Friday, July 15, 2011

Sari's and deers amongst the ruins

Haus Khaz Village from across the lake.

Sunset from the office window. Photo: Nikhil Nair.

Photo: Nikhil Nair.

Photo: Nikhil Nair.

Hey Audrey!

I think you would really like Haus Khaz Village in  New Delhi. It is a trendy market, with lots of boutiques, art galleries, good restaurants and of course the offices of Ishan Khosla design,  set next to medieval ruins, constructed by Feroze Shah Tughlaq in 1352. And the park teams with deers ( I know how you loved your pet deer) and peacocks. How I'm going to miss  being in this special place, Audrey!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The space where Gandhi had his last meeting before he was assassinated on his way to prayers. He lived as simply and unencumbered as possible.

Imagine: this is all he left behind in material things, yet his legacy has been infinite.

He was a prolific writer, these are a few of the books he wrote.

Khadi items are hand-made and sold at Gandhi Smitri.

Hey Audrey!

Audrey, I know that you were also a great campaigner for human rights, and liked to help people in need, for example in the work you did for Unicef. So, I'm sure you'll agree with me that Mahatma Ghandi was an insanely cool person.  I visited the Ghandi Smitri in New Delhi, the house where he lived the last days of his life and where he was assassinated in 1948. Here I learnt how strongly he believed in non-violence, in truth, in religious tolerance and economic self-reliance. He used methods of non-violent civil obedience to lead India to independance from British rule.  He was a vegetarian and only wore khadi clothing. This is clothing made from hand spun and hand woven cloth. He believed supporting this trade would uplift the poor, many of whose livelihood depended on spinning and weaving. He said: "Economics that hurt the moral well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. Thus the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are immoral. It is sinful to buy and use articles made by sweated labour. It is sinful to eat American wheat and let my neighbour the grain-dealer starve for want of custom." Wise words, but not easy to live by. It's easier to forget that one had ever heard them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Auto Atchaaaar!

This gentleman was my favourite. He was the first to switch on his meter. This after I had given up on the idea that any drivers still did things the right way.

Hey Audrey!

I have been making much use of these autos these last couple of weeks. It's a bit like a lucky dip.  Sometimes there are many around, sometimes one has to wait a while before one comes along. Some know and take you exactly where you want to go, others pretend to know the address but then stop every 100 meters to ask for directions. Some politely switch on the meter and even offer change, others will argue for an unreasonable price. And sometimes you end up patiently waiting in the very long petrol queue in the middle of a very short trip. A lucky dip indeed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hello there Ishan Khosla Design

Anika and our cleaning lady waiting outside.

A display of the publications Ishan designed. The studio has the most beautiful inlaid stone flooring.

Studio with a view. That's the Deer Park outside.

Suresh gets coffee ready. 

Anika and Naina. The brooms were part of a project, check it out on their website.

Nikhil on the ball. Some of Ishans interesting collections are displayed on the shelf behind him.

Naina and I showing of our khurtas.

Ishan has shelves full of good design, marketing and photography books. Inspiration everywhere!

Remnants of the shared studio lunch. Everyone has a taste of everyone else's titbits. (Thanks Ishan for taking this photo!)

Hey Audrey!

I am spending some time working in a small but dynamic design studio in Haus Khaz Village, Delhi, called Ishan Khosla Design. Ishan prefers working on culturally relevant projects, (like the one creating scarves inspired by the fading flower markets of Delhi). He is a keen collector of all things interesting and quirky, and is a renowned photographer. His work is very much influenced by that which is unique to India. The studio is  a great place to work in. Naina is the kindest person. She studied design at the Bangalore campus of the National Institute of Design. She has the rare gift of remaining gentle and calm under pressure. Anika and Nikhil are interning here during their vacation. They have almost finished their degrees. Anika is studying at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi and has an addiction to chips, and Nikhil at the MIT Institute of Design in Pune, and he will grow on one like a virus. (Sorry Audrey, that's a bit of an in-joke.)  Suresh is the office manager and knows how to make coffee New York style.