Sunday, December 29, 2019

Holiday in New York City

Visiting NYC during the holiday season has an experience of its own. The city clad in holiday Avtar and probably you can see the bustling city insanity. Visting city year after year, I still get psyched up to visit during Holiday. The lavish window displays of 5th avenue, whimsical lights, arrey of flavorsome food, giant Christmas decor in radio city, huge skating arena to grand central what not to love about NYC's holiday. In the 0 degrees, you feel cozy up because this is the best time of the year.

Shop and eat at Bryant Park Holiday market
Overlooking the skyscraper this outdoor market is for you with whole European inspired feeling and festive spirit. One of the kind jewelry, cool and quirky  Christmas tree ornaments, alluring art, more than 100 NYC Artizians popup stalls, you will end up amused in this best holiday market in NYC. Give your hunger pangs a good kick of the city favorite flavor, may it be hot chocolate, crepe, apple donut, Mediterranean wraps and oh how can I forget those filled rice balls. A must visit.

For your eyes, a lavish display of Saks 5th avenue light show
In the early 70s, NYC's departmental store unveiled these artistic, exquisite lavish window displays and are now synonyms to the city's holiday scene. You can get it all, fairytales to a flamboyant fashion.
Changes in whimsical color and design in every ten minutes this holiday light show you should never miss. Shiny, Shimmery, and Magical.

Give a visit to Radio city hall and get mesmerized.
A new york holiday is incomplete without watching a show. Also, check those Christmas ornaments display, one of the giants you can imagine.

The fabulously famous Christmas tree in Rockefeller
Overcrowded yet worth visiting this iconic tree, the tradition started since 1931, decorated with more than 45000 LED lights, it is unforgettable, enlightening and spectacular in itself.
Wear your best and warm coat as the temperature can be below zero.
If you are in City be ready to walk and wear your comfortable footwear.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Muga the heirloom silk of Assam

Looking back at the beautiful bygone years, I transport myself to my Aita's (Grandmom) antique chest, where a neatly folded crip and slightly golden hued Muga silk chadar lie. I remember Aita telling me she weaved that chadar. Long back Assamese women weaved their own clothes especially mekhela chadars. weaving muga silk is highly esteemed in assamese culture in the yesteryears. 
In the Assamese language, Muga defines the golden hue. Exquisite and exclusive muga epitomizes opulent Assamese weaving culture. Muga is elusive and expensive whereas Eri Silk is an everyday affair. Muga is reserved for special occasions. In Assamese culture, muga is widely used by Bihu dancers and is a must-buy for the bridal trousseau. With the changing time and rising prices, Muga is not a regular buy for an average person.  
Muga is especially found in the form of mekhela chadar traditionally. Muga saree is commonly available in the market too. Indigenous Muga silk is produced by the Antheraea Assamensis caterpillar. 
Muga can be uka (plain) or with a mermaid of intricate designs. Kinkhap is a hugely used design in Muga. Durability is Muga silk's quintessential character and makes it so special that it can be inherited from one generation to another. In 2007, Assam acquired the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Muga silk.
If you look back at muga history, it traces back to the Ahom dynasty between1602 to 1644. In the Ahom dynasty, Muga weaver used to get exempted from property taxes. The golden treasure of Assam Muga is only found in Assam. The humid and dense land helps to produce muga yarn. 
Because of the skyrocketing prices, unlike every indigenous fabric, Muga's authenticity is put to a question as well. In the market today, you can find muga being disguised with other fabric that can look like muga but is not muga. 
Wearing and owning a pair of Muga mekhela chadar is every Assamese girl's dream and glory. In various Bihu songs, the beauty of an assamese woman wearing mekhela chadar is mentioned. As they say, by gifting a muga mekhela chadar you can win an assamese girl's heart. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Peace for Assam

Sometimes what you can't even imagine in your wildest dream for your homeland, for your people, can happen. The last few days have been tensed and unimaginable for my homeland Assam and the Assamese people. People are in relentless processions, curfews, roads are closed, at least 6 people are killed in the last 7 days and reports of people getting hurt. Little children to senior citizens, commoners to celebrities have taken to the streets to protest against CAA. CAA or Citizenship Amendment Act is a huge let down for the Assamese people and is a horrific sense of betrayal. The implementation of CAA opens path to millions of refugees from Bangladesh the right to citizenship. It violates the Assam Accord, signed in 1985 which was attained after 6 long years of a bitter battle with the center from 1979 to 1985 with hundreds (800 plus) of Assamese people becoming a martyr to the cause. According to the Assam Accord, all refugees who came before 1971 will be accepted as Indian citizens into Assam and rest will have to go back. Now with the CAA 2019, this date is shifted to 31st Dec 2014. Accepting refugees since independence to 1971 has already been a huge deal with the numbers in millions. CAA will put additional burden on resources and threaten the language, culture, and tradition of Assam. Being an immigrant myself, immigration has been an age-old process that gives a continent its uniqueness and attribution, but it should not be an imposed one. Immigration is a need based process either for employment or for demographics or humanitarian reasons. CAA hugely failed in all this aspects in terms of Assam's economic and resource constraints. Assam's per ca-pita income is already less than 1/2 of the national average. Assam's population density is already higher than the national average. Will the state be able to take the burden of millions of additional immigrants?

The land of 238 tribes, the unique land of Dakhanas (Bodo tribe's traditional attire) to mekhela chadar, Aliai ligang Tai ustav, smitten by Bargeet (Hindu prayers) and amused by the Zikir (Sufi prayers), for the secular Assamese people this problem is not about religion but protecting their indigenous identity. The identity which is not defined by any religion.

In the end, an undying hope to see CAA being repealed or Assam being excluded from CAA, return of peace and prosperity, people to get a normal life, kids to go back to school and cherish and treasure the unique identity of Assam. The sacrifices of millions of people and hundreds of martyrs shouldn't go in vain.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Holiday outfit Post 1

While living in New England, I often long for spring, summer and the fall during the winter wonderlands, but can't deny the fact that winter has its own perks. Certain fabrics and certain designs are ideal for winter only. Just a few weeks back while attending a small holiday party I took advantage of that. Silk has been one of my favorite fabric and both my Indian and western closet is glorified with silk dresses, sarees, and blouses. I believe silk is a must in any celebratory closet. The shine and smoothness always redefine the luxury ask for celebration.

     In addition, a few weeks back I posted how you can add some unique colors to your holiday dress up. Here I am wearing a burnt orange midi skirt and a blush pink silk blouse. Even though I am a huge accessory person but here I am on the minimal side with a small drop earring and a gold chain with a tiny pendant, the only thing statement is the red lips.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Spice Venue, Hartford Review

      The weather has been tremendously cold and this restricts us from enjoying outdoor fun but brings friends and family close while eating out together or cookout together. Just a few days back, I and my family visited Spice Venue in Hartford. We didn't have many speculations on what to expect. However, from the last couple of years, the food scene in the Hartford area has changed. There are so many new restaurants and new shopping options available.

      The Spice Venue, Hartford with a sports bar is a blend of South and North Indian food and American food. Which is a little rare when it comes to Indian restaurant. As I mentioned earlier, we didn't have any preconceived notions about Spice Venue. When we entered with kids it was a bit awkward with a Sports bar and high volume music, otherwise ideal for happy hours. A modern two-story clean cut with a rustic vibe we were greeted promptly and seated in our table. Located in the heart of Hartford off of Asylum street, Spice Venue has an extended multi-cuisine menu that is impressive and creatively created.

      For our starter, we had stuffed chilly which is crispy outside chilly fritter soaked in thicken gram flour batter. Crispy outside and melt in the mouth inside with chopped tomatoes and a few nuts garnished gives a good crunch and a great twist. It was one of my favorites from the night. Even though stuffed chilly sounds hot but it was moderately spicy and one shouldn't miss it.

      And then we ordered Chilly Chicken. Fried chicken chunks marinated with soy sauce and eggs and seasoned with green chilies. It could be a bit creative but it was just another entry.

      Then we had grilled fish cooked to perfection, oozes a fine flavor of spice and seamless blend of lemon, a succulent dish to savor. Here goes to my 2nd favorite.

      Then we had vegetable Biryani brewed in flavorful fierce spices, the flaky and grainy rice will tantalize your taste buds. Surely for one who dares to spice up.

      Then we had masala dosa or lentil crepes that come with a hot bowl of lentil and two chutneys, one is coconut and the other is tomatoes. A decent entry to try in Spice Venue.
As Spice Venue portions are generous we reserved the dessert for the next time.

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