Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dil Dhoondtha hai....

Kitni girhein kholi hain maine, kitni girhein ab baaki hai,

paao mein payal, baahon mein kangan, gale mein hansli, kamar band, challe aur bichue,

naak kaan chidwaayein gaye hain, aur zevar zevar kehte kehte,

reet rivaaj ke rassiyon se main jakdi gayi , uff kitni tarah main pakdi gayi - Gulzar.

I was truly elated when I heard the news that Gulzar Saab was chosen for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award this year. Call it pure coincidence, but when I saw the pictures that were shot for this post back in March, I instantly thought of Gulzar, the revered poet, lyricist and writer of soulful poetry. Today, I am saluting this man of the moment by quoting a few lines from his poems along with the works of my creative friends Karthika Gupta, Suchismita Dasgupta, Sankeerthi Aipanjiguly, and Shailaja Iyer, who have undoubtedly added beauty to his lines.

The chirping birds and the crowing roosters had woken me up earlier than usual. With a cup of hot filter kaapi and my laptop in hand, I decided to head to the garden to jot down my thoughts for this post. Mangalore, my hometown, had celebrated the first rains of monsoon yesterday and the sweet smell of the soil that comes with the first rain still lingered. The raindrops from the previous night had formed a thick pearly coating on the lush foliage. Amidst the greenery, sipping my first sip, I let my memories roll…

KARTHIKA GUPTA: Owner - Memorable Jaunts.

April 2014, Chicago—“Jay, I am sending you the rushes of the key moments of our photo shoot. The mood is rustic and matte, just the way you wanted it. Want your thoughts on it,” Karthika wrote to me. I replied, “I need some time to go through the pictures in detail. Can I get back to you in a couple of days?” As I was glancing at the pictures, I don’t know why some of the most popular lines from Gulzar Saab’s songs kept playing in my head. There was some kind of unsaid depth and connection between Karthika’s photography and his emblematic poetry. The pictures redefined the simplest things around us and were breathtakingly poetic and deliciously romantic—just like Gulzar Saab’s work.

Karthika Gupta, of “Memorable Jaunts”, is my Madhubani art student and during one of our chats, I found out that we have a lot in common. She is a fellow Kannadiga like me and her aesthetic sense and love for art fascinated me. I was in awe of her unusual profession and her body of work, especially the Indian wedding she had captured recently. Being a female photographer and a Naperville resident, I wanted to introduce her work to the world and hence wasted no time in asking if she was interested in shooting us. “Yes!” came the reply, and as I was describing my requirements for this post, she seemed very excited and started visualizing the concept for the shoot right away. We decided on a date, place, and look; checked the weather for clear skies; and went to a nearby forest preserve for the shoot.

Click, click, click went her camera, and the rest was magical.

In her words:

Memorable Jaunts is my fourth baby. She came into my life in the fall of 2010 as a way to document my family’s adventures and travels as we navigate through life’s journey. As I started taking and sharing pictures, I felt the need to offer my photography services to other families who were interested in documenting the special moments in their lives beyond the annual trip to the mall portrait studio. To me, pictures do so much more than capture a moment—they capture an emotion, a fleeting memory frozen in time, be it the hug between a parent and child, the crinkled eyes and loud laughter between a couple, or the accidental fall of an ice cream scoop over a child’s dress. A couple of years ago, I started photographing weddings and fell in love. There is something so magical and special about a couple getting married and beginning their life’s journey together.

I strive to capture emotions and expressions as I see it happen before me, through the lens of my camera. The perfectly imperfect moments are my favorite and my clients love them too. And I absolutely love nature and the great outdoors—they almost always make a presence in all my sessions.
So if you’re up for an adventurous photo shoot, something to make it a memorable jaunt, I’m your gal.

CONTACT Info: Additional details around all the services offered by Memorable Jaunts can be found at

SANKEERTHI AIPANJIGULY: Owner - Rabbit out of the hat.

“‘Rabbit out of the Hat.’ Why such an unusual name for a jewelry line, Sankeerthi?’ I quipped. ‘Why not Jayuakka?”
“It’s a magician’s favorite trick and moreover, the magic of finding something new and something extraordinary in the trick is inevitable, isn’t it?” she retorted.
“Yes, my little sister, I agree completely and I have to give it to you for this one,” I beamed.

Folks, my heart swells with joy to introduce my cousin Sankeerthi’s (Ex- NIFT faculty, stylist, and costume designer) stunning vintage/tribal jewelry line “Rabbit out of the Hat”, where every piece has a different origin and an untold history behind it. Sankeerthi, along with her older sister who is an avid traveler, started collecting rare pieces of antique silver jewelry. Soon, her passion became her profession and her jewelry line was born.
I am sure you’ll enjoy collecting these rare, vintage silver pieces as much as I do. Come experience the magic of finding them with me!

CONTACT Info: One can buy her jewelry by messaging her on her Facebook page “Rabbit out of the Hat” or emailing her at 
She holds exhibitions all over India and operates mainly out of her home. Worldwide shipping is also available.


Bright, bold, beautiful, and very affordable—this is how I would like to describe Suchismita Dasgupta’s Nextiles, a traditional weave brand that I fell in love with. I have received many e-mails in the past from my readers requesting me to do a post on affordable and budget-friendly saris, so when I was introduced to Nextiles last year by a friend, I was desperate to feature it on Sage&Slingback. I wanted to showcase these saris with the right kind of vintage silver jewelry and was on the lookout for a photographer who could capture the nuances aesthetically. “Rabbit out of the Hat” and “Memorable Jaunts” then came on board and the trio created magic together.

Growing up in Calcutta, Suchismita was surrounded by traditional weaves and handicrafts. Textiles and design techniques intrigued her and soon she began to feel the need for creating something exclusive yet comfortable. Thus, Nextiles was born in the year 2004.

Her experience in advertising and love for styling soon led her to design costumes for TV shows and movies. She got her first break in the film industry when some of her designs were featured in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta and Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani.

CONTACT Info: Visit her Facebook page “Nextiles” or shoot her an email at  for any inquiries. Worldwide shipping is available.

SHAILAJA IYER: Founder - "Shruthi - Laya"

I met Shaila at a common friend’s house a few years ago and amidst many women in the crowd, she just stood out. Tall, dusky, and uniquely beautiful—I wanted to know more about her. Soon, I realized that she was the founder of the Carnatic music school “Shruthi Laya”.

Having modeled for me in my fashion shows, Shaila is my favorite model. When I decided to do a post on cotton saris and silver jewelry, I couldn’t think of anyone else but her.

Though she started her teaching career in 1995 in India (Bangalore, to be exact), she continued to pursue it while living in Malawi for many years. Shaila currently lives in Illinois and is still teaching at her music school.

STYLING - Jayashree Rao
SAREES - Nextiles ( most of the sarees seen here are priced between Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500)
JEWELRY - Rabbit Out of the Hat
MODEL - Shailaja Iyer

Vintage Gokhru cuff from Sindh province in Pakistan.

Ek Puraana Mausam Lauta, Yaad Bhari Purvayi Bhi
Aisa To Kam Hi Hotha Hai, Wo Bhi Ho Tanhaayee Bhi ......

A Nextile silk blend saree in Midnight blue & red, here I have paired it with a Masaba Gupta blouse.

A pair of early to mid 20th century traditional Jhumka from Rajasthan, The earrings have originally had ear plugs attached but normal gauge wires have been added to the earrings.

New beautiful handmade repoussé silver jhumka designed and inspired by traditional Rajasthani jewelry .

Old bracelet with spectacular work from South India.

Mera Kuch Saamaan Tumhare Paas Pada Hai,
Saavan Ke Kuch Bheege Bheege Din Rakhe Hain,
Aur Mere Ik Khat Main Lipti Raat Padi Hai,
Vo Raat Bhulaa Do, Mera Vo Saamaan Lauta Do.....

A black/olive Chatai noil ( short left over fibre of silk/ wool) with buttas all over which is paired with a multi colored patch work blouse.

A Vintage Akota earring from Gujarat

Antique beautifully etched markharas in a square pendant from South India strung with hand twisted vintage gungroos.

Mera Dil Jo Mera Hota
Palako Pe Pakad Lethi
Hontohn Pe Uthaa Lethi
Haathon mai khudaa Hota
Meraa Dil.....

A Hotpink/ black Nextile noil  paired with a  green printed blouse.

A pair of jaw dropping antique finished jhumkas silver jhumkas with vintage chain of balls.

Vintage Haath phool or Slave bracelet from Gujarat.

Haath chhute bhi toh rishtey nahi chhuta karthe,
Waqt ki shaakh se lamhe nahi toota karthe ....

A Red/mustard Chatai Noil paired with a printed yellow blouse.

Don't miss the reed that is seen on Shailjas hair. A lovely impromptu touch by Karthika.

Katra katra milti hai
Katra katra jeene do
Zindagi hai, bahne do
Pyaasi  hoon main, pyaasi rahne do.....

In a parrot green Nextile noil ( it comes with a striped blouse)

Vintage 5 layer hand crafted Miao /Hmong traditional tribal torque.

Thoda hai, thode ki zaroorat hai, 
Zindagi phir bhi yahaan khoobsurat hai - Gulzar


  1. A celebration of beautiful women ... .love it. Great post Jayashree :)

    - Jayanthi K

  2. Its just out of the world!! Love it both look stunning with those beautiful sarees and jewellery! Karthika has taken fantastic pictures. I am happy to say that I own nextile saree much similar to the first pic but in black! All thanks to you:) Good going jay!

  3. Beautiful photography, jewelry and saris! You and Shaila reminded me of Shabana and Smita Patil. Brought this song to my mind: 'huzoor iss kadar bhi na itarake chaliye....." Jai Ho!

  4. Beautiful, you are so talented! This was so nicely done. You make all fashions from all walks of life become vibrant and alive! So glad to finally read it. You know I was waiting :-)
    Now only if I could get lucky to purchase some of these beautiful pieces. Being a working woman, I am not glued to these postings and have found that mostly the stuff I like is sold. :-( Yet to own a MORA of my first choice or a Karmasuthra piece that I truly like. But I will keep looking. - Deval

  5. Fantastic photos! Great introduction to your friends work.


  6. Lovely pictures, Jayashree. All of it, very nice. But the jewelry looks very very much like Karmasuthra. Its nice your cousin has opened her business with found antiques and tribal stuff, but the aesthetic smacks of imitation, beautiful composition notwithstanding. I hope in the spirit of constructive critiquing, you retain this comment here. Of course, its your page and your voice, and your call.

    1. Ms. Odd Bee - I appreciate your input but at the same time I beg to differ.
      With due respect to all my creative friends, I would like to clarify that every weave that comes from North East India is not a MORA nor every vintage silver that you see is a KS. These are from my personal collection and I have showcased them 'cos they suit my sensibility and I believe in them.
      Apart from a couple of pieces the rest are very unique and I can vouch that I haven't seen it any where on FB before, be it the Akota earring, Makhara pendant, 20th century jhumka or the haath phool, each piece is quite a rare one. If there are any simlarities it's because of the common vendor factor.
      I don't understand nor care for the FB jewelry/ clothing mafia.... all I understand is that if I believe in something, I will definitely tell the world about it through Sage&Slingback. Stringing beads in the name of jewelry is not my thing - period!!!

    2. Why such a lengthy diatribe? Perception governs everything, and the jewelry does look suspiciously similar to work I have seen already. Evidently your cousin did not create jhumkas anymore than the Mughals did. However, the manner in which they are assembled begs questioning about their inspiration. It's a shame you consider a critique as a Mafiosi ambush. True artists spend entire lifetimes seeking their unique aesthetic, beyond inspiration. I trust this is part of your and your cousins path.

    3. The Odd Bee- I would really appreciate if you don't drag me or any other brand here. We, Jayashree or I, have never claimed I design the jewellery. The designs are available in the market and I source them. There is no question of inspiration or imitation here from any other brand. And if there is any issue with KS and me we will sort it. Jayashree's blog is her personal thoughts, likes and dislikes so lets leave it at that.

    4. Since when did Karmasuthra have patents on jhumkis? Ha ha.. Odd Bee you make me laugh. This aesthetic that Jayshree and her friends represent is simply India. It speaks to them and they tell us their story. Silly to call cotton sarees and silver jewellery by any trademark.. they are Indian. Period. Expand your perception and go beyond Karmasuthra and you will see these pieces go back hundreds if not thousands of one owns these designs. They are simply unearthing them so we can appreciate them all over again.

    5. I am not surprised to see the senseless comment !'s naïve to associate silver jewellery or sarees with certain brands only ........I agree with has taken Mafioso proportions on FB.......anybody doing something similar is viciously attacked for being copycats / uncreative /losers etc etc !!........if you go in the streets of old Delhi, ( I am not even talking of the treasure troves of Gujarat & Rajasthan) you will find all these designs and much much more ..........these jhumkas are clearly not made by any of the famous brands on FB's part of Indian handicraft and culture................they all are sourcing these same as "Rabbit out of hat" why attack her for imitating, she never claimed to be designing these...............pls open your eyes & see beyond your myopic view !!

    6. I so agree to the comment made by Anonymous on June 3. True, mafia is THE word. So whoever is a threat to the business quantum is attacked by the owner of these brands, and supported by a band of brainless ( and if I may say blind) sycophants. The reality is these beautiful jhumkas are made by the artisans who work in some obscure workshop risking their lives and eyes, with process. And, here some people are claiming it to be their inventions, and wrongly misguiding others. Open your eyes and appreciate the beauty of the workmanship of these artisans, rather than following a brand aimlesless and believing in humbug. Ms. Oddbee, loving a brand is good, following it blindly not so good. But I guess, ignorance is bliss...WHat goes around comes around!

  7. Beautiful, vibrant and so connected with poet and his poetry !
    Loved it as usual!

  8. Amazing post & absolutely loved the pictures. They look so beautiful & so ethnic. It connects me back to my roots & once again I want to take out my cotton sarees & wear it with 'Rabbit Out Of The Hat' jhumkas & bangles. :)
    I loved it Jay! Also you look lovely in all the pictures especially Midnight blue & red saree with Masaba blouse & A Hotpink/ black Nextile noil paired with a green printed blouse.
    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! I look forward to your posts!

  9. Few can appreciate how these elements can come together and create such brilliance! Great job on the photography, styling and of course the sarees and jewellery! Thank you for a lovely lovely post!

  10. Enjoyed the blog, Jayashree. I love the look of the green saree with the tribal torque...

  11. Wow..breathtakingly beautiful..the sarees, models, makeup, jewellery, photography..everything.

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