What is total ? The final amount you get when several smaller amounts are added together.

Whatever you look at, if you add up you get a total. The total either brings you happiness or not. There is no in-between there.

The total is not always correct. It depends on where and how you look at it. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. These little drops are what count. In life it is the same. Little things are the ones that matter most.

It doesn’t matter if your husband or boyfriend does not buy you a mere for your birthday, but what matters is if he holds the door open for you everytime you get into his car.

It doesn’t matter if your mother does not visit you as often as you’d like, but what matters is that she cooks and is always waiting for you when you walk into her house.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t talk to your friend for 3 months, but what matters is that you can pick up from where you last left when you meet her for a cup of tea.

It doesn’t matter if you have a designer wardrobe, but what matters is that you feel comfortable, happy and good in what you wear everyday.

The total of these little things make up everyday life and this what matters most.









Volume is the perception of loudness that you can hear.

How many times have you waited for someone to reply to the message you wrote, but never received it?

How many times have you dressed up for someone, waiting to hear from them that you’re beautiful?

How many times have you waited for someone’s call, so that they make you feel happy?

How many times have you waited for someone to appreciate the work you’re doing, so it’s easier for you to continue doing it?

With the reply that never came, the compliment you didn’t hear, the phone call that wasn’t intended, and the appreciation that was held back – you and I, we lost our self-worth.

Since kindergarten, we began to associate our self-worth with the golden stars our teachers gave us. By middle school, this turned into how popular people thought we were and by college, we were living on the compliments we received, and the number of people who praised us.

And till today, we think that our worth is determined by the way others perceive us. Thus, we want our boss to happy with our work, we want our partners to constantly praise us, we want to be noticed, and we want to be appreciated.

Slowly, and gradually, this will harm us. Seeking approval and validation from others will change into a permanent, life-long struggle if we don’t start believing in ourselves.

Stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself – carefully. Speak to your reflection. Loud and clear. Turn up the Volume as much as you want.

Tell your reflection you are beautiful, you are strong. Tell your reflection that you appreciate yourself, that you love yourself. Tell your reflection that you want to make yourself happy. Tell your reflection that you’ll be there for yourself.

Because, sooner or later, we will realize that there is no one who will always be there for us, there is no one who can constantly praise us, appreciate us, and keep us happy. That is our job.

And that job begins by believing that we can help ourselves. It begins from today. Right now.

What is the Volume of the voice in your head that is telling you to believe in yourself and make a start NOW to be there for yourself before you expect anyone else to help you and be there for you ?



Uniform. Remaining the same in all cases and at all times; unchanging in form or character is what came to my mind when I saw this word now.

How utterly boring will life be if we were to remain the same in all situations. To respond the same to every situation. To remain uniform. This is unimaginable for me.Its giving me shivers even thinking about it.

It would be like an assembly in School where every word and every move is pre-determined and you are expected to follow the rule, like on auto-pilot, without even thinking about it. That for me was the most boring part of school and I still haven’t figured out why one had to start the day at school like that.

Responding and reacting to situations that everyday presents is what make life, life. If everyone’s response and reactions are uniform, then there is nothing that is exciting and it becomes very predictive. What makes life an adventure is the fact that you don’t know what to except, you don’t know how the people around you are going to respond, you are expected to go with the flow and respond to every situation differently. React where needed. Our reactions make memories which stay with us and the people around us for a long time and sometimes for ever.

Be as un-predictive as possible and enjoy the surprises that life throws at you.





Crisp is being firm, dry, and brittle.

Crisps is what the British call potato chips.

Crisp is a piece of toast that has crossed the fence of being well done and is beginning to get burnt.

Crisp is the sound and taste when you bite into a juicy apple.

Crisp is the cotton saree that has been freshly stratched and ironed.

Crisp is the dosa that is paper-thin.

Crisp are the fries that are well done and deep-fried in lots of oil.

Crisp needs to be bhelpuri, eat it fresh before it gets soggy.

Crisp are the words of my trainer when he pushes me to do crunches – no icing, no mixing of words, firm, dry and clear without any sympathy. How much do I love it and hate it at the same time ?





Something that is imaginary is created by and exists only in the mind.

What’s your happy place ?

A place where you can dance to the music in your mind.

A place where you can be with the one you want to share a chocolate ice-cream with at 2 am.

A place where you can swap outfits with your best friend and have a huge wardrobe.

A place where you feel contented and happy at all times.

A place where you can hum the tune in your heart and not get stared at for the sound of your voice.

A place where there is no room for stress.

A place where there is no space for worry.

A place where there is unlimited time.

A place where there is infinite possibilities.

A place where the ending of a movie can be change overtime you watch it.

A place where you can go back in time and relive your life.

A place where you are the height that you want to be without the aid of heels.

A place where you are not judged for your weight, age, sex and colour of your skin.

A place where you can have beach waves one day and straight hair the next and everyday is a good hair day.

A place where you can wear yellow nail paint and carry it off like its your second skin.

A place where you can pole dance.

A place where you are the winner of the 10K run.

A place where you are more than regular at the gm.

A place where your favourite song is playing everytime you turn the radio on.

A place where the love of your life never forgets to buy you flowers on your birthday.

A place where your best friend always picks up your call when you call her and is never too busy for you.

A place where you are with the love of your life on a private beach when you feel like you need a swim.

A place where you are bungee jumping from bridge into the water with your best friend hugging you.

A place where you walk into the sunset with the love of your life.


All these are happy places for me and all these and manymore are places that I enjoy visiting and revisiting.

I get to go to most of these happy places……………anytime I please.  Where everything looks and behaves the way that makes me feel beautiful and wonderful. My happy place is warm and colorful. I always have a smile on his face for sure.

I have created these happy places in my mind. These are imaginary places for now. I am firm believer in the saying…..

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”

What’s your happy place ?

Here’s how to differentiate between authentic products and fakes.

Mechanization of processes has led to an influx of fake handlooms and handicrafts in Indian markets. Here’s how to differentiate between authentic products and fakes.

Every individual handcrafted product has a unique story to tell. And yet, as the product moves through the value chain, this story gets buried deeper and deeper in the layers of time till eventually, it is lost to the world. This story is most often a reflection of the craftsman who poured himself into his handicraft. It may speak of the long hours that he laboured at his potting wheel, perfecting minute details by candlelight. Or it may convey the many miles that he had to walk to transport his deftly crafted goods to the nearest market. The story could hold a million possibilities. But by the time it reaches the customer, the artisan behind the handicraft is forgotten. And his story remains untold.

A fine example of the beauty that is created by the hands of artisans, Bandhani. Women artisans tie tiny knots or ‘bindis’ of fabric which is then dyed by a master artisan Today, fewer artisans have stories to tell. With the advent of globalisation and virtual markets, new markets have unfolded overseas. This also means that skilled artisans from around the globe have seized the opportunity to meet a growing, global demand for their work.

For Indian handicrafts, however, international competition is hardly the problem. The real concern for homegrown artisans is the threat posed by colossal manufacturers who produce handicraft replicas en masse. These industrial bigwigs have the resources to keep abreast of customer trends, respond to them swiftly and deliver their products through the right distribution channels. The trouble is, these well-engineered replicas are marketed as original handmade pieces by these corporations. As a result, Indian artisans are losing market share, income and the niche they have worked so hard to create.

During our visit to Bagalkot, weavers tell us how they have been forced to shift to power looms and hence, most of the Ilkals in the market today are not handloom There are a number of sectors that have been straining under the pressure of the ballooning counterfeit craft industry.

Varanasi, for instance, has long held a place on the world map as the cradle of Banarasi brocade. While the Uttar Pradesh government has not released any statistics about the weaving industry or its size in Varanasi today, one report suggests that the town is home to approximately 5,00,000 weavers. The 2011 census revealed that amongst these, only 51% are currently engaged in spinning and weaving. Today, only about 10% of weavers work on handlooms; the rest have abandoned it in favour of power looms. This hasn’t been an overnight phenomenon. This migration of workers started back in 2001, when India lifted quantitative restrictions on silk imports. This paved the way for Banaras to become a cesspool of cheap, Chinese silk yarn.

Chinese silk yarn is ideal for power looms. Composed of between 18 and 20 filaments, the thread flows easily through the machinery. Indian thread, on the other hand, contains only 10 to 20 filaments, making it more difficult to work with. But while Chinese silk may match the quality of its Indian counterpart, Indian silk is far more durable. Some Banarasi saris are even made in China, and are imported and sold in shops in Banaras. Mind you, the imitations are just as beautiful, and can bedazzle any customer with their vibrant colours and vintage motifs. You would never even know that it was made in a factory. Yet, the difference lies in the detail.

Handloom saris are inspired by Mughal designs, and feature handmade patterns like amru, ambi and domak. Saris made in factories cannot match this level of detailing and do not carry these traditional Persian motifs.

The reality is that a handloom weaver in Banaras typically takes about fifteen days to complete one sari, and his earnings in a month are just south of Rs. 4,000, hardly enough to sustain an individual, let alone a family. Ironically, the government has provided free electricity to power looms, and handloom workers have been relegated to the side lines. Since 2002, over 175 Banarasi weavers have committed suicide as a result.

Today, it is more lucrative for a weaver to share weaving techniques and skills with a power loom than to continue in his own profession. By sharing know-how about traditional patterns and weaving styles, he can earn more than if he were to weave a single sari.

The obscure town of Sualkuchi in Assam is the silk centre of the state. Its beleaguered silk industry, however, is struggling to survive. The influx of Chinese silk has hurt the small community. In September 2013, after realising that they needed to protect their interests and combat spurious silk imports, the weavers of Sualkuchi formed the Sualkuchi Tant Unnayan Samiti, a committee dedicated to prohibiting unscrupulous traders. But perhaps the efforts of the denizens of Sualkuchi were too little, too late. In 2007, the Association of Handloom Units released a report that announced that 60,000 Bodo households would lose income as a result of counterfeit products. The economic decline in the silk town has continued ever since.

The toy town of Channapatna, in Karnataka, has been similarly challenged by the invasion of China-made wooden toys in the country. In December 2015, the Lok Sabha acknowledged the harm done to the Indian toy industry as a result of Chinese imports. Toy imports increased at a compound annual rate of 25% between 2001 and 2012, a solemn indicator of how harshly local craftsmanship has been overthrown by Chinese automation. Although the central and state governments have taken steps to alleviate the downslide, they have not been very effective. The Karnataka government has allotted subsidised power and 254 houses to toymakers in the town. Yet, there are droves of workers who are still left unsupported. There are only around 1,000 artisans in Channapatna now, and the numbers are dwindling. Children of craftsmen are seeking livelihoods in other industries, and the Channapatna toy engine is slowing down. Channapatna artisans using the ‘gari’ leaves that give the naturally dyed colours a unique sheen. Be sure that you buy naturally dyed channapatna toys made by artisans from Channapatna and not the cheap Chinese imports that have flooded our market.

In May 2016, the Enforcement Wing of Quality Control Division, Directorate of Handicrafts directed raids in handicraft shops in Srinagar to validate the authenticity of their products. Handicraft stores in the valley have earned a notorious reputation for cheating tourists by selling them imitation versions of original handicrafts. Kashmiri Pashminas, in particular are adroitly replicated by power looms and are regularly passed off as originals at lower prices. Weavers in Srinagar and adjoining areas are witnessing a decline in the Pashmina shawl industry and, in the last twenty years, 90% of the women spinners have left the industry because manufacturers and customers have resorted to cheaper alternatives. Perhaps this collective undermining of artisanal skillsets is deep-rooted in something else. Urban perceptions towards handicrafts, for instance, are definitely worth examining. Market trends and preferences often shift based on conscious marketing strategies employed by brands. Large companies build brand consciousness through an array of promotional and advertising tools. Cottage industries, unfortunately, do not have the reach or the capital to employ these techniques, and get left behind in the mind of the customer. Some even consider handcrafted items too traditional, archaic even. Despite the effort and time entailed in crafting a single product, customers expect a low price. Cue, counterfeit products. Positioning handicrafts as novel, aspirational products, requires serious investment and effort. And it is the need of the hour.

The handloom provides a canvas to the weaver, a vision to do justice to their heritage, and the finer nuances during the weaving process make the handloom product irreplaceable. The tragedy is that even the greatest aficionados of handlooms and handicrafts are seldom able to differentiate between genuine handmade products and factory-made replicas. Take handloom for instance.

There are few ways to distinguish between authentic silk and synthetic polyester fabric. One way is by burning a single fibre from the cloth. If the thread leaves a plastic-like residue behind, you know you have a saree made of polyester. But a thread that vanishes entirely, without a trace, is testimony of pure silk or cotton fabric.

There are aesthetic differences too. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that handloom weaves, though meticulous, are not always even. In fact, that is one of the classic features of handloom; the diminutive difference between each thread. Also, when it comes to pure silk, handloom designs can get tremendously intricate. Artisans work arduously to weave minute details in their tapestries, a feat that machinery cannot parallel.

The government has taken certain measures to distinguish genuine products from spurious ones. Tags certifying authenticity have been assigned, based on industry. Handloom mark, Woolmark, Silkmark, Seal of Cotton and Craftmark correspond to the handloom, wool, silk, cotton and handicraft industries respectively. It is up to the customer to inspect a product closely to determine its origin. A good practice is to buy from organisations who follow Fair Trade Norms.

Artisans remain one of the lowest socio-economic classes in India today, and the community is shrinking rapidly. The onus lies on policy makers to strengthen the value chain, drive marketing programmes and empower artisans. Only then, will artisanal products earn the recognition that they deserve. In turn, the community of craftsmen in the country will flourish, and maybe someday soon, more artisans will have stories to tell.

As seen on India Kala