Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pune Event Alert:Virasat Heritage Festival

My peeps in Pune, mark your calendars for a dose of culture, history and heritage.Virasat Pune Heritage Festival is an initiative by an NGO called Janwani (Voice of the people).

Janwani believes that Heritage, whether in the form of cultural legacy, history or inherited natural resources, is integral to urban development process as it inspires people of the city. Conservation is thus a tool for development. The Virasat Pune Heritage Festival stems out of this need for conservation.

Virasat Pune Heritage Festival is in its 4th year. It is a collective voice for preserving and promoting what is essential to the city. Every year the festival includes a variety of activities such as workshops, documentary film screening, lectures, exhibitions, heritage cycle ride, art competitions, campus tours, story-telling sessions for children and museum visits.

It is a unique festival that commemorates the World Heritage Day on the 18th of April. It is based on crowd funding with nearly 30 organizations across Pune offering activities (mostly free) that engage people with heritage and culture.

Here are a few details for those who wish to participate
  • Most Events require registration for logistical reasons and a few events have limited seats. There are some events that do not require registrations and people can just walk in and register on the spot.
  • For registrations, please use the link:
  • For the schedule, please use the link:
How can you help?  Those in Pune who want to be a part of this festival can also consider volunteering.
If you are not in Pune, and can't participate, but still want to appreciate the commendable efforts of Janwani, you could sponsor or donate.

Contact Janwani
020-25709256, 9013
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Friday, January 30, 2015

The Kids & I. Use your And

tamil penkal
According to renowned historians, women in ancient India were well respected and treated as equals by men. Apparently men and women received equal educations, and women had as much a say in important matters as the men. Women also chose their own husbands. I think this is true because the custom of swayamvara also prevailed then. What's more, there were no child marriages and women held many important roles, as well as became sages.

So, that brings us to the big question. What happened since then? Why have women been relegated to the lower rungs? What happened to good old fashioned respect for women? It's deplorable that the status of women has sunk so low since, and I can think of tons of reasons why. But let's not dwell on that. Let's look ahead and accept these fundamental truths.

I am participating in an activity called #useyourand (freeing a woman from shackles and stereotypes) and I have been asked to blog about this. But I think I am going to diverge slightly.

  • First of all, gender equality is distorted
Women are out there storming the corporate world and ensuring that they are bigger, greater, smarter, more successful than men. There are others who have no choice - they go out to work anyway, from their little rundown homes in slums and gullies, quietly winning the family loaves. So these are 2 extremes - one by choice, the other by compulsion, both doing a brilliant job. There are other women in the middle, also doing similar stuff. That's great!

But, what's sad is, that all these kinds of women in all probability come back home to their chores, ensuring that their families have a hot meal, and sometimes to mountains of laundry and cleaning. They may have different means to get these chores done, but they do it. If they mind, that's their problem.

But who are we kidding? Do you think these women, especially the corporate babes who are working out of choice, are really equal to men? Not in my opinion!

Equality? Oh sure! So what really is equality then? In my opinion, we are equal only when the men and people in our life acknowledge that we are! The modern woman has equality, she doesn't need to be given it! Get it? While I think it is horrible that modern women who go out of the house to earn a living are also expected to "work" indoors and get that meal on the table, this is surely not equality. Equality is helping your spouse, and working together on the household chores. Equality is more about respect, mutual understanding and giving as much as receiving, for both genders.
  • Our kids need a childhood, period!
What I am really concerned about is, that both these sets of women also come home to kids. Precious little innocents who need your time and attention, and not the power you wield in the corporate world, or the pittance you earn because your husband refuses to provide for the family.

When you accept children in your life, aren't you also accepting that they will come first for the next 18 years or so? Let's leave the woman who has no choice but to work and provide for her family out of this issue now. Let's move on to the other women - the corporate bigwig, the one working to prove that she is equal to men, the one who is out there to prove something to herself, but sadly, neglects her kids.

I am not generalizing here. I know there  are lots of women out there who do a great job at both their roles, and are raising wonderful children...they seem to be happy, they seem to have it all! But I am talking about the majority of women who are so stressed, they don't have time for their families, and in fact resent the time that is demanded of them. Does this look like equality to you? 

Childhoods come just once! Ensuring that your kid enjoys his or hers is the greatest gift. Kids need one stay-at-home family member - gender equality means not saying that person is going to be the mother. It can be anyone, but not a daycare of a hired help. A few hours a day, maybe but not the entire day. This is what you owe your kids  - not money, not power, not the ability to buy them gadgets, not how high you have climbed the ladder of success, leaving them looking forlornly up at you.

So why am I talking about #useyour& if I have nothing positive to say?

But I do. I am saying...

No. Labels. Please
Today's woman knows she has a voice, a say. She knows she can stand up for herself - not in defiance, or even to prove a point. It's simply her right. It's her right to choose to stay at home and bring up her kids without feeling under-utilized and un-loved. It is also her right to choose to go out to work and storm the corporate world. It is her right to do something in between if she wishes to - maybe freelance, sure.  And it's her right to do something more - maybe moonlight? Why not?Maybe break into a male domain such as captain a ship or be a courier girl! The point is, it's her choice, and it's important that she be respected for it.But that's not to say that's all she will become - a corporate go-getter, a housewife, or a sweeper, a courier girl, an auto-driver? These are professions, not labels. No labels please.  I am saying, it's alright to succeed, but don't forget you are a woman first. If you have kids, don't forget those innocent faces even during your most glorious moment of professional success! Being a good parent is the biggest success in the world!

 Put the & back into Unders***ing and a whole lot of other words.
Woman! Put the & back into your life. StAND up confidently. Don't worry about the what if's and who will sees?  Don't limit yourself. You are never too old to get an education, never too young to take a life decision, never too old to dance, or too young to travel on your own. The list is endless. But you get the drift. Don't wait to be taken. Go! Free yourself. Save the world and Save the girl child! No expectations - just one. Don't compromise on your kids' happiness.

My 'and' Story is pretty simple - I work a few hours everyday as a blogger, content strategist, features writer(sometimes I spend that time learning) and I also am a full-time mom. I can confidently say that I take on what I can, and try to be there for my kids.

The. Kids. Come. First. & I come next!

I know how to usemyand. Now tell me how you #useyourand.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Indian Jewelry Project


Yesterday I spoke about Puja Bhargava's exquisite jewelry brand Lai.

Now, Lai is not the only thing Puja is involved with. She has initiated the Indian Jewellery Project (IJP), which she says, is essentially is an attempt to crowd source the visual history of Indian jewellery through personal archives of families. Doesn't that sound interesting? And what exactly does this mean?

Anyone can contribute photos (with emphasis on the jewellery worn there in) from their family albums to compile what Puja hopes, with time, can become a big enough source of reference as to what kind & how jewellery used to be worn in days gone by. It can be a cause for delight and inspiration too, and I commend Puja on this initiative. 

Here are some of the submissions IJP has already received.

Source: Anu Varma from My Dream Canvas blog Description: This image is of my Nani, Mrs Kusum Sinha. She belonged to a prominent Kayastha Family of Bihar. This photograph was taken in Feb'1939 by my Grandfather RK Sinha. He was an avid photographer & had a dark room ("photo karma") & printed his photographs at home. She is wearing is a bright wine red Benarsi tissue sari, gold & Kundan matha patti, 4 tiered Jhumka in gold & minakari & kundan kadas. The kadas & earrings have been passed down to me.

Source: Prema Rangappa. Decr: I live in Bangalore, Karnataka. The jewelry piece on display is a gold chain with a "padhaka" ( In Kannada). Padhaka translates to pendant. The pendant is typical in South India, consisting of red stones and pearls. The piece was made on order around 1970.

How can you contribute? Simply upload an old picture of your grandmother/ mother/ a relative wearing a striking piece of jewelry along with a little narrative about who they are, information about the jewelery/ its religious or cultural purpose if any, or any other details, such as what the occasion was. So if you have a picture of your family heirlooms worn by your ancestors, do participate in this unique project.

Pic credit: The first pic was contributed byJoy Deshmukh-Ranadive. It is in fact a brass pendant worn by her mother.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Lai Jewelry by Puja Bhargava Kamath

PBS-7311-R Samarkand collection For details write to

Puja recently wrote in to me introducing her jewelry brand Lai (there's a musical connotation to this catchy name, and  it also means the beloved one in Sanskrit). I loved her work so much, that I wanted to share her story and product images with you!
Puja Bhargava Kamath at work

Lai's designs while being chic and contemporary are rife with historic and cultural inspirations that stem from Puja's fascination with different world cultures, textiles, art and architecture. What makes this brand all the more lovable is that it subscribes to the Fair Trade principles. Their website says,
"...the craftsmen work under respectable conditions, are adequately reimbursed for their labor and an overall transparent pricing policy is followed. So every time you buy or gift a Lai- you are guaranteed an ethical purchase!"

An Accessory Designer from India, Puja moved to California 2 years back. She describes Lai as an indie silver jewelry brand under which she designs & manufactures unique, culturally inspired collections of handcrafted jewelry. 

On the Lai website, I loved the way jewelry was displayed next to an inspirational image like this one. It immediately puts you in the context about what outfits go with the piece, how dramatic or how low-key your look can be while wearing a particular piece!
PB-9147-ER. Pearl collection. For details write to
From the Pearl collection
The Black & White Collection  For details write to
The Black and White Collection
PBS-7247-ER Samarkand collection  For details write to
From the Samarkand collection
PBS-4532-P  Mehndi collection   For details write to
from the Mehendi collection
PB-9179-ER. Pearl collection. For details write to
From the Pearl Collection

As you can see, the collections are one-of-their-kind and exquisitely crafted.Puja has won several design awards including those from DeBeers, World Gold Council & Perles de Tahiti. For Lai customers, the relationship with the brand is strong and engaging, often sharing their Lai moments with Puja and seeking advice on how best to carry off a particular piece. Puja says this makes the tremendous effort she and her team put into the jewelry totally worth it!

Find out more about Lai and their exquisite jewelry on their website

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Aromatherapy for your Interiors: on the Portico blog today


Today, I am at Portico India's Fashion@Home blog talking about aromatherapy playing a dual role - on the one hand it offers pleasant fragrances and on the other it can play on the psyche of visitors and guests, letting them believe that your home is actually bigger/ more beautiful/ cleaner than it actually is!Yes, it really can!

The article has suggestions on the kind of aromas to use in your entryway, living room, dining and kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.

So hop over to the Portico blog and read all about it.  Don't forget to leave me a comment or questions!

pic via

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Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Home Interior Trends for India

What has the new year got in store for your home? Whatever it is, you can make it superlative because this post will help you stay ahead!

Go local, yet world-style

In home interiors, the trend is to go local in make, yet world-style in design. Yes, kantha work on a bedsheet, chikan work on curtains - all this is common, but the world-style will ensure that you will patronize designers who hire local kaarigars, but use an international style. In other words totally Indian, but without looking over-the-top Indian!

kantha curtains
Kantha curtains from Shané Krüger's Pinterest board
Brass is forever!
It's making a huge comeback, so buy brass where you see it, and you are going to see it a lot! From kitchen taps to drawer handles, from pots to light fixtures, brass is oh! so Indian, and will also add that touch of sophistication to your home!

Skultana Brass Flower Pots | Gardenista
Pic via 
Up-cycled and hand-made

Upcycling and handmade are not just fashion trends, they are necessary choices to make this year! In 2015 we will see a huge boom in upcycled products, and you could either buy them, or Do It Yourself! Here are some examples!

Vintage Metal and Wood Doors

...are now quite the rage! You could just paint your existing door a nice vintage color (I prefer blue!), go Mediterranean, or buy/ order new stuff but remember to order local!

Minimalist Luxury
In the luxury home decor segment, the trend is to splurge yet keep it minimalist with a strong urge to display one's ethnicity subtly! This is a huge deviation from the plush colors and crowded interiors that were earlier popular.
white minimalist house with indian accessories 2 » White minimalist house very well with Indian accessories white minimalist house with indian accessories 3 » White minimalist house very well with Indian accessories
Both the above pics are via

Village blue (Firoze) is making a huge comeback in accent pieces or one-window/door decor. I am not very optimistic of the color of the year Marsala trending in India this year, though it does lend itself to an arresting statement on accent pieces.This year, accent walls in the popular colors are going out. If  you do see accent walls, be prepared to spot them in unusual colors such as these

OH SO PRETTY IN HOT PINK accent rich walls + art - "10 Colorful India Inspired Interiors" -
from Paint and Pattern

Wow! I've got the yellow wall and the kathakali painting... what else
From, Preethi Prabhu's Yellow wall

Dutzi Design in Valladolid, Mexico
via Lonny...Ariane Dutzi's Retail Space
So are you ready to rock this year? I urge you to go local, upcycle, use old, wherever possible..It's quaint, it's trendy and it saves our planet!
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About Me

Hi ! I'm Sharon.

I am so glad you are here visiting. The Keybunch is primarily a decor blog, but it's lovingly peppered with lifestyle and food posts.

I am most inspired by simple spaces that have evolved, or speak of their owner's creativity. I also adore old homes and antiques, possibly because I am from Mangalore, and my decor sensibilities are highly influenced by the colonial style of architecture that I was exposed to, growing up.

Do spend some time reading my posts. I have a search feature right at the top, that lets you search within this blog. I have also made separate drop down lists of my home tours, book reviews and the carnivals that we have hosted here.

I would love to hear from you. Email me your home pics, or DIY ideas to

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