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Decor ideas for festive season

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Home Decoration Festival

New Delhi, Sep 14: Refurbishing or re-decorating of homes for the festive season ahead uplifts your spirits and sets the mood for the year of festivities. Fill your home with colours and add accessories this season, say experts.

Sangeeta Kapoor, founder and Interior Designer Melange and Jade Davies CEO and interior designer MKM Luxe Suisse have doled out tips to make your abode festival ready.

*Fill your home with colours: Bring out all the colourful bedding, decorative cushions, pottery, rugs, old photographs, memories, souvenir and old gifts and give them their place under the sun. Get them nicely framed and place them around as they have untold stories to tell.

*Accessorise: Now is the time to go all out and indulge in that Victorian lamp or the hammered vase you have been eyeing all along. Set a little corner up with your prized accessories and give them their due, they will certainly pep up a dull room. Go for one or two big dramatic pieces rather than too many smaller ones scattered around.

*Keep moisture away: The dampness of the monsoons has set into the wood, the walls and the upholstery. Pull your sofas, beds, wardrobes six inches from the wall to let them breathe. Let the sunlight in, keep those windows open and allow for the dampness to dry and recede. Investing in a humidifier is a good idea to keep the temperature and moisture under control.

*Fragrant fresh: Place fragrances and candle diffusers at various places in all rooms. Nothing like walking into a home to a fresh clean fragrance. Allow the scented candles to burn for a bit for the fragrance to reach. Have the power of flowers to weave magic into the festive décor, a big urn of mogra and rose petals will swoon the senses.

*Gold is never old: With festive season and Diwali round the corner, go bold with gold. Bring on the shimmer and glimmer of your brass elements, polish them nicely to beam and gleam against a bolder colour palette, This season you should experiment with bolder colours like deep reds, burnt oranges ambers and sunny mustards. Pair these up with cushions in woven textiles and traditional motifs.

*Table settings: Add an interesting bunch of flowers, sprigs on to the napkin holders and take a few moments to set the right cutlery. A well-set table only adds zest to the delicious food that is going to be placed there and around which memories and moments will be shared. Add floating candles into glass bowls filled with water for a unique table centrepiece.

*Rearrange the living room furniture: Make it cozy and comfortable for guests and family to huddle together and laugh away. Put the sofas together with lounge chairs around them and create a relaxed atmosphere.

IANS

Lifestyle

Holidaying at home more popular in India than foreign trips

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Travel Holiday vacation

New Delhi, Nov 19: More than 40 per cent Indians value “holidaying at home” the most than buying luxury items or going to wellness and spa trips abroad, a survey has revealed.

According to the survey from YouGov on behalf of Priority Pass, among the world’s leading and original airport experiences programmes, 30 per cent Indians enjoy domestic short breaks, while over 25 per cent enjoyed a cultural trip overseas.

Nearly 20 per cent say a holiday at home is the activity they enjoy the most and would spend an average of Rs 23,619 on this type of break.

“People increasingly look for more ‘meaning’ in what they do, therefore possessions are proving less valuable than experiences, and the memories and learnings that we gain from them. In future, what we do will matter more — to us and our peer network — than what we buy,” said William Higham, consumer futurist and author of The Next Big Thing.

Indians were also found to overwhelmingly value shared experiences like catching a film at the cinema or going out for a meal (nearly 50 per cent each).

When it comes to sharing on social media, 42 per cent were most likely to post about trips to the cinema, and 39 per cent about showcasing food and drink they have prepared themselves.

On the other hand, more solitary activities like a fitness session at the gym (18 per cent) or buying a new luxury purchase (also 18 per cent) do not get shared as much on social media platforms.

These results suggest that a shared social experience is key to people’s enjoyment.

Conversely, buying luxury items and wellness holidays abroad came in much lower in India, with only 11 per cent of respondents likely to take this kind of trip in an average year and three per cent listing it as their most favoured activity.

The survey covers over 10,000 people from nine countries across all corners of the world, including 1,000 in India.

IANS

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Phool Waalon Ki Sair: An offering of communal unity at altar of secular India

The roots of the festival go back to the reign of one of the last Mughal emperors and Bahadur Shah Zafar’s father, Akbar Shah II, who was buried next to the dargah.

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Jawaharlal Nehru

When Syed Fariddudin Qutbi, the “khadim” (attendant) of the shrine of 13th century sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki in Meharauli, stepped out after offering a floral “chhatra” (a flower-embellished umberella) at the ancient Yogmaya temple located at a stone’s throw from the dargah, all he had to say was that in the small temple sanctum sanctorum suffused with a strong incense and jasmine fragrance, he felt the same tranquility and a “magnificent, invisible power” he feels at the dargah.

Part of the annual cultural festival “Phool Walon Ki Sair” (Festival of Flower Sellers), an initiative that promotes communal harmony and positive cultural exchanges since early the 1800s, many like Qutbi go beyond the bounds of religious identity, and encourage members of other communities to offer flowers and “pankhas” (fans) at places of worship that are considered not “their own”.

Image result for Phool Waalon Ki Sair Akbar Shah II

Picture Credit : Wikipedia

The roots of the festival go back to the reign of one of the last Mughal emperors and Bahadur Shah Zafar’s father, Akbar Shah II, who was buried next to the dargah.

Legend has it that when his son Mirza Jahangir was imprisoned on the orders of the British, Akbar Shah’s wife vowed that she would offer a blanket at the sufi saint’s dargah upon his release. As fate had it, Shah’s son was released and the blanket was offered. Upon imperial orders, floral offerings were also made at goddess Yogmaya’s temple, which sparked public enthusiasm, causing it to become an annual tradition.

The festival was stopped in the 1940s when the British started their polarising efforts in line with their “divide-and-rule policy” that led to deep rifts between India’s two major religious communities, Mirza Mohtaram Bakht, secretary of the Anjuman Sair-e-Gul Faroshan, the organisers of the fair, told IANS.

He said the festival was revived in 1961-62 by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It has, since then, been a regular occurrence and brings together hundreds of Delhi residents each year, Bakht said.

In today’s deeply polarised milieu where hate crimes against specific communities are just as rampant as the venom spewed against them on social media, the assimilating significance of the week-long festival takes a new turn.

“When our Hindu brothers offer a blanket of flowers at the dargah, members of the Muslim community take a step back and let them take the lead. Similarly, Muslim people are encouraged to offer a floral ‘chhatra’ to Devi Yogmaya. It’s a communion of hearts, and that can only happen if there’s ‘pakeezgi’ in people’s souls,” Qutbi told IANS, adding that he recommends extremists of all religions to at least experience other cultures once.

Rajnish Jindal, another resident of Mehrauli, who has been visiting the festival for 15 years, said that it was a matter of developing comfort with all religions and people from all walks of life.

“You go into a gurdwara, you find peace and comfort, that’s your ‘mahzab’ (faith); same is with a mosque or a temple or a church. It should be a matter of personal belief,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the path of “Phool Walon Ki Sair”, is often laden with thorns and threats.

“People say ‘tum karke toh dikhao, hum dekhte hai tum kaise karte ho’ (We’ll see how you do it); not everyone wants a secular nation that celebrates all its religions. It often happens covertly; 11th-hour permissions, indifference and excuses create hurdles for us, even if there is no direct visible opposition.

“We, however, give it back with our enthusiasm. Truth is always victorious. They can’t stop our caravan,” Bakht, a former geologist and a “proud Delhi-wallah”, said.

Kite flying competitions, processions, wrestling bouts, kabbadi and shehnai recitals mark the first four days of the seven-day festival, with offerings in the dargah and the temple earmarked for the fifth and sixth days.

This year, Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal offered the floral blanket at the dargah on Thursday, and Delhi government’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot offered a floral “chhatra” on Friday, along with members of both communities.

“Phool Walon Ki Sair” closed on Saturday with tableaus from over 11 states and a night-long qawwali singing programme.

(The weekly feature series is part of a positive-journalism project of IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected] )

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Health

Slow reading speed linked to dry eyes: Study

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Slow reading study
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New York, Nov 17: People suffering from chronic dry eye disease are likely to have a slow reading rate, according to researchers.

The chronic dry eye is a common disease in which natural tears fail to adequately lubricate the eyes, thus drastically affecting its functioning.

The study found that the condition can slow a person’s reading speed by as much as 10 per cent and can make it difficult to read for more than an average of 30 minutes.

Those with clinically significant dry eye could read fewer words per minute — 32 words per minute less — than those without the condition, who read at the same rate of 272 words per minute.

“We suspected that people with dry eye were mostly unable to sustain good reading performance because their tears cannot re-lubricate their eye surfaces fast enough,” said Esen Akpek, from the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, the team included 186 adults aged 50 or older.

The participants had not used prescription or over the counter eyedrops in the 24 hours before testing.

Importantly, all participants responded to eye discomfort vision quality and environmental contributors to eye complaints, such as wind or smoke.

People who experience frequent dry eye symptoms such as stinging, fluctuating vision and dryness can try over the counter eyedrops, but will do best if they undergo professional testing and diagnosis, said Akpek.

IANS

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