diwali with cookbooks

by Pritya Books on October 5, 2009

Both of us (Jigyasa & Pratibha) love diwali time, wedding season and the like. It means we can indulge in creative ideas with which to package our books. We love shopping for candles, perfume sachets, bangles, spices,  and ganeshas in colors of our books! We have 2-3 shelves in office stacked just with these! And this is what became our connecting link with a new friend we just made!

Ishrath of Wandering Mist truly brightened our pre-diwali mood with her sunny smile and brilliant ideas. It is tough to believe we did not know of her existence till a week ago. Thanks to black gram, its search brought her to this blog, and to our sheer delight we realized that this wanderer was right next door :) – as the Hindi proverb goes -  “bagal me chora, gaanv mein dhindora”.

Her blog has a lot of gifting ideas, and so when she sauntered into our office and saw all our gift boxes, ganeshas, hand-crafted paraphernalia and the like which we use for gift wrapping our own books, she was supremely excited. Instinctively, she grabbed a copy each of Cooking at Home with Pedatha and Sukham Ayu, some candles and flowers, and came back the very next morning with a CD full of fabulous, festive pics of our two cookbooks.

We were beside ourselves with delight! And all through our ballistic excitement, she stood there calmly enjoying our excitement on one hand and on the other, scrutinizing the pics for flaws. When she asked us if she could post them on her blog, we told her it would be our honour if she did so.

So here is the link to her beautifully written post describing her labour of love with her camera through the night.

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This simple and elegant composition was done for our website. Keeping in mind the color of the book cover, the arrangement was created in white and green.

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A few green leaves add such cheer. Dilip Mahapatra created these lovely marble design handmade cardboard boxes for our two cookbooks. His sense of colour and proportion is unmatched in itself. It is always a pleasure working with him, and seeing his creative finish to suit the occasion at hand.

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As the night progressed, the lights were lit one after the other. This photograph was shot by Ishrat using “one side light, candle and a light diffuser. To give it earthy feel, the brown shades were chosen in its composition. Rattan mat, terracotta pot, sepia tainted lampshade, etc, have contributed to the base warmth of the image.” How well the satin curls heighten the deep colour of the book! Note how Ishrath kept changing the background between green and orange according to the books.

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It is obvious that Ishrath was indulging herself, even though it is obviously a lot of work.  Her passion and aesthetic sense shines through every photograph. In this pic, the props and simple addition of candles brings in the festive cheer.

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Lord Ganesha – symbol of prosperity, bangles, tiny hand-crafted boxes with fragrant spices, diya etc are classic icons of Indian tradition. For a wedding gift, we pack the books with all these accessories to signify auspiciousness.

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A bed of fairy lights and the fresh green leaves creates unusual drama for the books. Ishrath says it was like a “partial aromatherapy session :) . Everytime you handle the delicate flowers or change their position, they let out their mesmerising fragrance and one cant help but notice these little gifts of God.”

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She lit up the fairy lights to create a “golden glow…a magical and ethreal bed on which the two gifts were placed with props…Now this may be going the Eastman color way but the moment Pratibha saw it – her only words were “its very diwali”. (Actually Jigs said it, ok? :) That phrase is stuck in my head.  Very diwali. Very very diwali indeed!” she said.

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It is tough to believe that all the pix have been shot with her point-n-shoot camera! Of course, the icing on the cake was when we said we missed Pedatha, she would have been so happy to see the pics and this whimsical blogger replied, “I am sure Pedatha was somewhere there watching me, for that’s how I felt.” This photograph is a befitting tribute to the radiant Pedatha!


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May 2, Pedatha’s birthday, a day that brings back memories; the perfect day to share this beautiful letter written by her son to her! On this very day in 2005. Thank you Preetham (A P Parigi) for sharing this. We have always admired this mother-son duo, and reading this letter just reiterates what we saw and felt. Pedatha was indeed blessed with a golden heart, her undiluted adoration for her son, her affection for her daughter-in-law – the lovely Vrinda, for her grandson Rohit, his wife Arathi, and the large circle of family and friends. She had this uncanny capacity to make people feel hugged and loved. And of course, can we ever forget the peaceful and harmonious relationship between her and her neighbour, Mr Badami, who happened to be Vrinda’s father. Hope all of you, our readers, will cherish this letter, and write many more of your own, because letters are indeed one of the best creations of man, a celebration of the human spirit.

Parigi & Pedatha ~ Awesome Mother-Son

Parigi & Pedatha ~ Awesome Mother-Son duo

My Dearest Amma,

It is ages since I wrote to you. I wonder why. Yes, my job does keep me busy but that’s no excuse for not writing. It’s an art that’s dying. I in no small measure did contribute to the death of the art of writing or for that matter written communication. What with the great revolution of mobile telephony, the sms culture, drop in long distance tariffs I always believed and do continue to believe you are just a phone call away. Yes, life further gets complicated with the frequent flier miles culture that gives me supreme confidence to fly down at short notice to see you. But again I have never been proud of my inclination or capacity to fly down; that too, whenever you have not been well or when I felt guilty of not keeping in touch. Amma why are sons so different? Or is it that this son is different from the others? When they are single they always presume their dad will take care of their mothers needs and when they get married they transfer the responsibility to their wife!

What a pity. I still vividly recall the days when I would write to you, with hardly any provocation, when you did go visiting Tatayya at Trivandrum, I did shoot off letters by the day, without even waiting for a reply. I would sit for hours on end to coin specially crafted titles for you…do u remember…Kamli Pu of Rangi Uru Estate!!! In fact Tatayya was rather intrigued by the titles I had given you!

When I look back, the times were so different…you were far more slimmer, hardly any grey hair, wore fairly large glares, sarees with heavy motifs, you loved your high heels, perfumes, fed any mouth that was open…and always the world’s best cook. Now just imagine – I have lots of grey hair, I have put on weight, wear fairly predictable dress to work, keep late hours, forget to call home despite promising to do so, make resolutions that I will change but never do, and yes I too have a daughter in law!

Do I miss you? Frankly, I get so immersed in my work…that I sometimes tend to believe that the Sun would not rise or set if I were not at work!

It’s so strange that at work and during travel I only focus on such pedestrian things like profitability, growth of business or why my boss was unhappy or disappointed with the last meeting, will I again get to carry my board of directors at the next meeting etc.

Then when do I get to think of you Amma? The truth is when I hear you have been eating too much of your favourite foods, been consulting with every doctor in town, preparing to overstay at someone’s residence or fly over to Chennai or Delhi. Or withholding information from me if you were not “well received” or taken care of at the destination. That’s when I really start thinking about you and rush in to un-load, on the phone, a few lessons in discipline and caution to you!

What’s amazing is that we are so similar!!! Politely stubborn, agree to all advice, in fact empathize with the person giving advice and finally or precisely do what we always used to.

Amma, this year I thought I would give you a very special gift. I will henceforth write to you every month. Happy birthday Amma. May all the celestial beings conspire to keep you as cheerful as you always been. May they bless you with the best of health in the years to come.

Amma I miss you. I love you so much that I believe you are the magic in my life.
Yours affectionately,
Mumbai. Monday, May 2, 2005

Two foodies meet ~ Pedatha & Prahalad Kakar

Preetham proudly introduces his mother to Prahalad Kakar

Pedatha and her son AP Parigi welcome guests at book launch in Mumbai.

Mother and son (Pedatha and Preetham Parigi) welcome guests at book launch in Mumbai

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