Well, I am sure you must be thinking what this post is about and what I mean by ‘Power of Red’. This blog is dedicated to one of my friends who introduced me to the whole new world of tints and shades of ‘Reds’.
I am or shall I say I was a bit conservative when it came to choosing a lip colour for myself. ‘Browns’ and ‘softer pinks’ have always been and still are my favourite shades, the only variance I would go for is the effect i.e. sparkly, creamy or matt. I admit, going ‘WOW!’, when I saw other girls using brighter shades of reds and pinks, but I always assumed they aren’t for me.
On a recent ‘girls only’ trip, I was acquainted with a new colour tone- the bold & beautiful ‘Red’. I loved it on my friends’ lips, but was very hesitant when it came to me using it personally. I was not sure how it would look on me, whether it would go with my skin tone and with ‘me’ as a person. As we say in Human Resources (HR), ‘change’ is never easy but you know what- it can certainly get easier if the person leading the change has the skill to get the ‘dialogue of change’ right. I must admit, this friend of mine did hit the nail (right) on the head and she did it beautifully.
What happened next! Well, of course I had to give it a try and I must confess this ‘Red’ lipstick updated my look almost instantly. I realised that ‘Red’ is one shade that will make you look good without anything else- you don’t need much makeup if you are using a bright shade as it gives the right boost to your look.
But was I convinced enough to invest in one?
Don’t we all love homemade food especially that cooked by our mums. Nothing can beat the flavour of mum’s cooked meals which were always full of so much affection and warmth.
When we move out, this is certainly something we all miss the most. I can still sense the same aroma whenever I think of my most loved dishes especially her Suji ka Halwa and Capsicum Paneer.
Many of her dishes were really popular among our friends and family. From what I know and what she shared with me, she didn’t know the ABC of cooking when she got married and my dad just ate whatever she cooked, without complaining. It was only when my Daadi (Grandmother) tasted her food that she realized it. My daadi also helped her with simple basic techniques of cooking and hence, many of my mum’s recipes, do have my daadi’s touch too. With time, her cooking has evolved so much and she loves experimenting with food and some of her recipes are awesome.
Although I am not a big fan of cooking, I do cook for my family and friends. Some of my recipes are an exact copy of my mum’s recipes and ‘Baingan ka Bharta’ (mashed aubergine or eggplant) is one of them. I still remember that her ‘Bharta’ was a favourite of many of our family friends and whenever I have made it using her recipe, even I have been able to get some praise.
‘Baingan ka Bharta’ is primarily made up of roasted aubergines (eggplant), tomatoes and onions. It is comparable to ‘baba ghanoush’, which is a very popular Lebanese appetizer. Before making the Bharta, the eggplant is grilled over fire which infuses a smoky flavour to the dish and gives it a distinct taste. Once they are smoked, the skin is removed and it is cooked in oil along with onions, tomatoes, coriander, and salt and red chilli powder. With just 7 simple ingredients, it is a very simple yet flavourful dish to serve to your family as a part of your standard meal or even as a side dish for your guests.
Even though it is a popular dish and is cooked in many homes, its taste varies from household to household. Some of the essential tips or tricks that I have learnt from my mum are:
- The eggplant needs to be grilled to the right level (under cooking or overlooking influences its taste and flavour to a great extent)
- The quantity of tomatoes and onions is key in this recipe (Less tomatoes mean a pale colour and if you add the right quantity of tomatoes and onions you will have the perfect colour and sweetness)
- Do not roast the egg plant in oven or microwave. Roast/Grill on an open flame to give a distinct aromatic flavour to the dish.
- Another tip I learnt from my mum was to choose lighter Baingan as heavier ones may have ripe seeds which will affect the taste of your Bharta.
Now that the Indian festive season is here, I am loving the colours hidden in my ‘Indian’ wardrobe. As I don’t get to wear my traditional Indian dresses too often, I eagerly wait for this time of the year. October in India is a month of festivities full of dance, sweets and lights and we try and reproduce the same fun here with our friends.
I love the festive season which starts with the 9 day festival of Navratri and ends in Bhaidooj which is celebrated on the 5 day after Diwali. The joy of lights, sweetness of the Mithai (Indian Sweets) and the glitter of sounds of laughter of friends and family along with the beautiful colour combinations that I get to wear during this time makes it even more magnificent.
We recently celebrated the festival of Karwachauth in which married Hindu women fast from sunrise to moon rise for the longevity of their husband’s life. Just like any other woman, I love dressing up on this day and do make an effort to look my best. I usually wear a Sari on this occasion, but this year I wore a floor length anarkali which is the latest vogue in India. I must say, I have seen my friends wear it and I love the way they look. The splendour and beauty of these cannot be matched.
I do try to keep up with the fashion trends and I think (in my own eyes), I have a reasonable eye for it. After being bored of the Anarkalis which came into fashion a few years ago, I went for some straight cut suits. But on my recent visit to India, my mum-in-law took me out for suit shopping to Lajpat Nagar. She knows how much I love dressing up and my craze for shopping. I can’t admire enough her patience with me as I went from store to store looking for something which we both would look at and go ‘That’s it!’.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Jalauddin Rumi
It’s fascinating to sometimes look back in time. To see how we change over time, How our perceptions change, and how we perceive others as well as ourselves changes.
If I look back, may be the last 10 years of my life.. Why 10 years? Because this is how long I have been here in the United Kingdom. I was not even 25 when I moved into this country (Oops! Did I just give away my age?), so it will help me see things in perspective, especially in terms of my surroundings and the wider setting. As a young girl, I moved with these dreams, hope and aspirations – aspirations not just for myself, but also for my partner and for us as a family.
These long ten years, I have accumulated an incredible amount of treasure in terms of relationships and friendships I have built over time, the beautiful memories that are captured in my heart forever.
It’s that time of the year when married women (and girls) in India apply henna on their hands and feet. It is not just auspicious but also an essential ornament for beautifying married women on the occasion of Karwachauth
I am sure many of my friends and family members all over the world, have already got henna applied on their hands and /or feet for the upcoming Karwachauth on Wednesday and many have this on their ‘to do’ list for tomorrow.
I am, myself, very fond of this tradition and love the intricate curls, lattices, curves and floral designs on my hand and can’t wait each year for it. And of course, like many of you, I also anxiously wait for it to dry and to see how dark the colour gets. Not just that, I even use numerous tips and tricks for getting a darker henna.