Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reflections: 2013, The year that was... & 2014, The year that will be!

Dear Aalayam people!

Year-ends are time for reflection, for looking back, and for looking forward. Here, at Aalayam, I have the unique opportunity to not just reflect on my own journey for the past year, & look ahead on the road-map for the new year, but also share the reflections of people I have worked with in 2013, and look forward to work with in 2014!

So, here’s the much awaited year-end Reflections post – a heartfelt peek into the ruminations, plans and aspirations of seven inspirational, accomplished  and gorgeous ladies, who Aalayam has been fortunate to have been touched by. I look forward to working with many more of such artists in the future…feeling blessed that I am to be part of this amazing journey with  you! So…here goes!

Reflections: 2013, The year that was& 2014, The year that will be!

 Supriya of Aalayam

2013 has been a year of great beginnings – the beginning of new friendships, deeper and more meaningful relationships: with you dear readers, at my home, at my work, and through Aalayam. It was serendipity that I met Divya Thomas of “Karmasuthrato impel Aalayam’s solstice with the intriguing brand. I deepened my kinship with Lavanyaa of “Varnanggall and continue to benefit daily from our “across the continents” soul swap. My girls started their Bharatanatyam dance lessons with Sridevi Jagannath of “Laasya,  and had their first ever performance in front of hundreds of parents…and lovers of the Indian classical dance form. I vacationed with my girls friends in Las Vegas, thus beginning a tradition of “getting away” from the encumbrances of everyday...if just for a few days. I began my journey of supervising homework (yes, my Twins started getting homework this year!) and playing soccer mom while juggling work and blog deadlines! (Thank God for Coffee!)

In 2013, I began to forgive more…give more…do more …expect more…but also…worry more. My mantra of “Why be Average when you can be Exceptional” worked well for me…but burned everyone else around me out!

In 2014, I am looking forward to continuing the eloquent relationships Aalayam is enabling me to develop, enjoy and embrace. I am looking forward to working with Smruthi Gargi Eshwar of “Studio SMU” to bring to Aalayam the modern retelling of Indian mythology and folklore through the visual medium. I look forward to working with Kathy Gori of “Colors of Indian Cooking” to revisit my classic Indian favorite dishes through her eyes (Ok – lens!), and her flair of storytelling.  I look forward to working with  other talented artisans and entrepreneurs to tell their story in true blue Aalayam style. And of course, I look forward to continue to work with Deepa to bring to you our sincere and passionate ideas, and their modern day interpretation through the dais Aalayam has provided us.

And finally, in 2014 – I promise to forgive even more…give even more….do even more…expect even more…but only from myself. I promise to influence…not control. Plan…not worry. I promise to take more time to myself to rock in Zumba class, do more Yoga, read a mind blowing mystery novel and get dirty in the mud with my kids!

That was my soul searching soliloquy. What are your reflections for 2013? What do you look forward to in 2014?

Wishing you loads of love, luck and happiness,
Happy New Year!!

I want to end this year and start the next one with four simple words – “Live your best life”. I am a few years away from turning forty but now is as good a time as any to take care of my mind, body and spirit- after all, living one’s best life starts with taking care of oneself. Between work, family and all other humdrum priorities that demand our constant attention it is very easy to forget ourselves. This year I am going to prioritize health and wellness. I am also going to remember to let that inner child in me come out more often – to laugh and giggle silly!

I am going to live more for the moment and not let the “what if’s” disempower me. I will remember to be thankful for all that I have. My profession affords me happiness and a greater purpose. I am also extremely fortunate to have rediscovered myself through this creative platform. Aalayam nurtures the artist in me and allows me to engage with many other incredible artists and a great partner to create beautiful inspirations.  

This year, I am also going to just stop coasting through life and push myself out of my comfort zone. I love dancing but I have always put off taking formal dance lessons. Swing, lindy hop, salsa, fox trot – there’s a whole world out there and I intend to explore that! 

So, 2014 – I am ready for you , ready to dance in the rain and ready to live my best life!

My dear Aalayam family, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year- one that will allow you to live your best life as well! I will be bringing you many wholesome inspirations in the coming year and look  forward to our time together!


Divya of Karmasuthra

2013 has been quite amazing. Traveled plenty, met some amazing people, made some fabulous friends, I found some unusual and interesting components that I could incorporate in my jewelry. And I’ve made stuff and continued to make stuff that will never look the same…compared to what I’ve made in the past.

What 2014 holds in store, I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. Because I love surprises, and I just hope that they are all going to be pleasant. I prefer to go with the flow and see where it takes me. So let’s see!


Lavanyaa of Varnanggall

As we embrace the New Year all the valuable things that prevail must be celebrated and resolutions are to be made to change the rest. Surrounded by the festival lights, caught up with the bustle of daily chores I would like to slow down a bit and use this time for my professional and personal reflections.
Although Varnanggall started as a very small venture with very minimalist stock, it’s rejoicing to see how it’s developed, thrived and gained prominent visibility in the year 2013. It’s been an interweave of challenges, compromises, and deep emotions no matter how much you are camouflaged  by the tinsel and fairy lights, we are constrained to face the real world out there. Being in this art biz, personally it has given me that extra edge to research and learn cultures, people and lifestyles that well aligns with Varnanggall’s vision too.

In the year 2014, I would like to wake up to continued dreams, aspirations, goals – Creating a perfect balance of the whole model by emerging again with new rhythms of colors, making the entire system productive, sprouting new ideas and respiring only positive energy by weeding out all the clutter and to be humane.

I greatly thank my family, friends and mentors who have made this year so pleasant and beautiful for me by offering love, assurance and guidance!

Here’s wishing the entire Aalayam family a very happy and prosperous New Year!


Sridevi of Laasya
An interesting year to begin ideas, new techniques in teaching, in summation, a feeling of heading towards a new creative horizon for the school and its teacher..

As a teacher, I explored the idea of choreographing pieces to commemorate the famous sculptures of Belur and Halebeedu..through an innovative piece called Narthisidalu sura naari (Life in sculptures) glow in dark concept using Bharatanatyam techniques to portray the beautiful Rangoli patterns for Basant Bahar, annual festival conducted by HumSub.. The music and rhythm section of Laasya school, under the guidance of Guru Ranganayaki Rajan, initiated a musical rendezvous, where the students sang and played Mridangam / tabla (Drums) as a way to encourage each other to get over stage fear..

Over the months, Laasya School took several student -led initiatives to improve techniques among young students age between 3 to 5 by interspersing yoga, strength training and a fun cardio routine. Summer months for Laasya is truly magical, as the students complete their Arangetrams (Formal graduation). 

After successfully completing its 18th annual with a presentation which was truly a kaleidoscope of items showcasing over 100 students  to an audience of over 500, the school feels blessed to be chosen for a Dance production for Pratham, an organization with a motto, "We believe education is the fundamental right of every child and no child should be deprived of this basic right simply because he or she does not have access to it or does not have the resources to realize his or her dreams."

Needless to say, as the artistic director of Laasya, I feel blessed and thank God for channeling my energy  to explore my creativity..


Smruthi Gargi Eswar is a graphic artist, painter and modern art aficionado who is interpreting Indian mythology through her bold retelling through paint, canvas and visual media. Follow Smruthi and her series "Sister Misfortune" on

To me, my series “Sister Misfortune” seems to have an independent life of its own, carrying its weight as it explores new avenues. The series collaborated with performance artists from The Storm Factory at the first Alernational event, (an artists and performers collective based out of Bangalore). A couple of images from the series, were projected over performing contemporary dancers, bringing the goddesses out of their frames into a whole new medium. Sister Misfortune also had an outing (its second show in Mumbai) for the Art Hop event, at the Art Loft in Bandra.

My new series “Old City Cave” has also been developing simultaneously. I am still in the process of bringing it together and hope to do more of that in the New Year. In this series I am attempting to bring the lens we view old civilizations with, to view our own. To perceive our time with magic and mystery we seem to deny our selves. In the coming year, I am looking forward to my collaborated show with the Fashion House Ritu Kumar in Delhi and the Chennai Art fair that “Sister Misfortune” has been invited to.

It’s hard for me to have any real clarity over what 2014 is going to be like. My work and life seems to take its course in some independent way. So I am looking forward to it, hoping that there are going to be more pleasant surprises than not.


 Kathy Gori is a Hollywood screen writer and Bollywood kitchen blogger, who is reinterpreting America's perception of Indian cuisine through her culinary adventures. Read Kathy's gastronomic chronicles in

2013 was a year of big changes for my husband and me. Both my parents passed away and a great deal of the year (and most of the year before) was spent in caring for both of them. I am so glad we were able to be there with them for that time.

In between dealing with family business we managed to get our regular work done. My husband and I are screenwriters and though we usually write for the movies, we just finished our first TV pilot! It looks like we now have a director for it so we 're looking forward to a productive and busy new year. We'll also be starting another movie project.

I am back to my regular cooking schedule and am working on putting together a cookbook while Alan continues to take amazing pictures of all the food. I've also been asked to teach some Indian cooking classes and though I've never taught before I think that might be a lot of fun.

I'm excited to emerge from the rather dark place the last year and a half was and Alan and I are both looking forward to a busy and exciting new year.



  1. Suppi ur blogs are so inspiring kane ma. It really lifts my spirits when ever i read them. Thank u and all those involved in the making of aalayam! I am sure u will have another rocking yr. Love Deeps ~

  2. Deepti!! Thank you kane ma. :) Blogging has become a go-to stress reliever for me. Something I look forward to, something that makes me happy. I am glad that I am making and strengthening so many beautiful relationships along the way!

    Happy New Year to you and your family!


  3. what an awesome post Deepa.... :) throughly enjoyed it.. :).. Wishing you a great holiday season and a very prosperous new year...

    1. Glad you liked it Shaz! Wishing you a Happy and productive New Year!


  4. You have introduced us to some very interesting people and their interesting work! Keep it up in the New Year and a Very Happy New Year to both of you and your families!

  5. Sujatha - it's been a tremendous experience for us as well! Thank you for your support and patronage. You guys make us look forward to blogging everyday.


    AND Happy New Year!

  6. 2013 introduced me to the Aalayam family and I find myself lucky to be a part of it now. I have followed this blog since then and it has been a really beautiful journey.

    Reading this blog has not just been knowledgeable but sheer delight too. Keep up the good work.

    Happpyyyyy 2014 :)

    P.S. You just inspired me and exuded positivity, warmth and encouragement with this. Hats off to the team!

  7. Divya, gracias. Aalayam gives us as much inspiration as well! Touched by your words.

    Happy New Year!!!