The graceful nine yards

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Saree originates from the Prakrit word "Sattika" . While ancient scriptures suggest the tradition of draping Women[considered to be embodiment of power and divinity] in something as exquisite and auspicious, there is another view also.
According to natyashastra, the midriff is left bare while wearing a saree because the naval area is supposed to be source of life, creativity and positive energy. Hence follows the silhouette.
Every Indian has seen women in their family gracefully attiring themselves in Saree. The world of wefts, folds, patterns, texture and wearing styles which is 108 to be precise is a splendid thing to know. The modern ‘urban’ style of draping the garment was first adopted and popularised by Rabindranath Tagore’s sister-in-law. Saree has given a niche' identity to Indian fashion industry from the times immemorial. While traditionally Indian saree is worn on all formal and special occasions,the wearer finds a unique glory in wrapping up in it.
Their are innumerable types of it popularized according to various regions where they are made-
Northern styles
Banarasi silk saree from UP-wherein real gold,silver and bronze threads are used to adorn the most exquisite floral and geometrical patterns. Shalu saree from UP also comes under this category. The brocade work is a thing to preserve from one generation to another.
Western styles
PaithaniMaharashtra , BandhaniGujarat and Rajasthan .The bandhani print is now famous world wide , Kota doria Rajasthan, LugadeMaharashtra ,PatolaGujarat
Central stylesChanderiMadhya Pradesh,MaheshwariMadhya Pradesh, Kosa silkChattisgarh
Eastern Style
Tussar SilkBhagalpur area in Bihar is a hub of fine soft silk higly acclaimed all over ,Tangail cotton – Bangladesh,JamdaniBangladesh,Dhakai BenarasiBangladesh,Rajshahi SilkBangladesh,Mooga silkAssam,Tant famous Bengali cotton – Shantipur. The village Shantipur is also a cradle of learning due to Shantiniketan-vishwabharti university in West Bengal,Dhaniakhali cotton – West Bengal,Murshidabad silkWest Bengal
Baluchari silk – West Bengal,Sambalpuri silk – Orissa ,Kotki (from Cuttack) – Orissa
Ikkat (from Orissa)
Southern styles
Kanchipuram (locally called Kanjivaram) – Tamil Nadu ,Coimbatore – Tamil Nadu,Chinnalapatti – Tamil Nadu,Chettinad – Tamil Nadu,Madurai – Tamil Nadu ,Arani – Tamil Nadu,PochampallyAndhra Pradesh ,VenkatagiriAndhra Pradesh,GadwalAndhra Pradesh,GunturAndhra Pradesh,NarayanpetAndhra Pradesh,MangalagiriAndhra Pradesh,BalarampuramKeralaMysore Silk – Karnataka,Ilkal sareeKarnataka .

Here’s the bottom line: whether you are an everyday wearer or a special-occasion wearer, or even someone who sees the sari as a work of tactile art, It is special for all!
It is something that India has given as an input to the world in terms of fashion. Where else will you find so much emotions,drama, flow, gracefulness and sophistication all entwined into one piece of garment simultaneously?
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A Contrast that haunts.

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    up1                up2 

No Words.

Pic 1: A child with an empty container in one of the ‘kachhra-khanas’ of Uttar Pradesh.

Pic 2: ‘Behen’ Mayawati being honored with a garland worth 5 crores of 1000 denomination Indian currency notes.

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Distressed aesthetics

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Notice the distressed tattered denim which is making a comeback dynamically. Once upon a time youngsters wearing such stuffs were considered cynics and rebels. Brands like Levis, Diesel, Guess etc. made a huge profit by in cashing this uber young tendency of 'break free'. To break -then prevalent laws of decent clothing and carving a different identity was what governed youngster's choice in tattered distressed garment/outfits. This FAD continued for so long that it was given a status of a different style trend altogether. Initially what seemed to be an outlandish change, soon caught attention of not only teenagers but also grown ups. I am excluding decent blue denim jeans and white shirt combination from this category because that counts in classic evergreen fashion. It has been for so long within the fashion circles that fashionistas have almost stopped considering it an article of style. it is a basic necessity which every one has in the closet.

Coming back again to the denim outfitters, Jeans that was a casual clothing for daily wear is made to look extra ordinary and exaggerated by tattering it.
So the next time you see a torn pair of jeans don't start looking for sewing needle and thread to stitch it back. Instead, include one in your summer wardrobe . Go shopping! :)
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To My Writer Friends

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Windows Live Writer 2009, yes, this application had everything to seek my attention the last week, when I accidentally ended up to the writer’s zone of Windows Live. Don’t read this if you are on a platform other than windows, it will waste your time. Windows users like me, generally don’t care to use applications provided by Microsoft. Reason-- Money, honey; I am quite a fan of FOSS. We easily get similar identical software over the net for free. I just don’t get Microsoft’s policy of pirated license. Okay, enough bragging. Lets get to the point.

In case you are unfamiliar with Writer of which the chances are quite high, allow me to do a little introduction. As the name suggests, it is a writing tool for windows users and unlike other Microsoft products, it’s free. Writing tool? No, I don’t mean Word! Writer provides you a platform to writer over your blogs/websites, offline--Windows Live, Wordpress, Blogger, Live Journal, TypePad, and many more. The 2008 edition had minimal functionalities but the 2009 release is cool, in every sense of word. You write from your desktop offline and publish to your blog on one push of button; of course after connecting to the internet. Not just that, you can add photos/albums, hyperlink, table, maps, and video(s) on just one push. And it has more. You can set/add categories, time and date, add tags, save draft and what not! Yes, no need to go to your dashboard. All you have to do is, to set up your blog in writer by entering your username, password, blog url and you are done. It downloads the theme of your blog in no time and you start blogging straight from your desktop. So, it simplifies blogging.

Full Feature List

  • New border treatments (including Instant Photo)
  • Crop and tilt photos
  • Insert multiple photos
  • Toolbar alignment commands enabled for images
  • Insert and upload Windows Live photo albums
  • Insert and publish video to YouTube
  • Additional spell checking languages: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, English (Australia), Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, and Ukrainian
  • Server-side tagging (for supported blogs)
  • Type-down filtering in the Open dialog
  • Twitter, Digg and Flickr Plug-ins
  • Improved blog account setup
  • Lightbox and Windows Live Spaces inline preview support
  • Improved category control: adding categories, type-down filtering
  • Tabbed view switching
  • AutoLink glossary
  • Smart quotes/typographic characters
  • Word count
  • Support for bidirectional languages (like Hebrew and Arabic)
  • Tabs for view switching
  • Beautiful look and feel

The Good.

Let me tell you what I like most about this tool. I have been using Wordpress since long forget that I am writing on blogger now and I always wanted to customize my font style at my blog, but wordpress allows you limited customizations. Again, Money, Honey. But guess what, Writer provides you all the fonts that you have installed on your computer to use on your blog and infinite number of customizations. Unlike the boring dash boards of blogs, where you are bound to write in a visual box, Writer downloads the layout of your blog and you actually write on your blog page, plus you can always see the instant preview of your post which is integrated in an inline tab; again the one push thing comes into action and, and, and, for those who like html editing while writing, there is a ‘source’ tab also integrated inline and shows your html in twinkling of eyes. It also gives you an option to publish your post as a draft to your blog and do online editing.

The killer feature of this tool is that, you can add as many blogs as you want, write on them at the same time by instant switching from one to another.

WLWw

The Interface.

The Windows Live Editor Instant Preview HTML Source

Like every Microsoft product, it’s quite user friendly. In one window, you have every tab to comfort you, and also, it allows you to opt for multiple windows for different blogs. It’s very light. There is a side bar, which is basically useless, because the utilities on the sidebar are also present on the task pane. You can always remove the side bar. The feel is awesome. The light blue menu bar is nice and you can always change it’s color according to your mood. You can add plug-ins from windows gallery to suit your needs but that might ruin the light experience.

The Bad.

The major drawback of Writer is that you can not add pages to your blog using writer, it only gives you an option to create new posts. Repetitive menus in the interface irritate. I mean, the menu options on the menu bar under different menus are the same ones on the task pane and the side bar. As you publish your post, it doesn’t appear publicly until you update it on your blog; this happens with Wordpress. Though works flawless with Live space. On other blogs, I am yet to figure. Another thing that is bothering me is the preview with blogger, it’s showing a comment and Shivi’s name as the author of this post. Though preview works fine with all other blogs.

The Conclusion.

I will give a Seven out of Ten to this product. Try it and tell me what do you think of it. You can download it here for free. For my Linux and Mac friends, I will find something like this for you and review it, not accidently though.

Anyway, talking so much about windows and Microsoft reminds me of Office. Did you guys try MS Office Beta 2010? Found anything new? Okay, I am not a MS fangirlboy. :)

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Patch Up!

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This season is going to witness patch works as a major trend. Not only is this a picturesque trend due to possibility of seeing ample joyous colors , but also because it saves material while construction.

The number of panels/patches you have in your outfit, the scope of utilizing waste area of the fabric also increases[ well that may be from a designer's view because we believe in cost cutting] ,yet present trend supports our effort. :)
Seeing this in another perspective-
Biggest problems in our lives can be solved if we try and break it in small pieces and then solve it. Patching up can heal wounds effectively!

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11 minutes-Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho,on every other book of the author you would see the quote "from the internationally bestselling author of The Alchemist".Before Eleven Minutes,the other two books I had read were The Alchemist(quite obvious!!) and 'The Witch of Portebello'.I admired reading both the books and with this one in my hands,I expected a real good read and luckily for me Coelho delivers.


Eleven Minutes is a work by the author aimed to explore the sacred nature of sex and love.Maria: A young Brazilian villager,who is ambitious enough to chase her dreams ;the protagonist narrates the story and I must say narrates it beautifully.The diary entries of the girl who choses her profession to be a prostitute are realistic enough to connect to the nerves of the reader.

The other half of the story is the character 'Ralf',a man who tasted success early in his life.The character who is expected to be happy but ironically who is not, has been portrayed brilliantly.The novel runs around these two characters searching their happiness,their sexuality ,their soul.
The story progresses with the meeting of these two in a coffee shop,where Ralf the acclaimed painter,acknowledges the 'light',that he saw in Maria and later through the conversation of these two ,Coelho delivers the message of the natural need of LOVE.

The strength of the novel lies in the perfection of the author with which,he has dealt the sensitivity of the theme.From page one to the end,the book connects to the reader and he /she reads it as Maria.The natural poetic flow of Coelho's work is worth appreciation too.

Weaknesses though rare to find, yet after reading it,if you analyse in terms of real world,such thinking prostitutes and painters are not the characters around you.The story is a very well written fiction ,yet plays no role in improving our daily lives.

Reading this piece of work is itself an opportunity, as the preciseness in Coelho's writings in showing the world from a woman's point of view is touching.

Mentioning the threats,the book deals with a mature topic and many would not agree with the point of view of Maria/Coelho. A bit less realistic,some may find the story ,but still a MUST READ.




Some quotes that made it into my diary from 11 minutes..
  • How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanquish so quickly?
  • Sometimes you get no second chance and that it’s best to accept the gifts the world offers you.
  • If I must be faithful, I have first of all, to be faithful to myself.

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The 'in' thing

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  • Fashion is as integrated and blended into the cup of social circumstances that any trivial fact also, gains a sporadic momentum to influence creators, appreciators, and shoppers at once.
  • Young Fashion today is governed by functionality adding touch to the luxury par excellence value.
  • Present season can witness some noticeable changes. With global economy tumbling down, the clothing styles have also sashayed to bare minimalism and simple straight lines. The preppy youth fashion moves away from the ubiquitous romanticism of last few seasons.
  • Silhouettes are simple , straight cut, hemlines have decreased more, minis have become the next ‘it’ thing. The layering and buoyancy have been replaced with neat-tailored structured clothing. More innovative yet creative direction deepens its interest for round yet tapered shapes for comfort, using high performance fabrics.
  • The color trends have also been averted to evergreen pastels, muted shades and neutrals and deliberate negligence of bold outlandish shades.
  • It’s the reviving time, announcing the ethno- street transversalities, extra sueded softness or black-electric shine. Movement is the key concept, full of nostalgic and visionary √©lans.
  • Classics are given a fresh spin with natural sophistication that flaunts sobriety and simplicity, with the re-vitalizing boost to the basics.
  • The revival of old decades like 80’s, 70’s is clearly evident in power dressing suits, archaic inspiration, diligently combined with chaotic flow.
  • The 3-d effect is all over the paradox with, precision as the key ‘mantra’
  • The melodramatically exaggerated looks have been cut down to a personalized version with a space of one’s own. In a way this paves way for greater scope of creative innovation.
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A chauvinist government for a chauvinist state by chauvinist people

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Bhai saheb, ye ladies seat hai, please chod denge?”, asked a frail exhausted woman to a stout man snoring on a seat reserved for ladies. The man ignored for a while, but could not stand her gaze for long. He said casually, “Ye interstate bus hai, isme ladies seat nahi hoti.” The lady pointed to the sticker with red text written on it and said, “Bhaiya, wahan likha hua hai.” “Likha hone se kya hota hai, aisa nahi hota hai. Utha sakte ho to utha do mujhe seat se, jao conductor ko pooch lo.” To inform all those people who do not know what a DTC bus conductor is like- He is a middle aged man with grey hair and white moustache, with a bunch of tickets and a money bag in hand. No one has ever seen him standing or walking. No matter how crowded a bus is, his favourite line is, “Bus itni khali hai, aaplog aage kyun nahi badhte?”. This is all a DTC conductor does. This is how a journey from Delhi to Gurgaon and Gurgaon to Delhi is most likely to be. I do not know what the Haryana Government has to say about the reservation of seats for ladies but the people really show how chauvinist they are and how chauvinist their state is turning into. Reservation of seats is not an issue (I am not talking of reservation of Lok Sabha seats. It’s a different matter altogether though I wonder people who don’t like to get up from their seats even for senior citizens, pregnant women, handicapped and women with child, how are they going to step down to give way to women politicians to take such important positions); women are not weak and they can travel for hours at a stretch standing in a bus but a woman standing in a crowd is more prone to misbehavior and teasing by fellow male passengers. Every five or ten minutes, a girl screams on a male passenger either for leaning on her or touching her.

Haryana has a sex ratio of 861 females per 1000 males, the lowest in India (according to 2001 census). While walking down from Udyog Vihar to the border, I often turn around and find I am the only girl walking on the road. I prefer taking a rickshaw even for small distance but often I find them either demanding more money or drunk (thanks to the liquor shops everywhere in Gurgaon just like small hanuman temples built in every nook and corner in small towns). Even in buses, half of the population is drunk and the bus stinks like a rotten gutter.

One unfortunate day, I waited for a DTC bus for more than an hour but in vain. I decided to cross the road and take a bus to the main bus stand. As the bus was moving along the innards of the city, away from the chaotic traffic deadlock at the IFFCO chowk, I could experience a city just like Delhi until I encountered some movie posters on the walls .It was an adult movie (may be an A+ grade movie) and I was taken aback at the insensibility of the people who dared to put up such kind of crap on public walls (in the same country where FTV was banned for 10 days for showing topless models). The posters had vulgar titles and explicit pictures.

A disclaimer- I do not mean to say that no reservations, high density of liquor shops and A grade movie posters are reasons for the low sex ratio of the state. Low sex ratio simply reveals the narrow mentality of people which is cemented by such policies and systems. It is like provoking a wild beast to the extent of madness. The abovementioned incidents are few observations that I made during my internship and project period while traveling from Delhi to Gurgaon.

References:

http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_glance/fsex.aspx
http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/dtc-buses-c350643.html
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090928/main7.htm
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Sultry Days

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A bit about the Author
Shobha De,the author of the book holds a personality that is typically 'politically incorrect'.Being critical and bitchy about everything is her genre.A well established journalist known for her magazine works in Stardust,Society and Celebrity and her explorations of the social life of celebs;Her TOI editorials also features her typical 'political incorrect' views over current happenings,events,people,situations or films and have been worth reading.


Review
Sultry days is a fiction written around a character Nisha who portrays sort of a no ambition girl;a character very much lost and confused.Nisha narrates the whole story which starts from her late college days ,when she is infatuated by GOD.The author has very falsely tried to generate some thrill by using 'God' as a character.God here is no one but just a 'I know it all' college dude.De has tried hard to portray Deb(God's real name) as hero of the plot,but has failed miserably ,in doing so.Throughout the book,the lack of flow,the lack of the poetic touch and the lack of anything to which a reader can connect is felt quite much.
The story progresses,with Nisha and Dev coming closer and struggling to find their spots in their respective lives.Nisha's workplace is an advertisement firm ,which the author has used as a plot to give a view of the ad-world.De talks about various people associated with Deb's workplace which is some art related work in a magazine.Both places have been described through a flurry of characters.A very distinct and rather call it dismal feature of the book is that in every ten pages you read,two new characters have been introduced which almost do nothing at all in the progress of the story.
The overall analysis of 'Sultry Days' suggest nothing at all sultry about it.

The cover photograph of an appealing model and the epilogue ,which is very much catchy can be sarcastically taken as positives out of the book.
Quoting from the epilogue "On a sultry rainy day,Nisha an impressionable teenager,meets GOD in college canteen ad falls in Love.......". There is not even one percent of the fiction inside of what the epilogue promises.
Mentioning the threats,if you choose this one for your weekend read,you ll neither be reading a good fiction nor it ll be causing any value addition to yourself.

Avoid reading it,if possible.

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iPad: The Digital Stone

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It has been a month to the launch of Apple's iPad, which was to much fanfare. Like every techie, I was excited about it and after a month I know what it is, actually. I find it a simple enabling platform. Those who have the iPhone or iPod Touch, know what it's like. Of course, the iPad's got a much larger screen, sleek and sexy looks, a faster processor, and even 3G, but in the end it's just a bigger iPod Touch.

The only difference is, iPod's ability to fit right into your pocket. Can you see yourself grabbing an iPad while you dash out your front door? Not me. It's big.

The big critical point about the iPad, is the fact that it can't multi-task. Like the iPod Touch and the iPhone, you can only run one application at any given time. It has a powerful CPU on the inside, but still the iPad is crippled because of its operating system, which happens to be the same operating system behind the iPhone. Fundamentally, if you already have a notebook and an iPhone, the iPad will have a difficult time finding a place in your daily routine. And if not, you will find it too closed to use. How? Will tell you.


But first Let's all say it together now: no multi-tasking? What the bleep?


Talking Candid now.


More than a tablet, the iPad is a console, in every sense of the word. The real money maker for Apple, is the App Store, iBook store, and iTunes store. The iPad will capture the audiences that the iPhone/iPod Touch wasn't, and then some. It'll also capture the core Apple audience too.

Coming to the closed thing. The iPad is a closed system. You can't do anything you want to it. Yes, you heard it right. Apps must be from the App Store. Like an SNES, or a PS3, software must be sanctioned. Plus, you can play only one game at a time, just like a console. It has no usb port, no cam, no slot card and neither can you e-ink. What the heck?

Truth be told, the software used is diappointing. Given that the iPad is a tablet, we can consider that it doesn't have a keyboard. But not to be able to let its owner run more than one app is a major disgust. The OS could have been so much more for the tablet. What the iPad should have shipped with, was OS X, with a tablet designed UI--not a tablet, with the iPhone OS.

No doubt, there are some instances where the iPad can deliver some unique uses. For many mainstream users who either just chat, email, or browse, the iPad may be OK. But for power users who love their software and want to get things done, there are alternatives at 23K.

So, iPad is a 3/10 product for me. For you, think, consider and decide yourself.

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