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Featured posts

Rootsandleisure-Alexa Hojai-Haflong-assam

“Refining my art with a fineliner is like fixing real-life issues. It’s truly therapeutic.” – Chat with Student and Artist Alexa Hojai from Haflong, Assam

Meet Alexa Hojai, a talented young artist from the picturesque hill station of Haflong in Assam. She is currently studying at Cotton University in Guwahati and has been doodling and making art since she was just 11 years old.  Alexa’s art is like a time machine; with every doodle and surreal sketch, she whisks you away to places and moments you thought you’d forgotten. It’s like stepping into a beautiful daydream. Her preferred canvas is the off-white watercolor paper, a choice that lends her creations an ‘ancient’ ambiance. With fineliners as her trusty companions, she brings intricate details to life, all while experimenting with the soothing and therapeutic art of painting. In her own words, Alexa beautifully encapsulates her artistic process “I sometimes mess my art with paint, and then fix them by adding details. It gives me an odd satisfaction when the messy part of the art is fixed; it’s like fixing real-life problems.” Over a chat, we journey through her hometown of Haflong, and explore her favorite art tools and mediums, her sources …

Rootsandleisure-artist-Ajanbeni

“I am What I Believe Myself to Be” – An Artist’s Perspective with Ajanbeni from Small Town Wokha, Nagaland

Allow us to introduce Ajanbeni K Yanthan, an aspiring artist from the small town of Wokha in Nagaland. Despite facing numerous challenges, Ajanbeni remains determined to pursue her artistic passion. Over a chat, Ajanbeni explained why pursuing her creative passions is more fulfilling than traditional “secure jobs.” She also shares how stays motivated and committed to her art career in the face of societal expectations. “I am what I believe myself to be,” she confides, reflecting her unwavering self-belief and refusal to be confined by limitations. Ajanbeni draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including fellow artists, different art forms, movies, music, and books. Her creative process is fueled by an insatiable appetite for inspiration and a desire to constantly evolve and grow. R&L: Hello Ajan, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Could you introduce yourself and give us a glimpse into your life as a young artist and student? Ajan: Hi R & L  I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity. My name is Ajanbeni K Yanthan from Wokha, Nagaland. I am a full-time …

rootsandleisure-writer-divinia-mercy-shillong

“I Pen My Experiences of Joy and Pain, Victory and Defeat, for Inspiration in My Lowest Moments” – Chat with 16-Year-Old Divinia from Shillong

Introducing Divinia Mercy Tynsong from Meghalaya, our latest muse. At just sixteen years old, this ‘young student with an old soul‘ captured our attention with her pure and evocative poems. Her words have the power to connect us with our own innocence while simultaneously opening our minds to timeless wisdom. We had to find out more about this young writer, and more so to understand where she is getting these inspirations from. Divinia’s journey as a poet is just beginning, and yet her poems have already left a lasting impact. Her message is clear: treasure even the smallest victories, as they can serve as a wellspring of inspiration during challenging times. As she beautifully expressed, “In everything I experience, whether it’s obstacles or happiness, challenges or joy, failures or accomplishments, I make a habit of jotting them down. These words later inspire me when I am at my lowest.“ Chat with 16-year-old Divinia from Shillong, whose wisdom surpasses her years, which is evident in her poems that are a refreshing blend of young innocence and …

rootsandlesiure-spicy-tuna-rice bowl

Recipe of ‘Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl’ by Keny Metha

Hey there! We’ve got something special for you today—a simple recipe from our friend Keny Mehta, who’s based in Kohima. Keny is a true food lover and an amazing cook, and she’s sharing her signature dish with us—a tasty rice bowl with tuna. By the way, we had a fun chat with Keny about her love for food and cooking earlier. You can catch up on it here: [link to interview]. So, let’s jump right into the recipe and learn how to whip up this delicious dish together! “About the dish: Rice is our staple food in Nagaland, and tuna (tinned fish) is easily accessible in any neighborhood local shop. So it is super easy to make. I recommend adding green leafy vegetables as toppings; you can also some creative and healthy ways to garnish this simple dish with local seasonal greens. Do try it, and hope it makes your day a ‘lil better with this simple dish 🙂” ~ Keny Metha Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl by Keny Metha Ingredients: 1 canned tuna 4 cloves …

Rootsandleisure-Jay-mizoram

Candid Chat with Jay from Mizoram : 19-Year-Old Whose Rockstar Style and K-Pop Charisma Have Fans Swooning on Social Media

Small-town superstars from the northeast are a force to be reckoned with. Their individuality takes shape through various outlets – be it their fashion sense, art, music, or other forms of expression. It is truly remarkable to witness the interesting remixes that emerge out of limitations and boundaries found in smaller towns and villages, untouched by mainstream influences. While media exposure is now accessible to even the remotest parts of the world, it is refreshing to see how these young generations use this inspiration to create something that is uniquely their own. One such individual is Jay, a 19-year-old college student from Dinthar, a small town in Aizawl. With tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and thousands of fans eagerly anticipating his every post, he is a superstar in his own right. Jay’s charm lies in his boyish yet 80s rockstar look coupled with K-Pop idol cuteness. We first discovered him through a viral reel where he and his friends were filmed hanging out outside an unbothered institute in Aizawl. This feature on him …

Rootsandleisure-Millo Sunka-arunachal

An Exclusive Interview with Millo Sunka from Arunachal on Winning ‘Best Leading Actress’ at The Rome Prisma Film Awards for ‘Nocturnal Burger’

Join us in celebrating the global recognition of a talented actor from Arunachal Pradesh, who has achieved great success through her passion for acting and staying true to her authentic self. Meet Millo Sunka from Arunachal Pradesh who recently won ‘Best Leading Actress’ at the 2023 Rome Prisma Film Awards, for her outstanding performance in ‘Nocturnal Burger.’  In this exclusive interview, Millo shares her emotions about the big win, discusses her work philosophy, and reveals her plans for the future. Hi Millo, Congratulations on winning the Best Actress award at the Prisma Rome International Film Awards for your performance at  ‘Nocturnal Burger.’ What kind of emotions are you feeling right now? Millo Sunka: Thank you. When I initially received the news, I was obviously very happy about it. But now, as the news spreads, the outpouring of support, love, and congratulatory messages has overwhelmed me. I don’t know how to process all of this, but I am grateful. “I am thankful to my director Reema Maya, who saw me as Simi. I am grateful to my parents …

Rootsandleisure_Mhiesi Meyase- fashion designer-nagaland

“Weekdays for International Brands, and Weekends for Building My Own Brand” Fashion Designer Mhiesi Meyase from Nagaland Talk Fashion Dreams

Meet Mhiesi, a talented fashion designer from Dimapur whose passion for fashion has led him to turn his childhood dreams into a reality. With a degree in fashion design under his belt, Mhiesi now freelances as a fashion designer during the week, working with various export houses to develop new collections for international brands. On the weekends, he channels his creativity into building his own brand, ‘pfe.’ Growing up, Mhiesi was surrounded by garment-making and fashion inspiration. His earliest memory of fashion was watching his mother sew clothes and weave intricate patterns on her loin loom. “Fashion has always been an important part of my family; almost everyone knows how to sew clothes. I used to wake up early in the morning just to catch the FTV specials and get a backstage glimpse of the designers and models,” he recalls We chat with Mhiesi to talk about his journey – from early fashion memories to challenges he has faced as a young designer, and his most current passion of building his own brand ‘pfe’ R&L: …

Rootsandleisure_self-taught artist-sarah

“Painting Has Become My Confessional” An Interview with Self-Taught Artist Sarah from Nagaland

We recently connected with a budding artist from Nagaland, who was just starting her journey into the art world. We were intrigued to gain insight into an artist’s early experiences and thoughts, to explore their creative process in its nascent stages and discover their aspirations for the future of their art. Meet Sarah, a self-taught artist from Dimapur, Nagaland, whose earnest work caught our attention. Over a chat, we talk about her creative theme and process, the challenges that artists encounter when starting out, and her plan to explore socio-political narratives in her future artwork. She also shares how painting has become her confessional. For Sarah, every stroke on the canvas is a humble attempt to learn, accept and grow from every mistake made. R&L: To start off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, your hobbies etc. Sarah: My Ao (Naga) name is Temjen, but online, I often go by Sarah – a nickname lovingly given to me by my Aba. I pursued both my graduate and post-graduate studies …

Rootsandleisure_Vareyar Rimai

A Fun Chat with 19-Year-Old Vareyar Rimai from Manipur on Personal Style and Music

At R&L, we are always on the lookout for individuals and stories that capture the essence of Northeast India. Recently, we had the pleasure of discovering Vareyar Rimai, a 19-year-old aspiring musician from Ukhrul, Manipur, whose unique sense of fashion piqued our interest. In this fun chat, we delve into Vareyar’s personal style and get to know him better. We also want to take this opportunity to remind our readers that Roots & Leisure is alive! 🙂 We owe it all to the amazing community we’ve built, which continues to connect us with fascinating people who have stories to share. So stay tuned for more inspiring content and let’s continue to celebrate the authentic Northeast way of life! R&L: Hi Rimai, please introduce yourself Vareyar Rimai: Hi 👋 My name is Vareyar Rimai. I’m 19 years old and an aspiring musician. I currently stay in Ukhrul, Manipur. R&L: and who is your favorite musician from the Northeast? Vareyar Rimai: Northeast has many great musicians. Ruata Renthlei, the guitarist for Avora Records is one of my …

Rootsandleisure-hornbill festival-nagaland-2022

Preserving Memories | Snapshots from Hornbill Festival Nagaland 2022

Some of our friends were lucky enough to attend the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland in December 2022. The festival week was a vivid display of the state’s rich culture and heritage, and the chilly weather in Kohima only added to the overall experience. As they walked around the traditional huts, or “morungs,” of each tribe, they had the opportunity to taste local cuisine, interact with the residents, and marvel at the musical, dance, and fashion talent on display. Every night was capped off with a lively and entertaining performance, making the festival an unforgettable celebration of the unique culture of Nagaland. Here are some stunning snapshots we captured at the Hornbill Festival 2022 in Nagaland. See you next Year! “I feel shy”: A Naga girl in traditional attire smiles for the camera A Hornbill Moment: A Naga girl helping a tourist take a picture among the colorful menfolks. Foreigners enjoying Naga food An elderly couple takes a walk at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama  Truck full of Happiness: Local crafts on display for sale. Lenen …