rather can't take my eyes off!) one of Dipika's lovelies- Should I? Or shouldn't I?

{Image credit to Dipika Vijay/ Coyote Silver}

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bollywood Cushions: Urban Barn

So many many times I've looked at kitschy cushion covers from some of the talented South Asians I've featured or drooled at similar features on other blogs and sighed wondering why owning one required me to either pay prohibitively for shipping or even worse wait for my next India trip to cart them back *Sigh*

So, you can understand my delight when I found these lovely Bollywood/India themed ones at Urban Barn. which is geographically at least slightly more gettable!

How about some really innovative ones made from jute rice bags? They made me think twice about throwing my rice bags out! I heart everything re-purpose-able and recyclable.

 And of course, these are 'Made in India' and carted here ;)

{Image credit for all products to Urban Barn}

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

India's own Wax Museum

Sorry, for being away for so long- I was down with a bout of seasonal flu :( Hope it was a great diwali for all of you- I was unable to do any diwali posts thanks to the flu. But, I'm going to go drool over the diwali pics of my fave bloggers right after this post :)

London, Paris and New York might have their Madame Tussauds, but we have our own 'Siddhagiri Gramjivan Wax Museum'! I was pleasantly surprised to discover its existence. It is located in Kaneri; near Kolhapur, Maharashtra. The museum showcases scenes of village life, and take a look at it yourself to see what a fantastic job they've done!

Definite drool over that basket of bangles

Village Panchayat


Basket weavers

Don't you agree that its a fantastic job? Do visit the Museum's website for images and if in India- directions to get there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Funk: Anisha Tolani and Roopa Udeshi

Anisha Tolani wrote to me a few weeks ago saying she wanted to surprise her business/creative partner Roopa Udeshi here at SHP. Awww... How could I refuse?!

So here goes....

Anisha and Roopa were batchmates at University and decided to go into partnership to start FUNK- an outlet for their creativity. Anisha paints canvas shoes and braids ear phones and Roopa decorates clutches, laptops and nails (and even the odd umbrella!) As we all know how difficult it is to strike out on our own, kudos to Roopa and Anisha on starting FUNK...

Some of the results of their collaboration-

Like their stuff? Hop onto their Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MORA: Ritika Mittal

This is a post that I couldn't wait to write and so I moved it all the way up my post queue!

MORA's birth began with its founder Ritika Mittal's wedding- It is a lovely long story that I'm trying to get shorten and still keep its wow factor in fact. Ritika wanted to wear cotton or mulmul sarees for her wedding (much to her mother's horror- I can imagine this!) as she was tired of the 'The same bling and borders, the same copied cuts and yokes, lacking in ingenuity altogether!' Ritika's obstinacy paid off and she prevailed. Her wedding sarees turned out gorgeously beautiful (I've seen the photos- the 2 adjectives are absolutely necessary to describe them!) And out of this and a rickshaw ride and a phonecall for sale of 8 sarees was born MORA.

 Ritika gave up her full time job and turned entrepreneurial.The result are her fabulous designs

She also designs lovely duppattas :)

I think the North East ones are my favourite as I already own a Kalamkari on silk sari as a part of my wedding trousseau(And yes, I had to go to war with my mom for letting me wear anything but the traditional South Indian kanjeevaram saris)

If you are already amazed at Ritika's talent, you need to know more. Ritika-the woman who personally backpacks to remote villages in the North East (Yes- ULFA territory!)  for months to source her material. Her stories from her travels are wonderful and can fill another blog post :) You can find her travel stories and lovely images from the North East on her blog, on her travels for MORA, here.

MORA recently set up stall at the Kala Ghoda festival 2010, and 'real women' read doctors, social workers, entrepreneurs sashayed down the catwalk wearing MORA. Don't they all look really pretty? And I love the fact that Ritika used them instead of the usual PYTs. 

To buy or to drool over more of Ritika's clothes visit her website or Facebook page.

Ritika is heading this week on another one of her trips to remote areas to study and source materials. Ritika, Good Luck and Bon Voyage!