Wednesday, May 27, 2020

An Ode to My Grandfather and his Photography!!

As you can clearly see from the date, this post has taken me a few days to pen down. Whenever, I have to write about something extremely personal it takes me longer to write down my thoughts. While, this is a lifestyle blog, it is also my online diary. It is a space where I share my passion for interiors, travel and photography. My home is greatly influenced by those who came before parents and my Grandparents. Today, I am writing about my maternal grandfather. It is one of my biggest regrets that I never got to meet my grandfather as he passed away at a very young age. He was only 50 when he died. However, his legacy has stayed on with me through the stories my mom shared with me. As I look around my home, many of my prized possessions belonged to my grandmother and him.

My Nana was a man with varied interests. Nana loved cooking and photography. My mom recently shared some of his photography with me. I have some of his photographs and I plan to frame them for my home.

He had a vegetable garden in his sprawling home where he loved to grow salad leaves and herbs that were not so easily available in the market. The image below is of the vegetables from his garden. A brilliant photograph in my opinion. This image dates back to 1959-60 and was taken with a Rollieflex camera. There is something so compelling and beautiful about black and white photograph, don't you think ?

I am completely besotted by this image. A wonderful composition and the vegetables look absolutely fresh and crisp :) In my quest to know more about him and his passion for photography, I asked my mom to share some stories about him.

In my my mom words........

"Papa it has taken me five decades since you left us to write this . You left us much too soon, you were just 51 and I was mere 21. Life changed for us that day forever . There is not a day when have not thought of you. It is Arundhati  (my daughter in law) who inspired me with her brilliant suggestion to pen down my thoughts in letters to you. Anu insisted that I start writing about one of your favorite hobbies and pastime, Photography for her blog . So here goes......

I, like all daughters, think that there is no one like you. You are my idol and my inspiration . It is difficult to be objective but there is no denying that you were a perfectionist in whatever you did. Though a student of Physics, your interest ranged from academics to sports, arts, crafts , gardening and above all photography. For me and my siblings our favorite treat was to assist you in the “Photo Kamra" (Dark Room). You were a patient teacher.You always explained each of the steps, from developing negatives, making contact prints, enlarging photographs, the process of drying and even finishing them. What was fascinating for us was gently rocking those large trays with the magical liquids and to see the images emerge as the stop watch ticked and signaled us to stop. You waited anxiously every month for the post to bring in your favorite magazines from overseas. Amateur Photographer and Popular Photography were some of these magazines . Your prized possession and the envy of your photographer friends was the annual issue of Wallace Heaton‘s Blue Book which catalogued from A to Z the latest in the field of photography. Underlying all this was your desire to be the best and now I do feel that you were always competing against yourself. Amma, my mother, always remembered your two month stay in Wimbledon in London in 1962. You made two trips a week to Wallace Heaton, a photography store on Bond Street. It was not so much for shopping but more to interact with other keen photographers. You enjoyed discussing the latest trends and the nuances of photography. You made many contacts and kept constantly in touch with these friends discussing photographic trends and innovations. 

Today, when I see the brilliant large images on the billboards along the road shot with an iPhone, I am awestruck by the progress in technology. I remember your heavy camera bags with the cumbersome telephoto and wide angle lenses, filters, lens hoods, exposure meters etc. etc. Our home was like a mini studio with flash guns, lights, reflectors and screens. Knowing you, you would have kept up with the times time and enjoyed seeing these new innovations. You had an array of cameras. While you had your the favorites like Leica and Rollie which you held on to for ever. You had others like Pentax, Zenith, and Nikon that changed with time. For quick snapshots you even got the tiny Minolta 16 , but your favorite was always the SLR. Your interest was also in shooting 8mm movies and the favorite was the Bell and Howell Camera along with a projector. We loved the home movies.  The special ones were the ones with us as babies, our riverside picnics and our innumerable road trips.

There were some priceless movies shot by you like the inauguration of the Constituent assembly in Delhi in 1946. Also the signing of the Constitution of India in our home in Patna. My Baba (grandfather) was unwell. He was the first Interim President of the constituent assembly but he could not travel to Delhi for the ocassion so it had to be signed in our home. We enjoyed  Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and the Abbott and Castello movies. Those evenings were so special. Our movie watching included freshly home made potato chips or chana jor garam along with a glass of orange Squash or a scoop of home made ice cream:)  My greatest regret is that  I do not have copies of the brilliant photographs taken by you. However, the  memories live on in my mind. Those were such beautiful days and Amma and you made it so special for us." 

Thanks mom for sharing Nana's story with me on MDC.

Here is another gorgeous photograph by him. This was his entry for a photography competition. The sandals belonged to my Nani and I believe the sandals were bought in Tokyo in 1960 by a close family friend. The model here is his niece!

Last, but not the least, is this historical photography taken by my Nana in December 1946 in Delhi. He accompanied his father to Delhi to attend the inauguration of the Constituent Assembly. This is a picture of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India and the first Governor-General of independent India (1947–1948). With him is Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of india.

I was clearly awestruck when I first saw this photograph :)

I am on a hunt to find more of his photographs. I love collecting memories and stories from the past. Writing this post has inspired me! I will now commit to using my SLR more to take pictures instead of my phone.

This is a photograph of my Nani ( grandmother) taken by him that I have at home. Apparently, he called out to her, she turned, and he took this candid shot of her:) I love the fact that I have this picture of my Nani taken by him. She was my most favorite person in the world!!

Signing off is a proud Granddaughter :)  My Grandfather was a truly remarkable man and I am grateful for his stories, his photography and his legacy.

Images: Copyright My Dream Canvas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Aakanksha's Wo Gharwali Feeling

Home tours are so exciting! Here's one that recently caught my eye. I spent some time thinking about the title, about how to introduce this home ,but then I realized that Aakanksha has summed up her style and her home so aptly by calling it "Wo Gharwali Feeling". Simple and yet so effective , it means "that feeling called home". Our homes are personal to us. They are the safe haven we feel most relaxed in. It evokes feelings that are filled with joy and happiness. 

After leaving India nearly 20 years ago, my home is also a slice of my childhood that I have kept with me here in the United States. Aakanksha's description of her home and her nostalgia for Delhi is something I instantly connect with. Read about Aakanksha's "gharwali feeling" in her own words....

"I have only recently started documenting my experiments in home decor on Instagram and am pleasantly surprised and eternally grateful for the (mostly) positive response. I moved to the US 10 years back and as it usually is, it has not been a smooth sailing always. From yearning to move back to India to almost moving and then deciding to stay put in the US, it has been roller coaster ride for sure. My home has seen me thru these different phases and evolved along with me. It has a transitional feel where I am trying to achieve a balance between the traditional and modern elements of design. Growing up in Delhi, my childhood home was filled with all-wood furniture and a lot of natural light. Those are the two elements that you will find extensively in my home in California as well. I love how a place is instantly grounded by richly stained wood and how it comes alive with natural light. I gravitate towards a more neutral palette as it is the perfect canvas for me to experiment - a simple backdrop not screaming for attention, that allows accents of color or texture to be the hero. I am a restless soul, most at peace while creating something beautiful. Be It a painting, a sketch, a tiramisu or a home. I truly believe a home is a canvas where one gets multiple chances of a do-over. I know I have had a fair share of mine :)"

I have enjoyed reading about your home Aakanksha. I completely agree with the home being a canvas. That was the thought behind naming my blog My Dream Canvas :) I like to think of my home as a canvas bringing my thoughts to life. As the thoughts keep evolving, so does the home :)

I am drawn to so many elements in this home. The clean and crisp look, the neutral palette which is a huge draw for me. The chic accents and wall art around the home and the simple feeling of warmth it exudes. 

This vintage sepia toned map of Delhi has my heart :)

A cosy and minimalistic bedroom 

Her pretty living room  with an eclectic vibe 

Wooden accents and natural light is a winning combination. 

The last image is the grand finale. This looks absolutely idyllic, the perfect spot for chai, books and some day dreaming :)

Thank you Aakanksha for sharing your home with the readers of My Dream Canvas. Follow Wo Gharwali Feeling on Instagram for more images of her home and her journey. 

Images:  Subject to Copyright Aakanksha Gupta @ Wo Gharwali Feeling. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Reeti's Green Oasis

Today I am delighted to share a some images of a childhood friend's home. She  also happens to be my sister-in-law as she is married to my cousin :) Now I may be in trouble with my cousin for calling her my childhood friend first :) Reeti and Rishi met at my parents' house and their love affair blossomed :) As kids Reeti, her twin Preeti and I were rather inseparable. We were neighbors too so it was easy to hang out!! We are in three different cities now and it has been years since we hung out properly. However, as they say, childhood bonds never go away!

Reeti and Rishi live in Noida, India. These are images of her stunning terrace garden. She spends a lot of her time there. More so during these lockdown days. I see many delightful images of her terrace garden on her Instagram stories. We all need an oasis to get away from the daily humdrum and this seems like the perfect sanctuary to unwind and relax. 

Reeti is a successful entrepreneur, an avid runner and a marathoner. A fitness fanatic, an avid traveller and a mom to her beautiful dogs. She is the Captain of Adidas Runners' Delhi where she coaches runners from across the NCR region.

Reeti and her sister Preeti will always be two friends with whom I share a lot of fun memories:) They were also the duo my mom liked having around more than me, especially at a party, as I was always running away from housework :)

I love Reeti's plants and her aesthetically designed terrace garden and balcony. So enjoy the views as they are such a pretty sight.....

Vintage style brass lamps, the exquisite wall art and the prayer flags add so much charm to this space.

Reeti and her dog Rustam on the terrace.

Thanks Reeti for sharing your beautiful green oasis with the readers of My Dream Canvas. Follow her on Instagram for more images of her home and her fitness journey.

Images: Copyright Reeti Sahai @thedefaultrunner

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Introducing Maloos Crafts

Nothing brings me more joy than featuring artists on My Dream Canvas. It is amazing how much creativity and talent is out there waiting to be discovered. Today I am featuring the work of Maloos Khonsarian of Maloos Crafts on Etsy.

In her own words I am a mother, a photographer, and a creator! Patterns are my passion and I feel inspired every time I come across a distinctive design. If it’s on a dress, I will try it on! If it’s on a vase, I will find a home for it on a shelf. If it’s on the wall of a beautiful monument, I will incorporate it in my photographs, paintings, prints, collages, and jewelry designs and I will apply it onto everything around me from trays and cheeseboards to vintage furniture.
Each item has a unique design and is one of a kind, just like you"

Maloos uses Middle Eastern designs to create her pieces of art. Resin and wood are the two primary mediums she uses to create these lovely pieces. Each item in her store is unique and will be the only one in existence!

This delightful cheeseboard is my personal favorite :)

To view more of her exquisite designs visit her Etsy store and follow her on Facebook.

The intricate patterns and the details in her handcrafted pieces are amazing!!

Thank you Maloos for sharing your work with the readers of My Dream Canvas. 

Images: Maloos Crafts and subjevt to copyright.