Like a leaf in the sun

Growth is not a battle to be hurried, but a slow walk down the road from home.

We’re musing on the idea of growth, especially at times like this, when things seem to have been brought to a halt. Looking at plantlife—living things that are synonymous with the idea of growth, despite being rooted in one place—we realise that it’s about simply working at something slowly, while staying in focus. This plant at the Rithihi store tells us to channel our energy and resources, as they come, without losing sense of that wonderfully warm sunlit spot where we want to be.

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Endless

Nature is probably our greatest inspiration in life. We have always been moved by its colourful exuberance, honesty, and perseverance to simply be. At times when this incredible source of inspiration seems violated, hurt, or beaten by our thoughtlessness, it almost seems as if we are at the brink of losing an extraordinary treasure. But, then again, looking back at what we know about the history of our world, we remember that nature has always persisted and survived forces much greater than us humans; We remember that she is endless, ageless, and perpetual. But, us? We are fleeting, and standing on sands that crumble as we race and rage in our hopeless scramble to grab a little bit more.

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The forever fibre

This beautiful linen portrait of a woman, which is currently housed at the Cleveland Museum of Art, is thought to be from Egypt and goes as far back as c.138. It’s a funeral portrait, also known as a mummy portrait. Such portraits were drawn and hung up on walls while the subjects were still alive. When someone passed away, their portrait was taken down, cut out of the frame, and trimmed to fit the deceased’s mummy. This particular one was drawn on linen using the encaustic painting method and gives us a glimpse of what ordinary folk art may have been like all those centuries ago. We find it truly beautiful. But, what impresses us about this is the durability of the material; how, long after the people, their faces, names, bodily remains, and even memories have vanished from the face of the Earth, this incredible material continues to live on. This is the magic of linen.

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Home is all you need

Ranee never thought she’d host her only daughter’s wedding with no formal ritual, no impressive hotel, and no guests. But, here she is, on the eve of a humble home wedding adhering to the latest health guidelines issued by the PHI, cutting long-stemmed pink flowers from her much prided rose garden to make a simple bridal bouquet. She made sure that the evening cool had settled upon the city before she cut the flowers; this is so they wouldn’t wilt before the auspicious time to sign in front of the marriage registrar—the most significant photo of the nuptial procedures that she wanted to Whatsapp her oldest and closest sister in Australia. Ranee admired her roses as she placed them in a tall vase. She felt her heart well up at the thought of her treasured roses making her precious girl’s bridal bouquet. Ranee had spent a good part of the day perfecting the spice mix for her son-in-law’s favourite yellow rice—it’ll be the first meal of the newlyweds tomorrow; She smiled at the thought of his sweetly exaggerated compliments on her cooking.

Ranee took out the lovely silk saree that her daughter had gifted for the occasion; not showy, nor extravagant, yet an absolutely beautiful celebration of her favourite colour blue. She hung it under the fan to be aired out overnight.

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Flourish

When we were curating a capsule from the Anavila ‘Bloom’ collection to be housed here at Rithihi, we fell in love with this floral saree. What we really adore are those hand-painted roses that have then been digitally transferred onto the handwoven linen. They are absolutely lovely—don’t you think? It’s a saree that puts us in the mind of blossoming—the courageous act of becoming against all odds.

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Feeling spring

“You can cut all the flowers. But, you can’t keep the spring from coming”, said the ever so brilliant writer Pablo Neruda; And, we couldn’t agree more.

No matter how bleak things look, we trust in the light and the beauty that our inner sun holds. Just like the inevitable spring that comes, we know that at the end of the day, life will always find a way. This wonderfully optimistic yellow saree by Anavila captures the mood perfectly.

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