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Friday, November 27

Celebrating With Gulmohar Lane!

There are some gifts that keep on giving. An Indian Summer is one of them. Ahem. Yes, the blog and I eschew all modesty for today. For good reasons, my dear folks, for very good reasons. One, we hit the 15,000 mark on facebook. Two, An Indian Summer and our instagram account got a sweet mention on Apartment Therapy. And Three, one of our favorite brands & friend Gulmohar Lane, is hosting a merry giveaway party right here!

Tis be the season of celebrations and Gulmohar Lane has put together the most glorious giveaway hamper for An Indian Summer readers! Since the last time I blogged about them, Gulmohar Lane has expanded it's repertoire of  beautiful & elegant products to now also include lighting, cushions and more handcrafted furniture pieces. I love the classic, vintage aesthetic of their product range! And not only can you buy their products online, but this weekend, you also have the opportunity to win this generous gift, lovingly put together by the good folks at Gulmohar Lane. 
The giveaway, open for readers from any where in the world, includes:

Gulmohar Lane Cushions  .  Gulmohar Lane Vintage Edison Bulbs  .  Gulmohar Lane Linen Bag with Leather Handles  .  Tea Kettle  .  Cups & Saucer  .  Chocolates! 

Yes, all this, to one fabulous reader, from any where in the world!


~ How to Enter ~

1. Tap into your hidden (or not so hidden) poet/lyricist/wordsmith, and pen a little ditty or a verse or a haiku or a paen or a poem, with the words 'Gulmohar Lane' in it.
[For my readers who don't understand Hindi, "Gulmohar" is the name of a flowering tree: Delonix Regia]

2. Leave your creative creation as a comment here on facebook and/or as a comment to this post.

3. To gain that extra edge, share the giveaway on facebook, instagram and twitter and tag 'An Indian Summer' & 'Gulmohar Lane'.

4. That's it! The winner will be announced on facebook on the 2nd of December.

See you again, on the other side of the weekend!

An Indian Summer: On Facebook, On Instagram, On Twitter


Monday, November 23

Usha's Home In The Hills

 The steep path up to the cottage, lined with fruit blossoms

Thanks to Thanksgiving, this month has that air of counting your blessings and sending a quick mental thank you note to the stars above for all that is good in your life. For the things that seem destined and for those events that are serendipitous. For chance meetings and instant soul connections. For the dreams, wishes & hopes that finally got actualized. For having the courage to let go of things, people & places not meant for you. And for me, more than any year, I also feel a deep sense of gratitude for the work that I have chosen to do and for this now-not-so-little blog of mine. Apart from the happiness & the amazing creative opportunities it has given me, it has also made it possible for me to know and meet some incredible people over the years. Complete strangers, many of whom are now an integral part of my life. Usha, is one such special person. I had blogged about her lovely studio & apartment a few years ago, and since then we have been in touch. From appreciating each others work and aesthetics, to finding common ground in our love for animals, we also bonded instantly over our passion for the mountains.

Usha's painting in progress, in her sunlit studio 

This corner of the living room, overlooking the valley and distant snow clad ranges, is my favorite corner!

As Usha started building her beautiful cottage in the Himalayas, I followed her daily joys and trials that come with following your heart and building a dream home ground up. She had invited/cajoled/scolded me many a times to make a plan to visit her, and finally, during my visit back to Gurgaon this Diwali, I spent an absolutely brilliant weekend with her. The exhilaration of driving on my own, for the first time, on those curves and bends and the highs and lows of hill roads, is an experience to remember! Crossing tiny villages, asking for directions every few kilometers and keeping fingers crossed that I don't take a wrong road, for if there came a moment where I would need to reverse on those narrow uphill roads, I basically would have no option but to abandon my truck of a car and walk the rest of the way. Yes, I had that scenario all planned out in my head. Thankfully, apart from a few minor hiccups [like ignoring the cut off from the highway and merrily singing & continuing for some 80 odd kms into the heart of Punjab before the realization hit and the u-turn was taken], the drive was a breeze. 
Wild flowers on the table on the porch and late afternoon sunlight in the living room

Usha's bedroom with handmade quilt and her art 

The striking Shiva painting has also been done by Usha 

Every little thing has been carefully selected and restored by Usha. Gorgeous chair in the bathroom
 The welcome hug from Usha and the welcome leap-lick-drool-cuddle from her gentle giant of a dog, Henry, was the warmest possible. As we walked up the steep path to her home, the stunning cottage revealed itself! Usha's home, all of stone, brick and old wood, sits snugly between pine trees, tall wild grass, and the most fabulous view of the valley. Designed by her daughter Vibha, the home feels personal and unique in every sense. Usha's excellent design aesthetic makes its presence felt as you enter the home - every little corner, each piece of furniture, lamp, furnishing, even the bunch of dry weeds in a vintage jar - are put together so beautifully that my aesthete's soul seemed to have found it's heaven. A home filled with sunshine, books, art overflowing in each room from the artist-in-residence, self-designed handmade heirloom quilts, warm rugs, fireplaces, vintage deco knick-knacks, french cottage chic furniture, wild flowers in unexpected vases, hot food and good wine, and a personal extra large body warmer of a dog - what more could you ask for when in the mountains! I could go on about how beautiful and seemingly effortlessly chic Usha's home is, or I could do better and share these images with you. I couldn't stop taking pictures, even as Usha said, oh but the house is yet to be finished. It's a home I would move into, without changing a thing! 

Antique four poster bed in the studio for siesta 

Artist's tools and her work space 

The sheer beauty of a simple rustic window corner in the kitchen

Central island in the cozy warm kitchen. Favorite place to hang out during the day

The delightful guest bedroom had a deck that looked out to the lights in the valley at night 

A chinoiserie art work at the entry foyer to the bedroom

Usha's love for gargoyles is evident with this little one in her studio and a massive one right at the entry of the cottage, sculpted by her niece Deveshi Sehgal.  

Oh, I loved the play of light through the day through the beautiful rooms..

Usha has the knack of picking up the most beautiful distinct objects and making them look good together! 

The three days were spent in long walks & treks, chatting with the villagers, polishing off finger licking good local delicacy at the local ayurved's home, picking up kitchen tricks from Usha [now that I cook for myself in Goa, in my lovely kitchenette, I am discovering a love for cooking], sitting around the central island in the warm & lovely kitchen and cooking, eating, drinking, listening to music, sharing stories and chatting. Oh, how much we talked! I spoke about serendipitous soul connections and right there, in the hills, I found one in Usha :)   

We exchanged notes on the weather as she sat drying chillies and corn kernels

Going searching for the cat with a recent litter of 4 kittens!  With Usha, village kids and the local ayurved, who also doubles up as the night watchman. I requested him to pluck these flowers which were high up on a tree, and later, they found their way to the kitchen, dressing up the table for dinner.

Good ol' wine from the local fruit orchards warmed us up in the night as cold winds roared outside

I can not end this post without talking about Usha's work. Usha Hooda is an artist, aesthete, interior designer par excellence. She has been working for years with √°ari' karigars (embroidery craftsmen) to design and produce one-of-a-kind textile masterpieces. Some of Usha's art and interior design work can be found on her page on facebook. She has recently been featured in Architectural Digest, among many other publications in the past. She can be reached via facebook or via her email.

Tree Of Life designed by Usha and executed by Aari karigars

An absolutely wonderful trip ended on a high note with me reccying a pretty little cottage for myself further up the hill. I can not wait for the day when I am able to move bag baggage and cat to my mountain abode, after I have spent a while and some in my sea side abode. There are many stories and gorgeous pictures from my jaunts within Goa that I have in my bag to share with you - watch this space!

This view. Sigh.

[All Images & Story: Bhavna Bhatnagar - An Indian Summer. Featured Usha Hooda's Home]

Wednesday, November 4

Oh India!

I have a thing for maps. The thing being that I love them. Political maps, physical maps, road maps, city maps, tourist maps, hand sketched ones, vintage ones - I love them all. And you do know that I have a thing for India. I adore this colorful, eclectic, passionate, maddening country of mine. Today, inspired by both my loves, I put together some visual boards, celebrating maps, colors, India and all her eccentricities. Take a look! 

Putting this post together has put me in the mood for road trips across the length and breadth of the country! I am glad that I have some coming up in the next few weeks to take care of the itchy feet. Make sure you are following me on Instagram as I share tidbits from my travels and life in Goa.
And You, my lovelies, let me know what is it that's inspiring you these days :)

[Credits: Visual Mood Boards by An Indian Summer. Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]

Monday, October 19

Of Beds And Mood Boards

Messy Beds. Or let me say, aesthetically appealing messy beds. For someone who is obsessed with not-a-single-wrinkle-or-ripple on bed sheets, I am surprisingly drawn towards messy beds right now. I think it's the crisp early morning air, the fragrance of autumn and the recent acquisition of many a cozy throws that's making me feel this way. And you know that what I feel is what goes up on this blog of mine, and today I put together some mood boards that perfectly sum up this wistful and warm feeling that you get as you bid goodbye to summer and three fourths of the year. A time for reflection, review, feeling gratitude, saying thanks, and maybe some catching up as you plan to make the best out of the last three months left. Yes, a lovely cozy bed seems like just the right place for all this contemplation :)

I am working on a very interesting story in collaboration with one of my favorite (and I am sure yours too) international design magazine. I can't wait to start sharing sneak peeks & behind-the-scene from the project, next week, on instagram. Make sure you are connected with @anindiansummer there to get the first dibs! 

[Images in this post: All except 2, 3, 4. Moodboards: An Indian Summer]

Thursday, October 15

Let The Festive Time Begin!


The House Of Things, collectors, curators and purveyors of all things beautiful have grown by leaps and bounds since the last time I waxed eloquent about them on An Indian Summer. There is a gorgeous post coming up to showcase their seen and yet-unseen new collections, and to whet your appetites, here is a fabulous giveaway! Open for readers across the world, The House Of Things would like to kick start the festive season here in India, with sending this lovely handcrafted black marble platter along with two marble bowls to one very lucky An Indian Summer reader! And this is how you enter the giveaway:


~ To enter ~

Leave a comment here [on facebook] and/or on this post telling the good people over at The House Of Things, "What would you serve on this platter"

And that's it! Remember, this is open for readers worldwide and the winner will be declared on facebook on Wednesday - October 21st! 

Happy Festive Time, my lovelies! 
I love this time of the year :)

Thursday, October 1

She Says Hello!

My Kittens
I Missed You
Come On Join The Joy Ride
Join The Joy Ride

I so missed you! As I announced here a couple of weeks back, my laptop decided that it had had enough and called it a day. I was making it work while in Goa, for crashing out loud! With my new found bohemian hippy beach [read stoned] spirit, I took this rebellion in my stride, threw the minor-est of tantrums ever and simply ordered a spanking new laptop.  I am happy to let you know that the spanking new laptop is now in my possession and it has been configured & customized and prettified to my liking. Right now, as a friend and I sit on my deck, sipping oh-my-god-so-strong feni that I brought from a little village deep in a wildlife sactuary in South Goa, enjoying what possibly might be the last monsoon downpour for this year, I remember you. And when I remember you, I open this pretty blog of mine and dash off a post. My choice of decor is leaning towards rustic and colorful today, clearly influenced by the feni and the mood I am in right now :)   

And before we knew it, it's Oct, my kittens! I am gradually finding my groove in this lovely sea side town. Which also means, that I am back at work in earnest, and gearing up for all the possibilities and joy it brings me. There is travel, creative collaborations, photo-shoots, media features, writing and designing projects ready to take off. And I will be sharing it all here. And there. Plus here. Speaking of travel, the aforementioned friend and I are ticking off a bucket list item this weekend and doing the enchanting train journey from Goa to Bombay. With the sea on one side and the hills on the other, this trip will be covered live on instagram and I will share more snippets on the blog next week. See you then! 

[Images: Style Files]

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