Startessa's Blog

Making travel through Delhi a delight May 02, 2017 07:30 3 Comments

Stop over in Delhi ? make your travel easy and fun.

Considering Delhi is the most populated congested and polluted city in India . Movement through this place is super fast and hassle free if you know the way to do it.

 

Arriving at a reasonable hour for dinner, 7 pm but the worst time for travel, I leave Delhi airport at a relaxed, easy pace. Choosing the new ramp way down to the metro rather than queuing for the prepaid taxi,  I enjoyably arrive at Delhi's smart clean cosmopolitan metro., no queues and no hordes.

I buy one plastic coin for 50 rupees which will get me to the centre of Delhi. A quiet station, Shavaji Stadium with lifts and escalators for baggage.

 After a smooth swift ride we surface briefly where i had a chance to glimpse the main high way  chockablock, clogged and choked, not a car moving.  Grinning to myself at the thought of a battered cab and its driver, frantic and stressed, sounding horns like the crescendo of a Beethoven ending,  you got it, the ones that never seem to finish. 

I sit back as we disappear again under ground and arrive at the cosy, modern, metro stop, alight and into a shiny glass lift, up two flights of polished escalator and out into deepest Delhi .

The smell and heat hits you immediately but within moments your bag is being lumbered into a rickshaw,  the price of the small trip by street cab to Paharganj  ( or "The Ganj" as I heard it was now being called ) is discussed and 70 rupees agreed. Wait a minute, it just cost me 120 rupees to get from Delhi airport to deepest darkest Delhi at super fast speed  That's about a pound . And still time for a relaxed dinner and beer with friends.

 

Woke up at 5,  bag taken off me as soon as I left the room , the same man disappears off down a relatively quiet street only to reappear with a young very keen bright eyed boy and his TukTuk. Bag in back and it's off we go at the speed of light, missing by millimeters the heads of cows, people and on coming vehicles .

No one in their right mind in Europe would drive this fast down a main Bazaar Market Street. It would be big news. The local suburban rags would have a field day  Only in india is this behaviour permissible and rarely goes wrong. Another narrow miss and an increase in speed as we approach a busy junction. Propelled  across a main high way,  aiming at a group of men in red jackets as if they were matadors and we the raging bull. They casually part as we career headlong into the station car park overtaking the long taxi queue . Still smiling and not the slightest bit perturbed about his amazing accomplishment, he reaches out to call a Coolie. That short high speed ride,  though half as long was twice as spectacular and deserved a hundred rupees. 

My bag,  once again whisked away from me by the tall sturdy majestic looking Coolie . These Delhi porters are pros . I suggest anyone travelling through this city to  use them . They know their shit and they know how to rip off an unsuspecting  tourist, but show this guy your ticket and he will know exactly where your seat is. On indian trains this is gold . He will tell you with confidence and charm it will cost 500 rupees which of course it doesn't . They have to see you're a pro too . So smile but enforce a 100 rupee price tag, be resolute . He will explain how many stairs, how far, etc . Forget it's a 100 rupees end of and .... you want "train loading".

Scarf wrapped in a ring supporting his head as he strides off at a  pace most office working Europeans run at. Watch his elegant moves through the busy station its an art and like all art, worth paying for. Towering above most commuters they move with ease . Through the security checks up stairs down stairs up the platform and right to the door where he will find your name by your seat number written on the outside of the carriage.

Inevitably they  dump your bag here with a charming smile. At which point you remind him of the deal  "train loading" ..remember jee. He will grin with respect and grab your bag once again take you and it right to your place, slapping your seat with pride and placing your bag directly above your head . 100 Rupees plus tip Bargain. 

Ok so I left my room and arrived at my seat in the train and haven't actually touched my suitcase yet, for 330 rupees, twice as much as it cost me from the Airport to Delhi central ... but now we are in hub of it and these guys know how to do a good job . Well worth every Rupe in my humble opinion.

Delhi travel is a delight . 


Working designing and producing in Rajasthan. November 20, 2016 04:41 1 Comment

 

Designing and producing my first Summer, Gypsy, hippie chic Clothing collection in the harsh outback of the Rajasthani desert was an interesting experience.

On my first visit a few years back I was amazed at how authentic my surroundings were and of course how precarious it is for a first timer. Its not just the locals that can smell your naivety. 

 In search of interesting boho gypsy  style fabrics can take you into dangerous territory, especially when you smell like an alien.  Maybe best get your Rabies jabs if your plan is off the beaten track. 

 

 Traipsing intrepid down a dark,dusty, desert  back street in Rajasthan, blindly  following my Tailor and Fabric buyer  to his humble yard,  when a mangy  mutt flew with the force and ferocity of a wild beast and pierced my clean, white alien smelling flesh with both jaws sinking as deeply and neatly as an addicts needle might feel.

 

Unprotected at the time with no hint of a secure, safe serum running through my veins and nothing but the hundreds of harrowing warnings echoing around my over heated mind. I reached cooly for my anti bacterial and squelched the entire contents over my bleeding, bloody, butchered, body part. 

My kind,  caring compatriot, guide and host, whisked me off on his tiny 2 cylinder, across a dry and stony, parched and harsh landscape of gypsies, snakes and camels, to the nearest village outpost of a hospital.

There seated on the filthiest casualty bed, bearing witness and stains of the scars and maims of what must have been AT LEAST the past years injured unfortunates, hauled in from across this desolate unforgiving region.

 Vaccines, Needles, Antibiotics and Surgical cleaning fluid all purchased, and my watchful eye kept over the whole process in this festering and chaotic , badly managed environment. I emerged waiting and hoping (and nearly praying ) that this would not be my demise.

 A few years on from that deranged doggy experience, I am still designing and producing in this most alluring of places.  

 And so here is the tale of my Apple Mac Book so called Pro, the fine, sleek ,silver cased work horse that looks like a strong tough old goat under its robust looking keys and casement, but actually is a sensitive soul and has long been my biggest concern;  apart from being personally jolted by a juggernaut from my clapped out Honda Hero and left to bleed, dehydrate or simply hurt to death in this desolate desert outback.

 

Working in the desert with Textiles, Tailors and Technology.  

If young Mac the pro were to go,  suddenly decide its had enough, enough of clambering over badly arranged files,  hauling itself through multitudes  of malingering unnecessaries,  duplicates, decoys and desktop detachments.  With its minuscule excuse for built in cooling, fruitlessly floundering and failing to take the edge off the unrelenting, unyielding, ever increasing, searing desert heat,  what would happen to my life ?

 But it happened ! One more plane, another train and some bumpy terrain,  some sinister looking dust storms and a 45 degree C, daily normality, It was like a vicious dog bite to my struggling companion.   Mac book  crashed,  teetered a bit,  but fell, heavily,  could not recover and once again there I was in need of A & E.

 A creative fashion environment, stunning vistas and inspiring colours are not all that it takes,  technology plays an important part...even in a place where the camel is king.

 

 

I struggled for a few hours straining my eyes on an I phone whilst Mac book sat silently , too silently, not a breath, not a pulse not a glimmer or glint from its beautiful mind. 

But then suddenly there it was on my phone's screen,  Google had picked up the flashing lights of an Apple Hospital, just 2 miles from the incident,  Phone calls made, problem relayed ! …..what on earth is THIS casualty department going  to look likeI thought. 

A taxi drive. and then I arrived.  An escalator to a brightly lit,  pristine, gleaming, impeccably clean,  super hygiene, pro equipped,  Apple casualty award... winning service centre.

 

Professionals poised, awaiting the arrival of this poor unfortunate, ill treated,  no doubt abused family member.

Latex gloves and expert hands, questions calmly conveyed with succinct pertinence, documents presented and  a body bag filled. Macbook was rushed and hushed behind hitek smokey screens followed by a pleasant, reassuring shake of the head …

”come back tomorrow sir” 

(It would have been next week or even in next month in London)  

 

Well flipping eck !!  Tomorrow came,  Laptop returned, all be it his memory completely erased, ( he didn't know who I was ) but in impeccable working order, and …..totally Free of Charge.

 

Whether its Body parts or technology parts, there's always help at hand in this baron place. 

My happy tailors 

Raw Silks May 07, 2015 19:35 1 Comment

This is a slightly nubby fabric with random flecks in a natural, off-white colour before the tedious dyeing process It has a somewhat rough texture and gentle drape, 

is thicker than our other silks.

Silk has long been known as the gift of gifts in Asia, and infamously known for it's auspiciousness. 

Silk is a natural protein fibre some forms of which can be woven into textiles.The protein fibre of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. 

The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm reared in captivity.

                                                  

 

India is the second largest producer of silk in the world after China. Having had a long history in India also known as  paat in Eastern  India, Pattu in southern parts of India and Resham in north India. This alone acknowledges, it's strong roots in the culture across the land. 

 Look out for our new range of raw silks, silks and many other scarfs in Startessa,  and soon to be found online!

Come and visit us in Camden !

unit 522,
The stables Market
Chalk Farm Road
London 
NW1 8AH

 


Colour here, colour there, colour everywhere May 01, 2015 00:20

Colour me beautiful!