Indian Culture & Art in USA, a Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘India

Why I love India (series)

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Sorting Marigolds

Why I love India (series)


Beautiful series on ‘Why I love India’ on rediff.  Living away from India, we can especially relate to Shobha De’s sentiment on what she longs for when abroad. “When I’m away from India, I miss: The smells!…The smell of masala, mogras, wet matti (earth)”

Discover the entire series here.


Written by Redpatang

March 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Amul craze

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Take a drive down any road in a major metro in India and you will come across large billboards with bright colorful cartoons featuring a wide -eyed little girl and witty tag line or pun sure to bring a chuckle or smile.  These are the famous Amul ads – meant to sell plain ol butter (under the brand name Amul)….but the ads themselves have become a cultural phenomenon that is now more than 30 years old!

Take a look at this one for starters – its a comment on the skyrocketing fuel prices :

Or this funny take on the cartoon Kung Fu Panda:

For all of you feeling pangs of nostalgia for these timeless cartoons, check out the ‘best of’ collection of amul ads on their website

There’s even a facebook page dedicated to the amul ads and at the time this post was published, it was at 68K fans!  Check it out at  here.

Utterly butterly delicious – Amul!

Written by Redpatang

September 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Project Akshar

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Our internet travels brought us to the doorstep of  a social outreach project called Project Akshar (Akshar literally means Alphabet in Hindi).   Project Akshar was founded in 2009 as an initiative by the students of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies which is part of an international not-for-profit organisation, SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise).

This very unique project works as follows:  One side used paper is collected from corporates and colleges across Delhi and is transported to the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women.  Here, hearing impaired women  bind these used sheets into eco friendly notebooks which are finally sold  at various premium stores and stationary retailers across Delhi at a profit that benefits the women.   The women also produce affordable notebooks for children from the rural and slum areas who could not have otherwise been able to afford books.

Project Akshar

We loved the idea behind this win-win project which not only attempts to minimize the impact of the carbon footprint but also empowers the hearing impaired …providing them with a decent livelihood and bringing the possibility of an education to children who would have otherwise not had the means or resources.

We were curious what a typical day looked like for the leadership team which is currently made up of 40 students and over 120 volunteers and were told that between balancing college, holding meetings and brainstorming sessions, they also manage the collection and transportation of paper from corporates and colleges which is a non stop activity of teamwork and coordination…whew!

So how can you help?  If you are an institution based in India you can contribute your one-side used paper and your unused packaging materials to this great cause and the team can even make arrangements for collection boxes at your offices.  Everyone else  (in India and abroad) can help with financial donations…simply write to the email address below telling them you’d like to make a donation.

In just 2 months, Project Akshar currently collects and re-used 60,000 sheets of one side used waste paper …imagine the possibilities if we could all lend a hand…or in this case ‘a page’!

Support Project Akshar on Facebook , follow them on twitter and email if you’d like to offer financial help.

Written by Redpatang

July 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

Posted in Helping India

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Alicia Souza – Chumbak’s Illustrator

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This week we’d like to introduce Alicia Souza – the artist that helps bring Chumbak creations to life.  Alicia’s whacky and fun style has won over many hearts and she has shared some insights into her creative process with us.

What inspires you?
“Everything and nothing. I guess sitting alone in a room can get me thinking about the quirkiest things to do, yet sometimes going out, even for just a drive, can show you things you’ve not seen before!”

Who is YOUR favorite illustrator?
“Ohh, well, I have many favourites but I’ve always had a soft corner for Quentin Blake. Something about his loose lines and colour makes his pictures look like an organised mess”

What Chumbak project did you have the most fun doing?
“Hands down, Bobby the bobble-head. I’ve never thought I would get an opportunity to do something in 3-D so soon! I was stoked that it came out perfectly and such a relief too. I’ve never been so satisfied. ”

What medium do you like to draw on besides paper?
“People, when they are not looking. And slings. ” (Hehe..funny girl that Alicia…vot? )

What do you like to do other than your art and Chumbak?
“Make coffee, drink coffee, write letters, and dodge cows on the streets. And I have an extensive collection of photos of my dog, so unconsciously, I believe I like taking photos of my dog.”

Here are some ‘illustrations’ that have become Chumbak bestsellers:

Illustrations before production

Chumbak bestsellers - Paanwallah, Computerwallah, Chaiwallah etc














And finally, a cute and quirky illustration on “How to make Chapati like a pro”.  Click on the picture – the steps are downright Hilarious!

How to make Chapati like a pro!

Thanks Alicia!  That was super fun.

Written by Redpatang

June 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

RK Laxman’s “The common man”

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If you read the Times of India anywhere from the 1950’s onwards, you couldn’t have missed the little comic strip “You said it” featuring  the common man by RK Laxman.

The common man

This caricature could be found in the daily comic strip, peeping down manholes, observing speeches, fights and  games.  He is usually a silent witness to all the action around him but ah… so memorable.

So for all of you who feel the same nostalgia, here are some timeless strips.  Enjoy!

The common man celebrated 50 years  sometime ago -he  has been featured on a commemorative stamp as well as honored by way of a 10 foot bronze statue at the Symbiosis Institute (Pune).

Warli art revival

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Does this artwork look familiar?  No-this isn’t just a hip T-shirt print you may have come across.  This Warli art form has its origins in the Warli tribe from western India and is said to go back to 2500 or 3000 BC! The Warli use only white for their paintings. Their original white pigment is a mixture of rice paste and water with gum as a binding.

By Jivya Soma Mashe (1997)

The Warli used circles based on their observation of the sun and moon, triangles from mountains and trees and squares to denote an enclosure of land.

Humans are represented by two triangles joined at the tip:

Jivya Soma Mashe (1997)

Today, this tribal art form has found new life through the efforts of artists like Jivya Soma Mashe and is exhibited in galleries around the world.  And yes -it has also found its way to inspire hip T-shirts and other modern Indian accessories 🙂

Warli painting kits are available at

Written by Redpatang

April 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Packaging talks – Chumbak

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A customer recently wrote in saying he was pleasantly surprised at the quality and packaging of the Chumbak items he had purchased.  This made us realize that the pictures were not doing this uber-fun brand justice.  So, here is a deeper look at the packaging and a sample magnet to give you a better sense of the product line.

Lets start with the fun Ganesha magnet with the packaging intact:

Cool.. right? But hold on, unlike most products, you can enjoy the packaging too…take a close look at the elaborate detail put together on the little card that makes up the background.  We are saving this one to color in as a fun kids activity on a rainy day:

And finally, to give you some perspective on the heft and dimension of the magnet itself:

Chumbak was founded by Shubhra Chadda out of a love for India and travel .  Today, the product line includes magnets, keychains, charms and more.

Written by Redpatang

April 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Chumbak

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