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The way a bag is designed can change the weight you feel while carrying things in it. I came across this bag at Organicz4U, the neighbourhood organic store. The wooden sticks were what attracted me to them initially, but later Parvez, the owner, explained that it’s designed to make my weekly grocery load feel lighter.

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Maithreyi of Wild Ideas who designed the bag, runs a cooperative that makes all things organic for the home. The bag featured here is just one of 16 cloth bags they distribute to grocery stores. It’s called the ‘katte pai with neem handles’ and can easily and comfortably hold up to 10 kilos.

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Wild Ideas is a community-based cooperative of disadvantaged women based in Tiruvannamalai. The group makes 100% organic and handmade products.

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While looking at their product range I also discovered a small, beautiful detail. That their soap packages carry an illustration of the Arunachala hill in Tiruvannamalai. A hill that’s considered one of the five most important Shaivite sites in India.

So in-sync when community, design and goodness all come together to change a simple everyday moment like carrying a heavy grocery bag up to a car.

 

To know more about Wild Ideas, you can email maithreyi.ratan@yahoo.com

To shop at an organic grocery store that knows the farms and the people who provide them with their veggies, click here.

 

 

 

 

The anti-assemby-line, single-piece-single-tailor-made jeans. Natural and recycled raw materials make them beautiful inside and outside.

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And when you order a pair, you’ll find that it comes unfussy in a denim bag with the details printed elegantly on brown paper and wrapped around your new pair of conscious jeans. Love the clarity and simplicity.

Get your pair here.

 

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In my increasingly-manic quest for dairy-free chocolate, I was blessed enough to have finally stumbled across Earth Loaf right here in Mysore, yoga’s second favourite destination. Emails flew back and forth and after prompt confirmation from David that it was indeed dairy-free, I ordered my first stash.

I am not going into detail about the exquisite, volcanic eruption of pure, slightly salty, slightly bitter cacao in my long-deprived soul; because this is a packaging blog.

The packaging reminded me of the love with which I used to wrap gifts when I first discovered Auroville handmade paper. In this case, the paper is made from recycled cotton and silk and screen-printed with motifs of peacocks and elephants. The motif is Chittara art of the Malnad region and designed by Mysore-based Harsha Nagaraju. David, of Earth Loaf, has used cacao beans and palmyra sugar from the region and intends for the packaging to be from there too.

What I liked the most – line on the back of the pack that reads “Made, packed and loved by:….”

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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.

 

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The charming Love Travel series of city guides are known for their treasure trove of authentic Indian luxury travel tips. All laid out in a style that is almost like chatting with a friend over a cuppachai. The book is crafted out of handmade paper and the packaging is truly packed in India. Handcrafted with love and Indianness from start to end.

The book cover has been developed in partnership with Sonam Dubal, a  fashion designer and is printed on khadi, hand-woven in Andhra Pradesh, and supplied by Gramodyog Khadi Mandir, Bengaluru.

The luxury edition silk and khadi pouches have been designed by Sonali of Hidden Harmony, Bengaluru. The khadi is from Andhra and the silk is Mysore silk.

The striking rich blue, the simplicity of khadi and the juxtaposition of this with the luscious silk is exactly what the brand is all about.

To order your copy of the newest in Fiona Caulfield’s Love Travel series, click here.

Join Love Travel on FB, right here.

Pic courtesy: Fiona Caulfield.

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Cotton bits that wrap the soaps and fold in neatly on the edges without stitches or staples or seals. When you open it out, it’s a neat, scented bit of soft cloth which is perfect for wrapping your favourite pair of earrings in.

Rustic reusability.

Available at select stores.

Online here and there.

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The bake tray also works as the take away pack. No waste of water (in washing dishes), no unnecessary cutting and transferring to a new box, no fuss. Just the deliciousness of good, organic, hand-baked cakes in an easy-to-carry, easy-to-store, biodegradable box with a sprinkling of mystikal magicness.

Order yours here or email taantraa.cakes@gmail.com

 

It’s a good, chunky bath bar. It’s also natural, made by hand and does minimal harm to the environment. The packaging’s the same – It’s one piece of cardboard that is wrapped around the soap, it’s biodegradable, the inks are safer than the normal ones we are used to seeing and the branding is enhanced by embossing it right onto the pack. Read more about it here on their site.

What I liked more was that the site also gave some genuinely good tips on how to reuse the packaging. Use it to store earrings and small knick-knacks. Or (my favourite) pop it into your linen drawer. I’d also cut it into long strips and use them as bookmarks. Mark your favourite poem with a favourite fragrance. La.

Meet Arrev on FB here. Buy Areev here.

It’s made by hand on a farm and the packaging complements that.

The homely Madras checkered cotton wrap for the lid,  a nice thin light brown paper for the label and the use of just one single, yummy colour. The cost of putting that wrap on top of every jar is balanced by doing this single colour print job on the label. Smart.

Pic: Pii

Available: At most large department stores. Or you could just visit them here when you’re in South India.

Loved the brown paper simplicity of its arrival.

(What’s inside? Organic, bunny-ear soft tee-shirts)

This package is proof that good words straight from the heart will work way more wonders than complicated, overly colourful packaging.

Get your pack home here. 

Little camphor flames surrounded by marigold and roses, held together in dried leaves stitched together with bits of twig and set afloat down a moody Ganga at dusk to depict the journey of the soul through life.

But thanks to ‘spiritual’ tourism it was – make a wish and if it goes down the river smooth, your wish will come true.

No matter what, that basket is as fragile and as vibrant as life.

 

Must do: Haridwar evening aarti.

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