Friday, May 6, 2016


"Are you ready for a fun question- answer session?" I ask her.

Why? and what Question & Answer session ?" - She retorts.

When I explain to her about todays post, she asks me in return - "ok I will - but will you buy me a toy?".  I smile at her and pause for a minute thinking, come on Jay! you should know by now that nothing in this world comes for free and even a 6 year old knows that!

After this brief distraction, I put my thoughts together and get back to my conversational mood.

"Hmmmm - Ok - So what do you want for answering all my questions correctly?"  I ask her.
"Lego Disney Princess Cinderella's Castle. You can find it in the lower shelf in the girls toys section at Target", she educates me in a single breath.

Her innocence instantly melts my heart and even if I want to, I don't have the heart to say NO. I give in and thus starts our verbal jugalbandhi. I probe further to see what's in that little mind, read on to see what I learn.

Favorite color? - Purple.
Favorite Princess? - Sofia The First
Favorite pet? - Dog, preferably someone like Clifford
Favorite restaurant - Olive garden, I love the salty bread sticks there
What makes you happy - Buying Lego Toys at Target
What makes you sad - The thought of not being able to buy all the lego toys at Target
Favorite person in the whole wide world - My dad
Your secret wish to Santa this year - Psssst - it's to have long hair without extensions
Your daily prayer to god - People should be happy and healthy and live forever and forever and forever, they shouldn't die you know
What do you want to be when you grow up - An Engineer and a Fashion Designer
Favorite food - Spaghetti
Favorite song - Manwa Laage from the movie Happy New Year
One thing that you don't like to do - Going to school!!

Phew - for a minute, I thought that I was Karan Johar shooting questions at my guest on my show " Koffee with Karan". Every question had an answer and it came without a pause or a blink and I am sure one would have been left with no choice but to give her the much coveted gift hamper for finishing the rapid fire round in record time. 

Well, there's more to this drama and as you scroll down you will get to know why we had this photoshoot in the first place.

She can build an elaborate Disney Lego set from scratch in just 2 hours. She can operate all the TV remotes in the house with ease. She can download apps, send text messages and emails on her own. She can also choreograph bollywood songs without any assistance. She can happily doodle faces of people like a pro. To top it all she is adorable!

As I sit down to type, a little hand constantly nudges me and reminds me many times to write about her special skills, also don't forget to write that I am adorable, ok? I want to see how many likes I get, she quips impishly. Keeping her request in mind and to keep up with an old promise that I had made to her I decide to go ahead with this post for mothers day. My muse for today's post is 6 years old and she is my daughter. This is our first time together on Sage&Slingback and also our first photoshoot together ever since she was born. 

So darlings, put your hands together for my little sass ball - Ms.Ryka Parvati Rao popularly known as Sundari. A heady mix of mischief, drama, intelligence, attitude and humor. I hope you will enjoy this tete - e- tete  between mother and daughter, designed just for this mothers day.


Every child is special and so is the bonding between a mother and her baby. A mother's love for her child is fierce, forever and will let nothing stand in its path, proving that the bond they share is one of the strongest connections in nature. By cutting the umbilical chord, the physical attachment between the mother and her child might come to an end but I am sure that nothing in the world can change the emotional attachment a mother and her baby share.
The relationship that Ryka and I share is very unconventional and atypical. Forty years of age difference between us hasn't stopped us from having open, adult like conversations with each other. She is my soother, my young confidant and my little helper. As a parent, I want to sum up all my life experiences to instill strong values in her which in turn will help her develop into a smart, confident young lady one day. Though her dad means the world to her, she can't do without her AMMA, her MOM, her MOTHER. Without her my tomorrow wouldn't be worth the wait and my yesterday would not be worth remembering.


In the year 2013, I had a done a feature on Ritika Mittal and her clothing line MORA called "Less in MORA" on Sage&Slingback.  I had featured a young girl named Anvika Rao wearing a MORA Kalyani saree. And as I was getting Anvika ready for the shoot, I could sense a streak of displeasure and sadness in Ryka ( she was 4 then). Teary eyed, Ryka had asked me " Mom, why are you dressing her up? Why are you coloring her hand? Why don't you dress me up? Why can't I be on your blog?". Despite my many efforts to convince her that she was still too young to be on the blog, she insisted that she wants to dress up and pose too. It was then that I promised her that one day I will do a photoshoot with her and feature her on Sage & Slingback. Now I felt that the time is just right to capture her innocence and do a special feature on her on this mothers day, featuring some of the special moments of our life together for the first time.

It was around this time, I saw some portraits posted on Facebook by my neighbor and friend Mr. Bhima Rao. Though I knew that he was into photography (mainly nature and birds) his sudden change of genre made me stop and take a look at his work. It was then that I realized that he would be good for this particular photo shoot. When I approached him with the idea he was more than happy to photograph Ryka and I. 


"I was always passionate about photography and I got hooked  on by watching my uncle photograph us as kids with his Yashica.  I got my first opportunity to take pictures during my visit to France and that's the time I decided to own my first camera - a Canon Rebel.  I am a self-taught photographer and landscapes and cityscapes were my initial interests but later on, I started trying various genres like birds, fashion and portraits. I believe that there is nothing that can beat the feeling of seeing a smile on someones face. I am currently building my portfolio and still in the process of  learning a lots of techniques from friends and other professional photographers. I thank Ryka and Jayashree for being great sports and their enthusiasm made my job easier.


Around spring break, I explained the idea to Ryka and I told her that this will be her fun spring project. She expressed her interest in styling the shoot herself. She was adamant that she would pick her own clothes and accessories along with mine. I gave her a free hand and here is the result. Mr. Bhima Rao patiently photographed us over 2 sittings and 4 outfit changes. A huge thanks to him for making sure that Ryka was comfortable and enjoying the process ( read it as multiple breaks for a diva who wanted to check her I-pad in between shots and take cookie & drink breaks).  He was very good in talking to her and getting the best out of her. 

Like I mentioned, I did give a free hand to Ryka in choosing her outfits and my saris. I wanted to use my vintage Sabyasachi's for this shoot as I have always worn his clothes to all the special occasions in my life. Be it Ryka's first birthday or her naming ceremony or her " Anna Prashana". So this shoot was our first one too and I wanted to wear something very old from my Sabya collection, something that he had designed when he had first started out. I personally feel when a designer starts out fresh, he puts his heart and soul into his work and the outcome is a true reflection of oneself . So I showed Ryka my Sabyasachi collections and out of the many, she chose these four for the shoot.

Ryka chose a lace dress from Target ( yes, that's her favorite store) in off - white and gold, with gold accessories for herself. When she picked an off white and a gold lace Sabyasachi sari for me, my heart sank for a minute as I am least thrilled about wearing lace saris (though this is one of the few french lace collectibles I have from the designer in my closet). But her reasoning was " Amma - it matches mine perfectly". Though amma is not into matching she had to give in as this was her daughters first styling project, remember?

Sundari wanted to show off her cool cotton knit sweater paired with her fluffy heart skirt for this look (again from Target). I thanked my stars when she decided that I should wear an off white flecther sari from one of Sabyas earlier collections. "I love the sparkly design in the end ( read it as Palla)"  she exclaimed with a twinkle in her eyes.

A zipper lace cardigan paired with an ice blue lace skirt from Janie & Jack was her outfit for look 3. Ryka decided to choose a cotton voile teal Sabyasachi saree with a magenta intricate hand embroidered border, for me. This time the deciding factor was the matching pink hair accessory. "My hair clip matches perfectly with your border. This is so cool!" she told me innocently.  A great stylist in the making, I thought.

Special mention : she was very particular that with this look, her hair has to be in a side pony with 2 loose strands of hair falling on her face. She made me comb her hair multiple times till she got the look right - phew!!

Look 4: 
One of my favorite looks that Ryka put together for us : A beautiful Sabyasachi creation for me in Matka silk ( one of the oldest creations from Sabyasachi) and a lace dress in lovely green for herself from Macy's . She decided to wear her favorite mismatched Mickey Minnie pair of black Mary Janes with this dress. 
Special Mention : The neckpiece is from my favorite silver brand "Rabbit out of the Hat". I am wearing a Nepali Jantar necklace which is a striking way of wearing an amulet box. Both originate in the Middle Hills region of Nepal.
The amulets (jantars) are square containers with an elaborately decorated surface,  cut in the back to allow for the insertion of mantras, relics, or medicine to serve their protective function. it is suspended by double decorative chains and held together with a large lotus-shaped clasp in a figure-eight form.

As we were winding up the shoot, my phone rang and a loud voice beckoned us - " Rykaaaaaaaa, are you done with your home work? Did you finish your math sums? Did you practice your jolly phonics?". It was Appa on the other end of the line and like any other Indian parent he was making sure that there is a balance of creative fun and academics in Sundari's life. 

Oops -  got to go folks, appa is waiting - it's time to nurture Sundari's left brain now!


  1. Ms. sassy, Ms photogenic, Ms . funnybones, Ms. artist, Ms. bollywood Queen, and of course model of the year!! Ryka urf Sundari - you have it all! A true bundle of Joy and a pleasure, loved seeing all her designing and looks put together, all I can say baach ke rehna re baba, baach ke rehna re!!!

  2. Nicely done Jay! You definitely have the best of Sabya's sarees! They are all so beautiful!! And Miss Ryka--what can I say? She is a firecracker for sure! Agree with Suni--bach ke rehna re baba!

  3. Thoroughly loved it.. it kept me reading on and loved the rapid fire. Her sazz and energy is infectcious. What a beautiful gift for mother's Jay.. & she is so lucky and blessed to have a mom like you. :-). Her outfits put together for you and her were perfect.. clearly shows her talent and the genes...:-).. Always loved your Sabya and your jewelry... One of my fav blogs yet!.. 3 cheers to Sundari on her first Blog!.

  4. Retail Marketing consists of visual merchandising, sales promotion, advertising, and marketing mix.