Sunday 26 July 2020

Shravan Stories

Saawan aayo re..
Saawan aayo re...

Shravan, the 5th month of the Hindu calendar and the holiest of all is finally here. Growing up, I always looked forward to this month. Shravan meant the baarish season which meant endless cups of adrakwali chai accompanied by onion pakoras. Monsoons meant unplanned leaves at school due to heavy downpour. It meant making paper boats and sailing them in puddles outside the house. And it also marked the beginning of most Hindu festivals which meant more yummy food, holidays and family get-togethers. Shravan was my happy month, except that our parents asked us to go vegetarian during this month. As a child I didn't miss eating non-veg food during Shravan because our mom made sure we had too much scrumptious vegetarian food to hog on.

Shravan is considered the holiest month and there are a number of rites and rituals that are followed during this month. And today's post is an attempt to decode some of them.

According to legend, it was during the month of Shravan that the Samudra Manthan or churning of the sea took place. It is believed that 14 kinds of pious things came out of the ocean along with Halahal- the poison which had the ability to destroy everything. Most of us know that it was Lord Shiva who came to the rescue by drinking the poison and containing it in his throat earning him the name - Neelkanth. Even though the poison could not harm Lord Shiva, to save him from its enormous impact, Lord Shiva had to wear a crescent moon on his head and was bathed with holy water of the
Ganges to tame the poison. It is for this reason that the entire month of Shravan is devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva for his sacrifice. All Mondays in the month of Shravan or Shravani Somvar are celebrated in Lord Shiva temples. And it is customary to offer milk, water, bilva leaves and flowers to the Shiva Lingam. A lot of people fast on Shravani Somvar until sunset.

Shravan is also called the fasting month, as you will see most Hindus fast and perform certain ceremonies for this entire month. Shravan falls during the monsoon season when the environment is wet and humid which brings with it a lot of bacterial and viral diseases. Also, due to the humidity in the atmosphere the capacity of our digestive system goes down. Hence fasting or eating fresh fruits during the Shravan month aids our digestive system and benefits our health. It is also for this reason that people avoid eating non-vegetarian food during this month. Another reason for avoiding non vegetarian food is that Shravan is the breeding season of most species, and by killing them we are stopping them from reproducing. Also fishing during the monsoon is not safe for the fishermen, so if the demand goes down, we are saving our fishermen too.

The month of Shravan is special for everyone, but it is considered even more auspicious for married women. Married women pray to Lord Shiva for the long life of their husbands and marital bliss. Since the colour green happens to please Lord Shiva, women wear green attire or green bangles to please him.

Nag Panchami is celebrated on the 5th day of Shravan. During the monsoons when the snakes came out of the fields, the people of India offered it milk and worshiped it as a symbol of  peace and respect, thereby ensuring that they both co-exist peacefully. Also, in Indian mythology snakes have been linked to strength and prosperity. Due to the snake's nature of casting its skin, it also represents rebirth and mortality. Hence, snakes have been worshiped in India since ages.

There's one more vivid memory I have of Shravan from my childhood days. My mom would always wear a white saree with green bangles and her finest jewellery to work on Shravani Somvar. I loved seeing mom all dressed up and so today's outfit is inspired by my mom with a saree borrowed from my MIL. Hope you like it.


Saturday 18 July 2020

DIY: 5 Homemade Face Masks That Really Work

I have always been a fan of homemade face masks. Because they are so affordable, easy to make, have zero preservatives and no negative side effects. But I haven't been making them much since the past decade. But this lockdown gave me a chance to rekindle my love for homemade face masks and I made sure I used this as a golden opportunity.
So, today I am going to share 5 of my favourite home made face masks recipes that I love and I hope you will love too. All the ingredients are easily available in your kitchen, so they are really easy to make, light on the pocket and right for your skin. But before I begin, I want to reiterate the fact that natural remedies always take time to show results. Be consistent and you will never be disappointed.

Saffron Face Mask:

Soak a few strands of saffron in 1 tbsp of milk for about 10-15 minutes. Add 2 teaspoon of rice flour to it and mix. Adjust to the consistency of your choice by adding or reducing the quantity of rice flour. Apply on face and leave for about 20-30 minutes. Voila and you are done. The rice flour brightens and soothes your skin as it has anti-tanning properties while the saffron will reduce spots and pigmentation.

Coffee Face Mask:

The benefits coffee offers to your skin are endless. It is anti-ageing, anti-inflammation, reduces dark circles and soothes your skin especially after sun exposure. For this mask, you need to combine one tsp of besan, one tsp of instant coffee/ground coffee beans whatever is available, with 1/2 tsp of honey and 1 tsp of curd. Leave this on for about 20 minutes and I bet you will be addicted to it as it smells heavenly.

Beetroot Face Mask:

Beetroots clear out blemishes and give you a glowing skin. Ideally you should use beetroot juice for this, but I just use grated beetroot, because I hate to discard the residue and once the pack is dry, you can take the pack off by scrubbing it off with wet hands. So this is a mask cum scrub recipe.
Combine 1 spoon of grated beetroot, 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp curd and 1 tsp besan to form a nice and coarse pink face pack. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then scrub it off. With this pack, I didn't see any instant results, but with consistent usage your skin will start showing progress.

Oats Face Mask:

Oats are natural cleansers and remove the excess dirt and oil that clog your pores. It helps to treat acne and has anti-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So next time you grind your instant oats to make  dosas or idlis, make sure you save some for this mask. Mix a tbsp of powdered oats, a pinch of baking soda and a few drops of lime juice to make this easy and instant oats face mask.
Leave for 20 minutes and wash off with tap water to leave a clean and supple looking skin.
Banana Face Mask:

You will be surprised to see the benefits a banana offers to your skin. It is a natural moisturizer and hydrates your skin. It is anti-ageing, treats acne, controls excess oil secretion, lightens dark spots and what not. You don't need an entire banana for this. Just save a few slices of banana when you are eating it, and make this mask. An inch long slice of banana, 2 tsp of honey and a few drops of lime juice, mash it all together with a fork until it is smooth and leave on your face for about 15-20 minutes. You face feels really soft and moisturized after using this pack.

Hope you all try these out, because I am sure you will love them. Lets me know in the comments below, if you have any favourite home made face mask recipes.

P.S. I do not use some of the images used in this post.

Saturday 4 July 2020

Short Story - That Raw Silk Saree

It was mom's birthday and I wanted to buy her a saree. (typical me)
So I went to the nearest silk saree shop and bought a beautiful pure silk saree in the combination of red, black and gold.
And as I was about to leave, a black raw silk saree caught my attention.
I touched 'that raw silk saree' and asked the sales girl to show it to me. It was love at first sight.
But I decided not buy it, as I had too many sarees, and hardly any occasions to wear them.
I went back home and 'that raw silk saree' haunted me for nights.
A few days later, when I went to pick up mom's saree after the polishing and other stuff, I saw 'that raw silk saree' again. It was on display and I was pretty sure someone would pick it up really fast.
And so I did...because someone would, and that someone better be me.
A part of me was sad, because I realised I have little self control, but a part of me was elated.
Because wouldn't 'this raw silk saree' make a good vintage saree for Ishanvi to flaunt when she grows up? ;)
The End. :)

Hope you liked the story, now scroll for the pictures.

Outfit Details:
Saree: Mahalaxmi Stores, Mumbai
Earrings, Ring: Confusion FA
Bracelet: Vintage Desi
Footwear: Zappotoes


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