Monday, 24 September 2012

Shady Ideas

A quirky and quaint shop gives uniqueness to Ganpati designs

Ganesha Lampshade by Shady Ideas

One afternoon when architect Parvez was driving down Linking road he noticed some strikingly coloured lights in a small shop  outside Shopper’s Stop, Linking Road. He parked his car ahead and walked up to this small store. After looking around for five minutes he introduced himself. “ I couldn’t stop myself from coming here and I don’t care if I my car is towed. I love your stuff. I shall come back and so that I come back and you remember me you keep this money with you,”.  Parvez didn't purchase anything from that store, but stunned Carl Mascarenhas- the store owner by giving him Rs 1000! What was Parvez so enamoured about? Well, the array of exquisite paper lampshades that Mascarenhas sells. Apart from having an interesting product line, the shop also has a quirky name - Shady Ideas!

Ganesha by Shady Ideas
 It essentially started as a venture by four friends who got together to create unique handcrafted lampshades, one of them being the elephant god. “I just love the appearance of Ganesha,” says Mascarenhas, looking forward to this season to create one. His wife Jovita whose creativity is behind the look of much of the products, says, “It took us fifteen days to make the Ganesha lamps,’’. They use sleeper wood derived from the packaging industry which is refashioned to make the base of the lamps. Acrylic sheets are used from the display boards and handmade paper is recycled from the fabric industry into eye catching and stylish shades. Priti Machado, another member of the group, is instrumental in providing her pet peeve - the bright colours - to the products that make them really stand out. Her husband, Lloyd, provides the backend - he concentrates on expanding the business. So that  1000-rupee customer probably invested  his money because the “exclusivity” of the shades ranging from 850 onwards caught his attention.

Paayal Talwaar:)

This story was published in Bombay Times:)

Kandivali’s Clayderman

Amar Khandha

Amar Khandha’s mesmerizing piano creates a soulful harmony

Amar Khandha creates a soulful harmony on the Grand Piano
Dressed in a crisp, white formal blazerand polished shoes, Amar Khandha is found seated on a round stool at the Turf Club, Mahalaxmi. He is hitting the right notes from the grand piano, playing A.R. Rahman's Dichotomy of Fame, from the movie Rockstar. His team watches on, astound. They all are waiting for a sound-check but, Khandha is completely immersed.

“A.R. Rahman’s music is divine. His most unappreciated work too, is brilliant for me,”says the talented pianist and Kandivli resident. This 28-year-old ex-airline professional, with only a few months of formal training in Hindustani classical music, has managed to compose music for a variety of soundtracks. This gifted pianist has also performed for over 600 shows in the last four years.
His versatility and ubiquity have made him extremely popular at several wedding functions across Mumbai. He has travelled to various cities -- Udaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad,Surat, Hyderabad and Pune –playing the grand piano for various occasions.
He has also had the privilege to play at various corporate events and even high-profile ones where the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, was present.Khandha’s creative technique combined with his unique style (a blend of fusion and Indian classical), leads him to play at private residences of corporate bigwigs too. “Once at a grand reception, I played the grand piano for five hours continuously,” he smiles.
Khandha has also recently contributed music for a commercial Gujarati play, Mari LadiChaaleCheAadi. Among his list of achievements are composing music for the signature tune, website and caller-tune of Hira cement.

The musical journey
Khandha’s musical journey began in 2004, while fidgeting with the piano keys at the Malhar festival, at St.Xavier’s College. His interest led him to research and study this widely-used instrument. Soon, he mastered the art by ear. By November 2008, he bid goodbye to his airline job to enter the world of music. Since then, there has been no looking back.
Today, Khandhacollaborates with a flautist, saxophonist, tabla player and a violinist. It’s a fusion that creates entertaining and spell-binding performances.  His team ranges from five to at times,twenty-two musicians. “We create music by using Bollywood songs and giving them a unique, symphonic sound fused with diverse instruments,” says Khandha.

The Kandivali love
“Kandivali is very close to my heart. All the cutting chai stalls are my favourite hang-outs. They give me an earthy feeling. The masalas in the chai certainly have a direct creative connection with me,” says Khandha.
Other than the chai stalls, you will find him playing badminton regularly at the SCN Club. “Those two hours of play are just amazing because post that, I manage to compose soft-core melodies.”
Kandivali’s very own Richard Clayderman, as a music aficionado recently termed Khandha, now wishes to introduce his suburb to the concept of street music. “Like in the West, I too would love to perform as a street musician in Kandivali,” says Khandha, his eyes gazing at the sky, mesmerized by the sound of an aircraft taking off, “I aspire to play my lounge compositions inside the aircraft while take-off.” Meanwhile, we shall let his instrumental renditions sweep us off our feet.

This story was published in My Times Neighbourhood of Kandivali:)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Press ‘Like’ for Ganesha!

Deval Mehta with her tech savvy Ganesha

The upcoming Ganpati festival’s great pomp and splendor sees a large number of idols are made out of Plaster of Paris, which causes environmental damage. This year, several people are opting for eco-friendly idols -- unbaked natural clay, fibre or even recycled paper is being used.
There is a science behind creating Ganesha idols. Using one’s hands to make idols creates a spiritual emotion within oneself. That is what these people are experiencing in the creative process of their benevolent idols.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Are you a Toybanker?

Toys have been an integral part of our childhood. Dolls, airplanes and racing cars bring back cherished memories. That's the magic Toybank is trying to re-create for kids who aren't as priveledged as kids from affluent families.