Friday, August 1, 2014

Today's Frontier Girl - Globetrotter. Fashionista. Academic. Connoisseur

As we step in style towards our 100th post, allow me to bring to you today’s Frontier girl. Globetrotter. Fashionista. Academic. Connoisseur. She who owns her personality, her drive and her ambition. She who does not apologize for who she is. She who carries on with her rai·son d'ê·tre with zeal and zest!

Today, let me introduce you to my (baby?) sister – Sripriya, almost a decade younger, but packing in the maturity, verve and chutzpah I constantly admire. Today’s Frontier girl – Sripriya everyone!

Supriya: How is it living by yourself in a foreign country?

Sripriya: It is one of the best things of being in a foreign country, the joy of living by yourself. I was excited the minute I started looking for apartments. I chose one of the perfect size and made sure it was close to work (the more number of times you can hit the snooze button). It was a wonderful experience choosing the right pieces of furniture, building some of them with expert advice from an Ikea manual, and decorating the apartment to reflect my personal style. Living away from home and working long hours, I wanted to make sure it was a comfortable and cozy haven that I would love to come back to every evening. I bought cushion covers in bright blue to go with handmade paintings from my friends.

I made sure to have enough potted plants to add to the necessary green (and some serious Skype advice from my mother who is a botanist). My kitchen is laden with spices I carried from India, had shipped over or bought at local Indian markets here in Germany. Cuisine that I wasn’t particularly fond of while I was back home (read Puliyogre and various other forms of mixed rice) became my first choice as they are easy to prepare at the end of a very tiring day. 

Living alone also made me realize my joy for cooking (only because there is no Maggie available at most stores here). There is a certain sense of happiness I derive from the whole act of putting a dish together. From the aroma that wafts from a perfectly done seasoning, to the creamy layer that forms over a cooling dal, every small thing that I took for granted back home or rarely ever noticed is a source of joy and becomes a sense of accomplishment. 

Thankfully, the people around me enjoy Indian cuisine and are always ready to try something new. A current favorite of mine is the alu-methi roll, which is potatoes and fenugreek leaves rolled up in a Mexican wrap bought off a store rack (bonus point: Not time consuming!).

Living in Germany also means you don’t have to know how to drive a car. I love the public transport system here which gives you the time to pick up your favorite book and have a few pages done by the time you get to work, or when are getting back from a tiring day. For the better months of the year, when there is no fear of getting a frost bite, I use my bicycle to get to places. 

It is refreshing to bike on a countryside road or on cobblestone, all new experiences for someone who only ever biked on hired bikes in holiday destinations. It is perfect to bike through Germany’s various parks and natural reserves, find a lake to sit and watch the sunset, read a book or have a picnic.

When did travel bug get to you?

I got the letter of acceptance for my master’s program in May 2012. Until then, I had never traveled on an international flight, let alone by myself. After having completed my first trip abroad alone, there has been no looking back. The joy of getting on to a flight and waking up in a different country miles away on a different time zone is a completely exhilarating experience. It is fitting to the age old promise made our parents on a road trip ‘’by the time you wake up, we are going to be there’’. 

I would say the travel bug got to me when I first turned back my watch 12 hrs after having landed in Washington DC (that’s half a day gained! Woot). 

Since then I have traveled to New York to meet long lost friends from college, Turkey to celebrate Easter, Italy to cry tears of joy over heavenly food, Denmark to visit one of the world’s oldest fantasy parks. 

I have a special fondness for Sweden as it was only 20 mins away by ferry. Czech Republic to spend 4 warm days in historic city Prague, Netherlands to photograph beautiful Dutch landscapes and have traveled around Germany which has been my place of residence for approximately 4 years where I currently strive hard on my PhD project which primarily focuses on cancer causing viruses. 

Photography for fun?

Another plus side I attribute to living away from home is my new found love for photography. It started out as a simple gesture to capture my moments in a foreign land and pass it on to my friends back home. I got back some great response via social sites like Facebook about how I could take it to the next level. I did just that. 

I started sharing my photographs in 2011 via my page on Facebook- Sripriya Murthy Photography. I posted mostly black and white photographs for the first year and then moved on to color photography. I then went on to do a 365 photo a day challenge last year to make sure I didn’t lose my drive for the art or the enthusiasm to share my photographs.  

Here's the link for my Facebook page:

I am glad that in the process of the last 3 years, I have gotten to do landscapes in various cities, done customized photo shoots for Aalayam, shot for dance schools, done model photo shoots, shot 2 graduation ceremonies, 5 weddings and I am in the process of completing a couple of maternity photo shoots. Thanks to my album titled ‘’Backpacking across Europe’’ my virtual audience believe I am literally going from one city to the next lugging my Nikon with me and posting photos regularly. 

On the contrary, I travel only if I have to go on a business trip or have a conference to attend (or a few days off for Easter or Christmas). I am mostly leading the life of PhD student on other days where I work for about 12 hrs a day, eat, read and sleep only to wake up and do the same thing the next day.

Fashion, style, statement?

Living in a country where the temperature is 10 degrees half the time, I swear by scarves and earrings as they are practically the only things that are seen over your bulky winter jacket. I have a collection of earrings that goes over 200 pairs and yet as with everyone’s wardrobe, there are only a few pieces that I swear by. 

I am also extremely fond of open shoes, but unfortunately get to wear them only for a few weeks or months based on how long the summer lasts.  For clothes I swear by all the kurtis I carry back from home each year, in Europe I shop at H&M or Promod as they both cater to the Indian in me with the motifs and designs they have to offer.

What does Home mean to you?

Living in a country alone, makes you want to cozy up your space with your favorite pieces, photographs, colors and artifacts. 

Each and every one of the things I have in my lil warm nook called home is well loved and well worn. Take a peek.

Be it decor, or food, I have brought India home with me to the world! 

And it's my friends, who have made me realize who I really am, and helped me find "home" away from home.

Home is also my passion for photography, where I feel like I have come home, with my beloved SLR lens in my hand.

And finally, home is where my heart is, in those fascinating castles, colorful landscapes, soulful markets and the deep, cool recesses of my lab. finally, where I am...........................

Sripriya...that was wonderful. I have trained you well ! ( Just kidding!!) 

Thank you for representing all those chicas out there who are just like you, inspiring us to do more, live more and laugh more!

Love always,



  1. Very nice article suppi. It was a such a pleasure to see sripriya through her journey. I jus love every pic she shoots

    1. Thank you Saga!! Lovely to have you back on board Aalayam. Thanks for your continued friendship!! :)


  2. So beautifully described :)
    Lovely !

    1. Divya - Thank you! It's lovely indeed to feel grounded with accomplished and sensible siblings telling us a thing or two! :)


  3. I actually thought your sis was a professional photographer...She is an amazing talent. Lovely blog btw.

    1. Thank you madam! :) She is indeed. What started as a hobby, now is blossoming into a nice way to express her creative aesthetic. Thank you to all my friends and family who have seen Sripriya grow up (from baby sister to now!), and have given me glowing feedback about this blog post!


  4. Splendid! Great learning about Sripriya's transition journey through this blog. Great pics!!!