Monday, September 30, 2013

A day at the slum

I have been strolling down memory lane and came across my old blog.  I found some good shares for our new followers of ICHCHA.  This is the first one, I thought I'd share - my day at a slum in New Delhi, India. 

Dated: April 2011:
Our day at a slum in New Delhi was very interesting but also very uncomfortable! The majority of the people who lived there are garbage collectors. As soon as we walked into this area, we saw that the people were living side by side with the the garbage, tied in 10 feet+ large white bags! There were uncountable flies everywhere - a very disease prone area! Most of the houses that we saw were concrete, not tents as I had expected. This confirmed that this slum was one of the better slums of India, but a slum nevertheless. I managed to take a few pictures on my iphone:

Avoiding the stares and unnecessary comments of the people, we made our way to this NGO called 'Jan Sandesh' led by Shanti Paswan and Malathi. Jan Sandesh means Message to the People. This is a very small organization that started in 2000 but only started picking up a few years ago. However, even now they make very little things as they don't get a lot of orders. Shanti and Malathi, the two ladies who we met, are working at Jan Sandesh on a volunteer basis, in other words, without any salary. They have employed 30 women from the slum who are willing to work on handicrafts. Shanti told us of various issues when it came to employing the women of these slums. She said that many of these women who are collecting garbage, do not want to do these handicrafts because it is harder and they can make more money collecting garbage in a month than they can by making handicrafts. It's sad and unfortunate, but most of these people want to do nothing but get lot of money. Some other issues that Shanti told us are that some of these women leave after sometime because they get married and go away, or they have no interest in making these handicrafts, or they are simply lazy. I was surprised because I had ignorantly thought that any slum or poor person would happily want to take up "good" work - one that brought them "up". But surprisingly, that is not the case. Shanti and Malathi have to work very hard with these women to convince them to work with the organization!

This organization started by re-using newspaper to make bags. Now they also make textile handicrafts and textile jewelery. It is definitely commendable to see these two women give their time and energy in a slum, which is know to get dangerous as the sun sets - just to make a difference! Below are some of the products they make :

Made from recycled fabric. It's filled with cut up used plastic bags, that would have normally ended up in a landfill.

An IMPORTANT UPDATE about the post above - June 10 2011 (2 months later):I've observed that by searching "Jann Sandesh" or "Shanti Paswan" or "seema puri", a few people have come to this blog. I wanted to share with you my experiences with Jann Sandesh.

In April, after hearing about Jann Sandesh from Shanti Paswan and Malathi, I was very pleased and decided to work with this organization. We(Ichcha) gave them a few designs to work on. However, things didn't end as they started. In fact, they ended soon after we handed them our designs. We were open, but they didn't care to discuss any options.   If Jann Sandesh is really what an NGO is supposed to be all about, they should have followed through what they started.

So for those of you who are thinking of working them, please be aware.  Sadly, their intentions may not be as social as they seem to portray, after all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our workspace

hello Friends,
I've been spending a lot of time in our little office/studio and thought of sharing it with you guys. It is a special place with little quirky items that bring back memories and a smile to our face. I especially love our newest addition - the block printed scarf on the wall. It takes on a whole different look once you step away from it. It's naturally dyed in Iron water and this one I printed myself!

Friday, September 6, 2013

We meet again, Fall

Fall is around the corner. I know..I hear the groans from around the world.
We had a good time soaking in all the sun this summer, watching the sunset, feeling the ocean breeze. 
However, now it's time to cuddle up in our cozy fall goodies. 
One look at the organic cotton scarf and  I'm like, summer who? No, I will still miss summer but I am sure the warm scarves, socks, and boots will make up for it pretty soon. We will meet again next year though!

Until then, revel in the goodness of nature, with the colors changing and the warm coffees setting the mood for a cozy day. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BRIKA feature!

So proud to share this with everyone!
Ichcha is now available on
You can check out a variety of Hand Block Printed scarves and curtains on their site and for 7 days they are being featured at a special price. Love the site and love the various hand made products featured. 
Visit for more!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


It's been a while since I blogged about natural dyeing but I think it's time to start again! 
My sister and I recently visited the Natural Dye garden started bye the Textile Art Center in Brooklyn. I must say it was truly beautiful. 

It's a community garden space that accepts volunteers to come and tend to the plants. It not only has natural dye plants but also vegetables! What more could you ask for. 

I participated in the Indigo dye class and will definitely be trying it myself at home now that I have a bit more confidence. The Indigo dye bath has always been a tricky project for me and after my first failure I just never tried again. But, I think that will have to change. I also have lavender in the backyard that I could stock up for some dyeing projects, not to mention the onion skins that are overflowing from the kitchen drawer. It's going to be a fun end to the summer. :) 
Till next time, enjoy the pictures of the garden. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The sound of stillness

Brilliant Purse Organizers !

So, how many of us have rumbled through our purses ?!  I know I have! Its annoying to look for my phone, when it's ringing mercilessly or to look for keys when you are standing right outside your home!  And I've always wanted something to organize my purse!  And then someone came up with something that looks like this and many variations of the same:
From Plaid Doctrine

While some may prefer the above, it fell short of a few things that were my requirements.  One, with this kind of organizer, I was limited to big purses only!  Secondly, when I went with my friends for a night out, I had to pick out from the purse organizer, the necessary credit cards, cash, keys, my license and my phone!  And it would be such a hassle to remember to put it back into my purse bag for work the next day!  So, I decided to create an organizer that
1. organized everything
2. is movable from my work purse to my party clutch, and
3. is small enough to fit any size purse, and
4. could close to prevent things from falling out

and lo and behold:
a set of 3 :-
S - this smallest size has 5 pockets that can separately hold the cash, the cards, the phone, the keys and some makeup too and most importantly it is small enough to transfer into a party clutch !
M - this size is good to hold papers floating around in your bag, books, makeup, receipts, etc. This has 2 pockets.
L - the largest can hold an IPAD, books, chargers and it has 7 separate pockets for eye glasses, sunglasses, pens, etc,

From Ichcha
From Ichcha

Transferable & Small - Easily move the smallest size from your work purse to your party clutch and back to your work purse!
Keep it opened or closed - These all have zips so you can either keep it opened if you like to see everything, or closed, if you don't like to see the clutter.
Professional - So what if it's inside the purse! It doesn't need to look ugly, just because no one else is looking in!  Made in tweed, it give a professional look.

And the bonus is that it is cheaper for so much more!  Why wouldn't anyone want one?
Found at -->

Saturday, May 18, 2013

So the journey continues to our final destination, Karnataka.

Along with work, we had time for a little bit of playing. Check out Hampi! It is spectacular! An ancient empire ruin, still untouched, spread across acres of land. The bright blue sky truly made the view amanzing. I hope you enjoy and one day get a chance to go visit it yourself. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Part 2 - a bit of inspirational tour

Our adventure in Jodhpur brought us to new artisans and a little bit of sightseeing. 
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Words are too less to describe it's awesomeness.
See for yourself.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan