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If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.
~Japanese Proverb

Today I need to admit something. I have a drinking problem and guess what my favorite tipple is? Yes, I am a Tea-drinker. Apart from the health benefits of tea, as a creative person, I feel tea is an essential part of my daily routine and writing process.

Stephen King mentioned in an interview that he often has a cup of tea when he starts writing, “There are certain things I do if I sit down to write…I have a glass of water or a cup of tea.” At times, my experiments in healthy living take the form of an obsession, so you need to step up to match my tea game. And yes, I drink at least 4 cups a day because I write a lot. But I guess, there are worse addictions I could have succumbed to!

My love affair with tea has lasted almost through every season of my life. Perhaps it’s one of those very few things that have remained a constant for most of my life. However, it has evolved alongside my tastes and preferences, from sugary concoctions in my teens (which I still yearn for time to time) to more sophisticated brews in my 20s, there is nothing that beats the feeling of holding onto a cup of hot tea on a cold wintry Delhi morning!

Most people view tea just as a brew that’s comforting, warming and delicious. I have been reading a lot about tea benefits. Did you know that apart from being a tasty way to get your daily dietary requirement of fluids, tea can help to protect your teeth, heart and possibly ward off cancer? My skin loves me for it, I think because tea makes it clear, bright, and supple!

Teas have a delightful, complex flavor, and as an aficionado, I am every bit as passionate and knowledgeable about various varieties as a wine connoisseur may be about vintages. Is your Tea drinking experience limited to just Green Tea? As it turns out, there are tons of far yummier flavoured versions for the uninitiated.

You can play around and experiment with tea endlessly. Try it iced, or enjoy it warm. When the weather gets a little hot (which usually starts in early April and lasts until the end of October), it is time for iced brews. Want to start your morning or energize your afternoon? Try a tall glass of cool basil green tea. It’s the perfect little pick-me-up when you really need one! When I begin to feel tired and have difficulty focusing on my creative projects as the afternoon wears on, I know it’s time to reach out for one.

I discovered an important fact about tea that it began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. And I experienced it first hand.

A dear friend of mine had a longstanding gastrointestinal condition – and had visited hoardes of doctors, taken many medications, but found no relief. She was hooked to coffee. I asked her to try basil green tea and within a couple of months, she was free of her persisting discomforts. Moving forward, she plans to continue including basil green tea drinking in her natural health routine. Cheers to the conversion!

As a personal favorite, I love the tangy kick of Hibiscus Tea! It’s my morning favorite because of the refreshing aroma and bright color. I feel that by consuming a caffeine-free morning drink, my body has learnt to make its own energy rather than rely on anything else to stimulate my nervous system. At night, I like to drink Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, which is super calming, reduces bloating, and is more full-bodied than a chamomile tea. Nothing more relaxing than that to lull you into a sound sleep! Trust me on that.

February was an unbelievably hectic month for me, but I noticed that I was able to manage the stress really well, thanks to my cups of Jasmine Tea. Its fragrant aroma invited me to rest and meditate a bit while sipping my brew. I was delighted to find that quiet and wise place within myself.

So – if you’re a coffee slave – I suggest you take a few days off & try tea. Just see what it does for you. All you need to do is to be willing to experiment. Do let me know how was your experience!

Jasmine tea, Blue Peaflower Tea, Hibiscus Tea and Basil Green Tea.
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Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel
Since eternity, women have been at the receiving end of timeworn traditions and assumptions. It’s just of late that women have been recognized as individuals capable of reason, therefore, they should be free to choose their role and explore their full potential in all spheres of life.

Barack Obama, during his tenure, had said, “So the simple truth is, when women succeed, America succeeds. And we should be choosing policies that benefit woman because that benefits all of us.”
Such a powerful statement coming from the then most powerful person on earth speaks volumes about the difference a woman makes to the world around her!
Every woman is the manifestation of the divine feminine essence. Each woman is made unique. Each comes with a different beauty, a different sense of style, identity, personality, dreams and a different way of carrying herself. Now is the time for her to enrich the world through her increased radiance, creativity and vibration. She is like the forest bird that doesn’t want to be caged!

This beautiful quote by Henrik Ibsen also reminds me of another poignant poem by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. There are two birds in the poem. One is a free bird of the forest and the other a tame one who lives in a cage. The poem is about the conversation between the two, where each beckons the other to come and join the other. The poem explores the feelings of a relationship where individuals have to step outside of their own zone and absorb the reality of another. Living in times which talks and believes in more equality and advances for women than at any other time previously, I feel that we have a great opportunity to see and experience deeply the true effect of a woman at her fullest and loveliest!
Divinity is manifested in nature, our first and ultimate connection where wild wisdom teachings await us anytime we want to explore ourselves and that’s why I chose this as a theme for this particular photo shoot.

I have always had a blast working around the office and getting things done, but I especially have a good time when we do a photoshoot. Behind all my photoshoots is the continual consciousness that the photographs means something and represents more than just who I am. I had such a fantastic time collaborating with Bangalore based photographers to create forest bird/liberal women look. Standing strong in the midst of the forest elements, challenged me to realign my perspective, find inner strength and appreciate the little things in life!

The Planning

For me, everything starts with the concept. It’s an important process that allows space for creativity. To energize the artist in me, I started rifling through old magazines and gandering through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. For this particular shoot, I was working to create ‘forest bird’ representing the liberal women look… Once the concept was locked in, I started working on the kind of framing we needed and the perfect location. To play on the theme, I went with a fit and flare red Wrap cami maxi dress from Shein. I love picking out outfits with strong colour palettes because it always makes everything look so much brighter. Plus, colour photographs extremely well.

The Logistics

I already had an idea of where I wanted photos to be taken. For this theme, I wanted the edgier vibe of a forest, something beautifully airy and dreamy. Since Bangalore is more like an urban jungle, filled with buildings, we thought it would be nice to choose Cubbon park and make it look more mystic and dense. We were lucky to have some fantastic parks close by, so we didn’t have to look far to find inspiration for our shoot.
During the ride to the park, I focused on the creative process and reviewed the frames we needed. It’s so helpful to make a short list because when you’re working with many photographers, it’s easy to forget.  Spending a couple of hours to get that picture perfect photo seems a little ridiculous (and isn’t a great use of your limited time and you’re losing on natural light too). And the worst thing that could happen is that you have to reshoot something because you missed a photo. Trust me, it can dramatically alter the outcomes of a photo shoot. Therefore, everything i.e. knowledge, skills, and talent is equally important to capture stunning photos.

The Execution

I always have an idea of what I want to do before I start, but sometimes, I end up just doing what works better in the spur of the moment.
Once we were at the location, it was showtime. Some people may feel uncomfortable posing for the camera in public, but it’s a fear one gets used to and will eventually get over. Primarily, photography depends on the person behind the camera. It was a dream to work with this photographer, seeing his unique perspectives and styles.

Post Production

I made sure that I am happy with the way my photos looked on the camera display because, “Lightroom isn’t a miracle worker, it’s just a help.” I decided to experiment and edit the raw images myself. I used adobe photoshop and adobe lightroom for the same. I follow a bit desaturated and flat tones ( that is my style). For this shoot, I tried editing same along with natural green blends for one edit and cool light blend for the other edited version.
Well, who doesn’t love a perfectly planned photo? However, I’ve never been good at faking real life. My Instagram feed may be somewhat curated but my Instagram stories are all real.

All text and opinions are my own.