RICH hues, luxurious silks, ornate weaves and embellished fabrics come together to create all that defines festive fervour, royal grandeur and celebratory mood. Fabindia unveiled its latest Rajwada, festival collection of garments and accessories. Rajwada brings to you one of the most extensive and premium collection of silk blends and silks in Indian and fusion wear for men, women and kids. Ornate and elaborate craft techniques such as Benarasi, Zardozi and other intricate weaving techniques become the mainstay of the collection which infuses hints of gold to create a luxuriant festive look true to the craft heritage. Take your pick from styles with detailing in gota patti, zari, brocade, sequin and mirror work, gold khari block prints and embroidery on vibrant colours. The collection is available in all Fabindia outlets
FABINDIA’S maternity wear range brings you a range of day and evening wear. The collection emphasises on styling while creating comfortable choices. Look gorgeous with the array of options extending from comfort wear, smart work wear to traditional wear in kurtas, tops, palazzos, dresses and pants. Combining style and functionality, the garments come with fit details such belly panels in palazzos, front open plackets for easy-nursing, pleated self-fabric seams for more ease and empire lines. Created with natural and breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk blends, the collection highlights a fresh colour palette and soft prints. High on style and comfort these garments work just as well post-delivery. The collection is available at select stores across India and online.
For 32-year-old commercial artist, Nikita Chopra, her unplanned pregnancy gave her a whole new perspective on just how unpredictably wonderful life can truly be
BY CHARLENE FLANAGAN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AKSHAY KULKARNI
HAIR & MAKE-UP BY SACHIN GATHE
The story of Nikita and her husband, Aakesh, begins with a simple meeting, arranged by their families. For the couple, an arranged marriage set-up was not exactly what they were hoping for, but have come to value, now more than ever. “My parents always believed in raising independent children. They encouraged my career as a commercial artist, and never stopped me from pursuing my dreams. The only stipulation they ever laid down was that I needed to marry within our community,” says Nikita.
Since Nikita focused on her work, she never really found the time to meet someone and fall in love. Since she belonged to a Marwari- Jain community, she let her parents find her a partner. “My parents introduced me to Aakesh, and I can’t explain it, but I just knew that he’d make an amazing husband. We were engaged when I was 24, and married the next year in December 2009. I was 25 then.”
After a lavish Marwari wedding, Nikita moved into her husband’s home, and realised just how different things were from her own pre-wedded life. “I live with my husband, his parents and grandmother in his family home. And while my in-laws are understanding and supportive, there are a few differences in their outlook. Fortunately, Aakesh and I weren’t forced to start a family immediately after marriage. After all, we were young. But, I wasn’t allowed to work full-time post my marriage so I had to take up part-time employment close to home. The truth, however, is I really didn’t need to work. My husband is doing well for himself. He’s one of the directors for a real estate development company called Cosmos Group and has recently launched his own nutritional and healthcare brand called FIC Lyf. I really don’t want for anything,” admits Nikita. The couple wanted to take their time, get to know each other better and enjoy themselves before taking on the responsibility of bringing a child into this world. And that’s exactly the couple did for five years. After Nikita turned 30, she began contemplating starting a family, but then decided to hold off till after Nikita’s youngest brother got married and settled down. “I didn’t want to have to deal with pregnancy symptoms while I was running around with wedding preps. But, life has a funny way of surprising you. I had missed my period and I just brushed that off to stress or PCOS. But when my period hadn’t come for a while, I figured that it was time I go get a routine checkup with a gynaecologist, just to rule out anything serious. I was convinced it was nothing more than that; I was confident that I wasn’t pregnant and I even did a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office. The results came out positive. I was in shock,” she admits.
Her husband, however, took the news well, and was very excited that he would soon be a father. “He even comforted me by telling me that things happened for a reason, and that God had some great in store for us. I was just worried about what would happen. My brother was to be married in November and that was the month we would become parents. I was an emotional wreck, and just unsure about what to expect next. For now, we only broke the news to family and decided to take things one day at a time,” she says. Nikita is grateful for the love and support she received from Aakesh during this time. “After our sonography, we learnt that I had gestation hypothyroid. This made me more nervous about this pregnancy. There’s no doubt that Aakesh proved himself, and gave me his unrelenting support during this emotionally-challenging phase. We spent a great deal of time, as husband and wife, talking about our unborn baby. He helped me stay positive and convinced me that we’d make great parents. We even spent the next 10 days in prayer. Before our next sonography, I was nervous. But hen the doctor told me that everything was progressing normally, I was relieved. That’s when I realised just how happy I truly was. I couldn’t wait for our baby to be born!” says an ecstatic Nikita.
My growing bump
Once the realisation set in, Nikita and Aakesh began their journey by preparing to welcome their baby home. Of course, for Nikita, that meant looking after her health. “After learning that our baby was healthy and growing at a normal rate, I went back to work and went about my daily routine as I always had. There was just one conscious change I made to my lifestyle. Since my sister is a nutritionist, under her constant care and guidance, I adopted a healthy diet of wholesome, home-cooked meals. I also made it a point to stay hydrated,” she says. She further adds, “I was mentally preparing myself for the on-set of morning sickness and that laziness that sets in during the first trimester, but to my surprise, I didn’t experience any of that. Everyday felt like a normal day to me.”
When the news of their newest family member broke, after the typical three-months wait, there was an added excitement to the wedding preparations. All was as it was meant to be. Nikita went about her days, eating healthy and working part-time. The other times, she was on her feet, keeping active with all the wedding preps. But, as it’s known, it’s always better to be extra prepared. And that’s something Nikita took seriously. “I had read as much as I could on pregnancy care, and I knew that I needed to keep active during these months. That’s when I decided to join prenatal yoga classes with Dr Isha Jain, and antenatal specialist and yoga instructor. In my opinion, that’s the best thing I did to ensure I had a healthy pregnancy. I even enrolled myself in Lamaze classes to help me prepare for labour. I had a pretty set routine. I’d go to work, then get home and have a healthy lunch. Post that, I’d head to my yoga class and my evenings were spent walking, or helping with wedding preps. I made it a point to keep myself as active as I could during my pregnancy. In fact, I was the most active during my pregnancy than before,” admits Nikita. She credits the fact that she didn’t look pregnant till her seventh month, to her active routine. “People just thought I had put on a little weight. They had no idea I was expecting,”
The festive season is usually filled with a whole lot of love, laughter and excitement. To get you in the festive mood, we think a bit of change is in order? And what better time than now, to redecorate? We bring you the latest trends in home décor, particularly when it comes to the comfort of your little one’s personal spaces. Read on to know more
BY SANIA DHIRWANI
When selecting furniture for your kids bedroom, it is essential to make sure you buy safe, sustainable and high-quality products. Choose furniture that will grow with your baby. Mumbaibased independent interior designer, Ayushi Kanodia, says, “Functionality as well as longevity when selecting the furniture should be a priority. Elements of imagination and fun should be a part of their room. Parents also constantly worry about the kids growing out of the furniture. Hence, having the right balance between fantasy and functionality is what is trending these days.”
Select furniture based on the theme of your kid’s bedroom. Founder and creative director, StudioCREO, Parushni Aggarwal, says, “Do you wish to keep the room playful or want to give it a dreamy outlook? For every theme, an array of furniture is available for children. And they are available in bold and contrasting colour choices. A bed bunk is an all-time kid’s favourite. Couple that with comfortable bedding and a monogrammed or striped headboard and you’re good to go.”
No parents would ever want to compromise on their child’s safety. Children often run around the house and are active throughout the day. They tend to spend quality time in their room, hence, it is important that the furniture is not sharp-edged. Ayushi says, “This is a first priority when designing a kid’s room. Having furniture edges rounded and smoothened should be the way to go. Besides that, consider using water-resistant wood and inflammable laminates.”
Invest wisely! As your children grow, their understanding and demands will increase. They will start making a call as to what they would like in their own room. So while they are young, make their room child-friendly as well as budget-friendly. Designer and director, Peek-a-boo Patterns, Garima Agarwal, says, “With the DIY trend taking up a big place in interiors, parents have become creative. This has enabled them to go easy on the pockets too. The overall expenditure has been variant as there is demand for both premium and basics. At the same time, the range has been wide enough so designers are carefully selecting some accessories that are fun but not expensive along with high-priced units, for example, wardrobes.”
Keep In Mind
● Furniture should be functional and ergonomically designed. For example, a study table should be at the right height.
● For storage pieces, practicality plays an important role. This would make the room clutter free.
● Parushni says, “Make sure your interior designer has met your kids and have spent considerable time with them to understand their needs. It’s foremost to integrate kid’s room with the interiors commensurate to their personality.”
● A fun piece of add-on furniture is a rocking chair personalised with your little one’s initials.
Furnishings have become the most important accessory while designing a child’s space. They are a great way to add a dose of texture and colour to a kids room. “This is because the theme can be created by using thematic furnishings like curtains and bedding. They are like icing on the cake—helps in giving a visual appeal to the room,” says Garima. According to one of the founders of My Baby Babbles, Mithila Chirawawala, “One of the biggest trends right now are play tents and play mats which encourage a creative hideaway— a place for your kids to call their own. Add this to a playroom or den and let your child’s imagination run wild.”
Talking about another trend that is here to stay is personalisation. Mithila further adds, “You can never go wrong with adding fun, personalised accents across a kid’s room. Spell out your kid’s name with attention-grabbing, alphabetshaped cushions in bright fabrics or coloured wooden letters. A name plaque at the entrance door, a pretty wall clock or a funshaped cork board will add charm and personality in your little ones space.” Experimenting with different materials like denims for blinds is also a big hit.
A kid’s room is susceptible to having paints, colours and pencil marks on different things, especially on furnishings. Hence, Ayushi advises purchasing furnishings that are machinewashable without fading out.
She further adds, “In terms of bedsheets, one can go for the anti-bacterial one which will safeguard your kid from rashes.” “Usage of organic fabrics and natural dyes are in vogue. These are safe for a child’s sensitive skin. Easy maintenance fabrics take frequent washes—that helps in maintaining your child’s hygiene,” says Garima.
Ayushi advises, “It wouldn’t be wise to spend a lot on furnishings in a kid’s room since we know that at some point there will be crayon or paint stains. Hence, opting for rough and tough materials that is machine-washable should be the way to go.” Have an array on display in your child’s room. From bedding and cushions to rugs and fancy clocks, you can get creative. Despite having one too many items, try not to splurge.
Keep In Mind
● A good window treatment is important to complete the look of the room. The colours of the curtains have to be co-ordinated mainly with the walls.
● It is important that all the paraphernalia of the interior is organised well.
● Parushni says, “Space organisation is a key aspect. Kids usually have a lot of stuff scattered around. Look out for spaces where you can make room for their essentials. They love when there’s space available for them to wander.”
● A toy shelf or bookshelf just above their bed can meet their discerning demands.
● Experiment with lights, incorporate rugs or carpets to enrich dull floors. Also, you can furnish with interesting tiles for a more colourful outlook..
Monsoon showers are all very well—but have you and your tot got stir crazy? Follow our top suggestions for indoors fun on a rainy day
When it’s pouring with rain and you’ve been stuck in the house all day, someone’s bound to have a screaming tantrum—and you won’t be the only one! No doubt, the monsoon months can take their toll on both you and your tot, and you’re looking for ideas for keeping her amused. So we’ve come to the rescue with all the indoor activities you need to make rainy days play days, without too much preparation… or clearing up!
If the weatherman’s forecasting a week of rain, knock up a batch of play dough. It keeps in the fridge in an airtight box for up to two weeks. “Ahaan has a fab time with play dough, rolling it out and using biscuit shapers,” says Meghna Singh, mum to Ahaan, two, and Jehaan, 15 weeks. “I always keep some in the fridge now,” she confesses.
“On rainy days, I strip Niharika down to her nappy, get the paints out, cover the floor in paper and let her do as she pleases,” says Naina Salunke, whose daughter is 21 months old. “She paints with her fingers and hands, arms and legs, and I just bathe her when she’s finished,” she laughs.
Wet, wet, wet
Puddle jumping is always fun on a rainy day, but if you can’t face donning gumboots and raincoats, let your tot make a splash indoors instead. Stand her on a chair at the sink, fill the washing up bowl with water and give her plastic containers, jugs, sieves and funnels to play with. Pouring, filling and emptying will give her an off-the-cuff science lesson, too.
Dress to impress
Your tot may not be able to literally run wild indoors, but her imagination certainly can. Dressing up is an easy and creative pastime, so dig out your old clothes, shoes and jewellery and watch her transform herself into a princess, dancer, doctor, builder and more.
Little one bursting with energy? Then build an indoor assault course for her to charge around. “We make a course using boxes, quilts and cushions,” says Tushna Netarwalla, mum to Zaheen, three, and Farhan, four weeks. “Zaheen loves diving under blankets and climbing cushion ‘mountains’!” she says.
“A big blanket thrown over four chairs makes a great indoor tent,” says Namrata Chandiramani, mum to Dani, 22 months “Dani takes her teddies and dollies in there for hours. And it’s quick to set up,” notes Natasha.
Ever noticed how the longer your little one is cooped up, the noisier she gets? Channel her exuberance into a more productive activity, by putting a CD on and encouraging her to play along with musical instruments. You can’t go wrong with a plastic bottle filled with rice, or saucepans and wooden spoons for an impromptu drum kit.
A good old boogie will get your toddler smiling, so crank up the radio and let her dance her cares away. If she’s got siblings, see who can do the funniest/fastest dancing, or join in yourself, getting her to copy your actions. Keep-fit videos will get her moving, too, and you’ll get a giggle at her expense!
From physical attributes to personality traits, you don’t have to wait to see how your baby will turn out. Get a glimpse into her future right now!
ZERO TO SIX MONTHS
● From the moment she’s born, your gorgeous baby’s main form of communication is crying. She’ll have a different cry to match each specific need, whether she’s hungry, cold, bored, or just wants a cuddle. Distinguishing which cry means what is a skill every new mum has to learn, so don’t worry if takes you a little while to catch on.
● By six months, your baby will be making her first attempts at talking to you. She’ll start by making cooing sounds, and ‘ooooos’ and ‘aaaaahs’, even ‘babababa’. You can help with her speech development by constantly chatting to her, even if it’s just a running commentary on what you’re doing. She’ll love to hear your voice, although she won’t have a clue what you’re talking about!
SIX TO 12 MONTHS
● Even though it’s still too early for her to be saying words, the sounds she makes now become much more tuneful as she tries to imitate your voice. She’ll increasingly start to ‘answer’ you back when you talk to her.
● Encourage her to make even more sounds by copying her babbling replies. This teaches her about two-way communication and could make for some interesting conversations!
● Another way to help her understand the meanings of words is by using gestures and actions, such as waving when you say ‘bye-bye’, or pointing to her cup as you say ‘drink’.
● Around now she’ll also gain more control over her muscles and will start reaching out with both arms to tell you she wants to be picked up for a cuddle. She’ll also start to laugh around now, a sound you’re guaranteed to want to bottle so you can keep forever!
12 TO 18 MONTHS
● Expect to hear her first meaningful word as she hits her first birthday. Most babies first words tend to be ‘Dada’, as this is easier for her to pronounce, so don’t take offence. Or it may even be a random word like ‘shoe’! Whatever it is, it’s an important milestone for her, so be sure to give her lots of praise.
● Once she’s a year old, she’ll also begin to understand what you’re saying to her. Some babies even start to use two or three words with their own meaning now. Even if the word doesn’t match the object she’s referring to, if she uses it consistently for that object, it shows she understands the meaning.
● By 18 months, most little ones are able to use around 20 different words (although they may be completely unintelligible to anyone but immediate family!), but she won’t yet be forming a sentence.
● Girls tend to be more chatty than little lads (that shouldn’t come as a shock—it lasts until adulthood!), so don’t be surprised if she even starts singing along to nursery rhymes now. (Little Peter Rabbit is a great rhyme to sing as it involves actions, which connect to the language and helps build her understanding and memory). Some babies with older siblings can be a little slower to talk, so don’t worry if that’s the case. They often find it hard to get a word in with older brothers and sisters pitching in.
● Expect her to start putting two or three words together to make a constructive sentence now, such as ‘Daddy come home’.
● Help her expand single words into short sentences by adding words, so if she asks for ‘juice’, you can add, ‘juice, please’ or ‘more juice’.
● Use objects and gestures to help her understand instructions and questions. It’s also good to offer her alternatives, such as ‘Do you want teddy or the car?’
● By the age of two, your child should have a collection of about 200 different words. If she still hasn’t started speaking by now, it’s worth visiting your paediatrician to check there are no physical problems, such as deafness, or glue ear.
● It’s important to remember that no two babies are the same, and your tot will develop at a different rate from the next one, so don’t stress out comparing her to others |MB