Something Different

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I was visiting my parents in Calcutta all of December, with no straight agenda, no plans. I had come home to eat my mum’s food and not get up from my bed, which is what I did for most part. In a fit of guilt I called up Srishti and ask her if she wanted to collaborate for a blog post, and I’m so glad she readily agreed. It was the only productive day in all of the twenty days I’ve been home.

Srishti Nadhani is my junior from college, who is now a brilliant stylist, and very popular in Calcutta. She co-runs a fashion and styling blog called Store Untold. Srishti was also my junior in school and remembers me from being in the same examination hall multiple times, but my recollection skills are absolute top-notch. What I like about her is that she really understands how to work with layers, prints and colours. She once did a look with four pieces of denim I’m sure I can never pull off!

For this collaboration, we decided to style each other for New Year’s Eve — ditch the platitude LBD and try something different. I’ve never really tried my hand at styling, and I have very little knowledge of body types and what fits what and who. I’ve only picked out clothes for my mother once in a while and myself.

I was excited, yet largely nervous. I wasn’t sure what I’d choose would look good on Srishti. I wasn’t sure she would like what I’d pick for her. I was quite a bundle of nerves since we had roughly 30 minutes to sort out two looks for each other.

All our outfits are from Avoire, this very pretty store in Ballygunge that houses a variety of designers. And although it looks supremely fancy, they don’t sell any piece for over 20k INR.

I’d never pick either of the outfits that Srishti did for me, but weirdly, I thoroughly loved them! I was very apprehensive initially, and I kept telling her ‘Oh, that’s not me!’ but she kept insisting. For half the time I couldn’t believe I actually liked what she had done — the mixing of prints, the layering and how all the colours fell together. This really made me step out of my comfort zone in terms of trying different silhouettes as well as styling someone else. It was undiluted fun, and I learnt a hell lot. I was also pleasantly surprised she loved what I chose for her.

As my friend Harshika said, this was shooting with what was a dream team. I’ve known Harshika since school, when we met at every possible fest back in 2006. We were both board members of the Interact Club at our respective schools and had some crazy crazy times. We’ve lazed on each other’s beds for hours together, pigged out on each other’s mumma ka khana, shown up at midnight birthday surprises, cheered at cricket matches at the Eden Gardens, wasted insane amount of time pulling hookah at Aqua Java and gotten sloshed together on many a Saturday night. I missed her wedding almost three years ago, and she didn’t speak to me for the longest time. Sethi was always the smart kid, cleared her CA in the first go and then did something none of us expected – took to photography professionally. She’s been doing this for the last three years, and she’s only gotten better at it. I remember one of her Facebook albums very clearly where she put one picture for every day of the year, and some of the images were absolutely fabulous! Her pictures have come a long way since, but I have to say she hasn’t changed even one bit since the time I’ve known her. You can follow her work on Harshika Tantia Photography.

There is no way this would’ve been possible without Zainab. She was also my junior in college but we go back a long way, from racing to reach early morning movie shows at Forum to walking around New Market, checking out second-hand books with the rest of the gang, getting drunk at Oly Pub and then going driving around town and binging on some delish chicken momos. She has these two really cute dogs – Bella and Uno, she can’t live without. She did an MA in English Literature from London and then came back to India and decided painting faces is what she loves. And she is darn good at it! You can check out her work on Makeup by Zainab.

These are all people from my past, my friends, human beings without whom growing up wouldn’t have been the same. It was a wholly unimaginable experience to come together and actually get some work done. I never thought xx and yy years later, instead of loafing around with either of them, I’d be working with them, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t think it either. We had a fantastic time, scamperingoff around pretty and not so pretty neighbourhoods, begging the low winter sun to stay just a little bit longer, making umpteen bizarre videos on Boomerang and memories of a day to last us a lifetime.

To all three of you, thank you for making me look so fabulous!

Happy New Year to everyone reading this, and also to those not reading this.

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On me
All apparel – Avoire
Green Canvas Shoes – Converse
Black Boots – Forever 21
Blue Earring – Thrifted
Silver Metal Clutch – Exhibition
Black Vintage Clutch – Vintage Rose
On Srishti
All apparel – Avoire
Silver Brogues – Forever 21
Ox Blood Boots – Forever 21
Green Clutch – Avoire
Styling – Srishti Nadhani/Chandni Doulatramani
Photography – Harshika Sethi Tantia
Hair and Make Up – Zainab Ashraf

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