Category Archives: Shopping

What does the Nawab of Oudh smell like?

Browsing through the perfumes section at Harrod’s in London, I chanced upon this fragrance called the Nawab of Oudh.


The Nawab Of Oudh on display. Sorry for the poor picture quality, clicked on the phone.

We don’t even have an itr that’s named after the nawabs, and a perfume in London named after one? I was happy like only tourists can be to find a trace of home in a foreign destination.

Of course, the efficient sales guy quickly caught on to my enthusiasm, and asked if I was interested in the perfume. I said I was, not just the way he thought I would be.

“I belong to this place,” I said, pointing to the perfume bottle.
“Really? Is that what the Nawab of Oudh smells like?” he asked, offering the bottle to me. He wasn’t joking, he honestly wanted to know.
I inhaled the perfume, it was a strong, pungent smell, nothing I would ever buy. “I don’t know, I’ve never smelt one,” I said, smiling at the prospect of smelling a Nawab of Oudh! I’ve read about the clothes and jewellery the nawabs wore, and the food they ate, and the lives they lived, but somehow, I don’t remember reading anything in particular about the perfumes they wore. Or did he mean, what a Nawab of Oudh just smelled like without any perfume?
“I’m just excited this perfume is named after the place I belong to!” I simply replied.

“So, you’re from Nawauuub?” he drawled.
“No, I’m from Oudh,” I said, even more amused now.
“Oh, ok,” he said, “Where is this place?”
“It’s in India, near Delhi, it’s called Lucknow now,” I proceeded to explain, “The nawabs are the erstwhile royalty of the place.”
“Oh! I thought Oudh was a tree…a dying tree, and the Nawab of Oudh was the fragrance of the tree!”
I looked at him incredulously this time, waved an arm, shook my head, and said in my best English accent, “Never mind!” and moved on, still smiling!

PS: Yes, we went to London. Yes, I will blog more about that later 🙂


Oh shit, I’ve become a consumerist!

I look down upon myself each time I log into an online shopping site, end up spending hours scouring it for goodies, and then give in to the temptation of buying stuff that is usable indeed, uber cute too, but rarely needed. My only saving grace? That I shop for my baby, and not so much for myself.

But this is getting scary — all these shopping portals that are knocking on my email everyday, luring me to things my baby doesn’t need, convincing me that he does! Because you know what, not only am I shopping from Indian sites, where I have the Cash On Delivery option (which means that when the stuff arrives at home, and I’m not there, my ma-in-law will pay for it, and won’t let me pay her back because the stuff’s for her beloved grandchild!), I’ve discovered that now I can even shop from US sites, without having to pay the huge VAT and  shipping costs! Yes, it happened to me last night, while I was at it — wasting my time on the internet after Arjun had slept, that I literally stumbled onto this precious nugget of information. And I swear, I didn’t go seeking it, it came right before me like I was meant to consume it. So there now, I have the ease of shopping from the foreign sites that have loads of stuff I have been lusting after and putting on my secret wishlist, making notes of for a time when I’ll be travelling abroad! It’s criminal that I should have access to all this even on my mobile. How am I ever going to stop myself from buying overpriced shoes that my son will outgrow in three months, but that are so totally delectable, or cute Ts and flop hats that I can’t get back home? I’m panicking.

It’s not like I don’t know what’s the right thing to do. But the scariest part is that I don’t want to do the right thing anytime. I think The Guy should be worried, very worried!

In an ideal home…

I love home decor. I love design. I love thinking of what my ideal home would look like, where I’ll place what and how… I love wood and fabrics and textures and crockery and in another time and age, I’d be this really well-dressed house proud homemaker who’d polish her silver and dust her crystal and butter-paper her china.

When I was a kid, I used to cut and keep away pics of nice bathrooms from glossies and design my ideal room on the computer… But now, I don’t do enough for something that I love doing. I actually put in very little effort into how my house looks, because a). where are the resources? and b). where’s the time? But I still drool over stuff I see around, especially on the plethora of design sites that tempt you with the eclectic, the aesthetic, the quirky and the latest. And I think, hope that one day, I’ll have it all put together to make this really astounding-looking house that speaks volumes about the person I am.

But for now, I’m starting a series of sorts called ‘In an ideal home…’ – a list of things I’m lusting after from here and there – a piece of furniture or art, an architectural innovation, a cushion/a rug/a throw… anything.

And in the first of the series:

1. I’m loving these ikat prints on these chairs, courtesy AnthropologieLove them because there’s something appealing about Indian designs being used in contemporary ways.

2. I saw these vintage Disney posters on, and I love them for a kid’s room. Watsay?

3. And how sweet is this poster from Sugar Fresh on Etsy? Since love never goes out of fashion, why wouldn’t you want this?

4. These tumblers from West Elm looks so attractive. If I didn’t have any use for them, I’d create one.

5. This storage space for wrapping papers is so cool! Picked this idea from Apartment Therapy a long time ago.

>Mera joota hai Japani

>Not exactly. Not at all, actually. It’s probably Chinese, like most things that we get around the world these days. But that’s not what this is about. This is about showing off some of my latest shoe acquistions.

The high-heeled ones
And the flat ones
And the multi-coloured ones
And the comfy ones

And the branded ones

And the ones in neutral colours

I do have quite a shoe fetish. I can shop nothing else but shoes. I buy the Rs 250 ones from the road-side, the local brands and the international brands, as long as they catch my eye. As a result, I have more shoes now than I have space for. Take a look at what my shoe closet looks like:
And I’m not even talking about the boxes that have begun piling up beside the closet! Yes, shoe addict is me. What’s your addiction?

>Shopaholic and me?

>You’ve got to be kidding! What makes you think I would be one?

• That I never seem to repeat my clothes and therefore buy more clothes?
• That when I can’t find a reason to buy things for myself, I find reasons to buy them for others?
• That I do not remember the clothes I have?
• That my shoe closet is spilling over and that my shoes now have to crawl their way into The Guy’s shoe rack?
• That I buy clothes not because I need them but because they need to be with me?
• That I can’t get over a sale?
• That I realised there’s more to bags than bags that you carry to work – like clutches and totes and travel bags and some more clutches?
• That since I travel frequently, I need to shop before every trip? Every place is different and has different wardrobe requirements.
• That I buy silk sarees in the middle of summer because I’m in Benaras and can’t come home without ’em sarees?
• That when I’m in Bombay I can’t come home without shopping for clothes, bags, shoes and such stuff that I can get only in Bombay?
• That when I’m in Goa, I must dress up like those tourists and therefore buy cheap cotton shirt dresses that I can never wear back home?
• That when I’m in Nainital, I have to raid the Tibetan market to find the most comfortable piece of nightwear I don’t need?
• That when I buy a dress, I need to also buy accessories that go with it?
• That my husband will not let me enter a crockery store because I may hoard more glasses, plates and platters for home?
• That I miss Delhi because I need to go binge shopping instead of just random shopping?
• That I genuinely do not have any more space in those stuffed to capacity drawers in my wardrobe?
• That I will make my husband and father shop because there’s an offer at the store that says free shopping for women for the amount that men shop?
• That I think it’s nice to have a choice of shower gels and different scrubs for different parts of my body in the bathroom?
• That when I feel low, I think a stroll in the mall can make me feel better?
• That I do not feel guilty for any of it?

Oh, come on, which one of those things do you think makes me a shopaholic?

>Christmas decorations

>The first step to decorating a Christmas tree is shopping for stuff to put up on the tree. And here’s what I bought:
And here’s what they made the 23ft tall Christmas tree look like.

Here’s a picture of all those who helped me put up the lights and decorations: