A few days back, an over-estimation of my driving time for a meeting and the resultant spare time at hand, bestowed upon me a princely 30 minutes of bliss amidst a beautiful space called VAYU, albeit, housed within another exalted one: Bikaner House.

Post India’s independence and the subsequent disposal of the Indian royal era, Bikaner House lost its noble residents and instead was bequeathed with government offices and alas, even a bus depot. It suffered its unfortunate fate until Vasundhara Raje, the artistically inclined first woman chief minister of Rajasthan petitioned the courts to move such agencies elsewhere. Furthermore, my dear friend, Malvika ‘Mala’ Singh (publisher of the legendary Seminar magazine), decided to get involved in putting together the ‘ new’ Bikaner House, now considered Delhi’s ‘it’ place for interesting experiences… be it Art, Fashion, Cuisine or just about any discipline which exudes a degree of pedigree. Priya Pall, who is the curatorial Director there ensures that quality is maintained over quantity and I am confident that this incredible bunch of women will continue to positively redefine Delhi’s style quotient to its maximum.

Coming back to VAYU… there’s a fair amount of reading that you can do on it because its had its paeans sung quite impressively across print and pixels…. the coveted New York Times & edgy blogs such as the Brown paper Bag will tell you all and more, so what can I add to a space which has already been accepted and appreciated?

To me, what matters most is the energy of a space… and the love and detail that has been put in to ensure that the energy never stagnates. Between owners Vivek Sahni and Dave Chang, an inherent sense of style and evolved aesthetics is almost a given, yet what this quaint shop has working in its favour (besides the environs) is the fact that its not quite a shop at all. Instead, its a leisurely set of rooms, with a warm and chic ‘air’ about it (wish they’d popped in a cafe though; what I’d give for that perfect cup of latte!) where one can amble, relax, take in a beautifully curated India and never want to leave. You’ll rarely be jostling for space, or feeling cramped (the high ceilings…sigh…) because VAYU simply seems to understand the joy of experiential shopping. The attention to detail is admirable as is the team; the manager Jimmy Golmei is a sartorial delight and VAYU amicably, and sophisticatedly, drives home the point that for any space to be special, all things (animate and inanimate) need to come together holistically to define its ethos.

But then again, don’t take my word for it… As always, I’ll let the images speak and as always, I’ll insist that you visit it yourself for self interpretation and perhaps, for that overwhelming sense of gratitude that one often feels when surrounded by good taste.

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media


The Guilded Memory.

This is a pre-photoshop era picture of my parents when they’d just got married.

Have you ever noticed how we all find our parents looking so elegant in these beautiful old sepia toned images that we so fondly treasure and often, even share online with a proud sigh in the heart… the very same ones where we found our mothers looking elegantly beautiful and our fathers, utterly handsome. That happened primarily because of the unpretentious and very real lives they led in their times …. the smile was warm… the stance was natural….the laughter was from the core… the dressing was unrehearsed….essentially, they simply did not try too hard.

Cut to today! I wonder if this generation’s kids are going to sigh or gasp in the future, when they see their parents photos from this era…. you know, the ones that are buckling under peer pressure (thought that was primarily for teenagers?)… the very same ones who seemed to have discovered that puckering lips towards a certain direction is seductively hot! (Not!!)… the ones who believe in (un)healthy competetion (with their kids)… the ones with a rampant penchant for tummy tuckers, jabs in the face, and (for some of our country-women specifically, who need to believe in their own country’s style quotient a lot more), that LBD which never was really meant for them in the first place or worse, that ‘gown’ which may look  gorgeous on a leggy Gal Gadot but not on our flabby Wonder Women (no offence)

People….embrace true style….be beautiful within and the external will naturally fall into place …. consider making your parents your style icons … and improvise to become one for your own kids.
And yes, the way we’re going, I don’t think our pictures are getting posted anywhere by our kids in the near future… other than perhaps, in a virtual frame with a garland of virtual flowers (with virtually no feelings) when we decide to cross over 😇.

Get Real!

Ps* Thoughts triggered on chancing upon my parents photo, shown above.