Alta or Rose Bengal is a deep red dye made from lac and used to grace the feet and hands of women and dancers in the North East regions of India. I’ve always seen the dye in glass bottles that stain red even after using it once, making it difficult to store and handle, especially after one is dressed up. Glass bottles also make it scary to hold because if this breaks and falls you’ll have very deep red dye stains all over the place, forever.
So it was nice to find a plastic bottle shaped to be held comfortably. Found this one right outside a durga temple in Calcutta. Love the kitschness and joba-ness of the cover and love the shape of the bottle and the chauka depiction on the front. The chauka is the basic position in Odissi and symbolic of Lord Jagannath.
Not too sure how well that stopper will work once open, but will definitely be more seal-proof than the screw-type cap.
Matt Lee is an artist and teacher from the UK, currently in Bangalore. He collects matchboxes across India and has 600 of them now. Featured here are some of the quirky and unseen ones. I recognised a few.
Indian matchboxes are tiny and contain just enough matchsticks to last you for a day. The result is that you’ll see these lying around a lot. I also like that so much colour and fun goes into something with a short life.
Though the ones here have been immortalised.
Via: Pii friend and writer, Amulya Shruthi. Click here to know more about Matt Lee.
It’s a book of 500 kitschy Indian matchbox covers in a book that’s designed to look like a matchbox, complete with slip case and striking edge, in case you feel like setting the whole book on fire. The printing quality is not too great (pixelated), but the finds are lovely, and it makes a great smoking-table book.
Via, Pii friend, Amulya Shruthi. Meet her here and here.
Buy the book and meet Tara here.
Pii received her first gift :)
It’s a precious vintage matchbox from Russia. All four sides can be used to strike and the matchsticks sit snug within these 4 walls. And when not playing the role of a matchbox, it sits quietly on a table looking like a normal little box.
Love the art-deco feel of the colours and design on the cover, very strict, controlled kind of art. I have no idea what the word means though.
With love: From Haki, Pii’s uncle-in-law. A gypsy soul who hitchhiked his way from India to Europe in the decade of hippy power. He currently spends time between Europe, Kerala and the Cholamandal Artists Village in Chennai. Meet him on FB here.
Kumkum is used in Hinduism as a protective mark for the sixth chakra or the ajna chakra. The powder is actually safrron that turns a brilliant red after slaked lime is added to it.
Kumkum is also worn religiously by good Hindu wives. Which explains why Eyetex here has used the actress (Deepika) who played Lord Ram’s wife in the epic-super-dhamaka-hit-television-series, Ramayana.
Pii love the jasmine in Deepika’s hair. Heavenly jasmine and earthy kumkum scents. Someone bottle ’em, please!
Picture courtesy: Pii.
Paper bags made stronger with an inner lining of kitschy cotton. More shopping :) From People Tree, Delhi. Picture: People Tree on FB.
A bottle of Rooh Afza is a bottle of concentrated goodness. Filled with water lily and rose extracts, raisins, fruits and a whole lot of other exotic goodies. It’s best had with cold milk and one ice cube. My mum used to make me drink it and give me the bottle to hold so I’d be distracted by all the colours on the label.
This picture here was taken on the streets of Haridwar where Rooh Afza is used in a cold sweet dish that I refused to taste!