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August 15, 2016

11 Cool Collectibles For the Desi Hoarder

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

Handpicked souvenirs from the land of spirituality and philosophy..

The West’s fascination with India commenced in the Dark Ages and has endured till date, and Coldplay and Major Lazer coming down to shoot kaleidoscopic videos against rustic landscapes is testament to this.

To an outsider, our country has the allure of a newly discovered planet composed entirely of carbonated diamond and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. This has created a huge market for the souvenirs industry which thrives on the insatiable need of every tourist to have at least one knick-knack from India. This Independence Day, Verve picks a few items that are a winning combination of old-world charm and contemporary design. Also ideal for ‘these would be so nice to gift my friend who is down from Honolulu but I like them too much to part with them’ moments.

Chirag Dhuni and incense holder
Entering the house of an Indian family after dusk almost always means that you will be greeted with the stimulating scent of incense. Designed to hold burning charcoal and powdered resins, the traditional chirag dhuni, also known as a fumer, celebrates the ancient tradition of using fragrant smoke to attract positive energy. Its humbler counterpart, the incense holder, has been reimagined as a visually appealing frangi leaf complete with a little slot to hold the agarbathi.

Where to get it: Chirag dhuni at Good Earth and incense holder at Nicobar.

Kulhar
A visit to an Indian household is incomplete without the mandatory tea session. However, the modern teacups are incapable of outrivaling the modest kulhar during good ol’ tattle-time. A contemporary spin on the time-honoured tea paraphernalia, these new-age ones will lend a sort of breezy familiarity to your tea conversations.

Where to get it: Nicobar, No.3 Clive Road and Happily Unmarried.

Chai
If we’ve covered the kulhar, the chai can’t be far behind. Indians are sticklers for good quality brews which is evident from the varied decoctions that are famous in different parts of the country. The Kashmiri kawa from the Earth’s very own version of paradise is understandably heavenly. Served in this slick sugar milk stack, you’ll have your guests requesting for more!

Where to get it: No.3 Clive Road.

Spice Box
Indians have loved their spices since the beginning of time. The heady aromas are an indication of scrumptious meals in the making and will have you in good spirits before you know it. Now imagine a spice box that holds candles that are born out of these very earthly smells. Exposure to the fragrances of abhidi (tea-tree), nisadi (cedar), nimrukti (clove-orange) and basil-lime will instantly transport you to a land of zen.

Where to get it: No-Mad.

Diya
For a country that is known for its festival of lights, a diya is an obvious requisite. Give the ancient clay versions a miss for this delicate leaf one with a lustrous antique brass finish. It comes with the guarantee of having more than your usual share of relatives drop by during Diwali, if only to compliment your astute taste in home decor.

Where to get it: Good Earth.

Jain Monk Bowls
These beautifully refined bowl-sets are a far cry from their original steel equivalents and are ideal collectibles for spiritualists. The white robed monks, after whom they’ve been named, renounce all worldly possessions as the ultimate test of asceticism. They travel only by foot with their bowls, humbly seeking followers who fill them with food. The beauty of the concentric set is that each bowl can be scooped out from the heart of the one before it. These bowls, called bhiksha patra, are carved from local rohida wood which is prized for its dense grain and strength.

Where to get it: No-Mad.

Bucket stool
Regional Indian movies are rife with rural inhabitants carrying the all-purpose steel bucket, covering great distances in search of water. The balti stool in ikat print is an endearing spin on the bucolic bucket and will make for fantastic conversation anywhere in your home. P.S. It comes with the handle!

Where to get it: Desi Jugaad.

Thali
The quintessential aluminium thali that is revered by Indians across the globe has been reinvented in the form of a colourful tray with plum stringing at the side for handles. At 45 cms, the thali is big enough to allow multiple members of the family to eat together from it. That’s taking ‘A family that eats together, stays together’ to a whole new level.

Where to get it: No-Mad.

Glass dispenser
This one is inspired by the earthen matki, except it won’t look out of place in your urban modular kitchen. The sparrow perched on top has a slot where a card can be placed if you can’t be bothered to enlighten the 25 guests at your party with the interesting contents of the dispenser individually.

Where to get it: Jaypore.

Garden Lanterns
A present-day rendition of the oil lamp, this minimalistic garden lantern doesn’t have the staid demeanor of its earlier version. In fact, the lamp is refined enough to keep indoors to add some mood lighting when you have guests over.

Where to get it: Nicobar.

Cushion covers
Nothing will proclaim your love for travel better than a set of cushion covers that are inspired by faraway Indian cities. One captures coconut pickers climbing up palm trees from the state of Kerala in colourful hues of fresh mint, lime, teal blue and coral. Another one represents the Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan where thousands of camels are brought to be traded.

Where to get it: Safomasi.

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