All posts filed under: Rest of India

Folks, Artists and Stories from rest of India


Siblings Ayush and Rhea from Pondicherry Talk About their Food Venture ‘Mel Whisks’ – and Their Best-Selling Desserts!

Pondicherry will always have a special place in my heart, as it reminds me so much of home (even while traveling). Although this beach destination is a contrast from my hilly hometown (of Nagaland), the overall vibe of this small town feels pleasantly familiar to the place I grew up in. A former French colony, the local food in Pondy is an eclectic mix of French and South Indian cuisines. And thanks to Pondy friends, I was introduced to a host of cafes and bakers out there, who make the most amazing baked goodies and desserts! On one of my Pondy food expeditions, I came across ‘Mel Whisks’ – a home-based cloud kitchen run by a sibling duo in Pondicherry. They sell mouthwatering gourmet food and desserts. I have been following their Insta page even since the lockdown happened, and have even ordered their desserts jar for my friends there, who have been raving about them ever since! So I got on a call to interview the two people behind ‘Mel Whisks’ – siblings Ayush …

rootsandleisure_golden Punjab

Faces | “Capturing This Sunrise in the Wheat Fields of Ludhiana Made Me Believe That India is Still a Golden Bird”

“I took this picture during one of my photo-walks in the outskirts of Ludhiana, Punjab. Just like people wake up in the early hours to do yoga or exercise, my morning ritual often comprises of long walks by myself – and my camera.  This was on my way towards Flahi Sahib, one of the popular Gurdwaras in the area. The sunrise this particular morning had a magical golden view as it rose above the expansive wheat fields. That moment I took this picture, I immediately thought of how India is a Golden Bird even today, to me; and anyone who disagrees might change their mind after seeing this photo. I still remember the hope and pride I felt in my heart as I admired this view that morning…” ~ Harsh Jain, Ludhiana “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” ~ Frederick Douglass

Rootsandleisure_Terra food cafe Ahmedabad

“While Studying in France, I Discovered Farm to Table Concept, and That Inspired My Fresh Food Venture” – Chat With Sriram Nair, Owner of Terra Cafe, Ahmedabad

Sriram Nair from Ahmedabad has always had a soft spot in his heart for food. He grew up with a family that bonded over food which helped him pick up his spatula when he was only 6-years-old. When he headed off to Europe to get his Masters in International Business, and later for work, he started to explore a whole new world of food whilst trying to learn new cultures.  What he was most inspired by was their concept of fresh farm to table meals. Sriram was overjoyed by how much the freshness added to the flavor of the dishes and how it also affected his health positively.  When he came back home to Ahmedabad, he decided to share his joy for these newly discovered ways of life. He wanted to create awareness and educate people about the harm processed food can do for you and how making things from scratch will usher a healthier lifestyle. With this goal in mind, he began Terra cafe, which is known today for its dishes from diverse cultures …

Rootsandleisure_Tanya Abraham

“I found that Food is an Expression of Identities and Histories” – Art Curator and Author Tanya Abraham from Kerala Chats about Her Newly Launched Book ‘Eating with History’

Today, we have with us, a very interesting guest who is here to share some insight into the evolution of the very rich culture and cuisines of Kerala, that emerged as a result of the ancient spice trade in this southern part of the country. Spices still are a huge part of trading activity in Kerala with over three-fourths of spice exports from India sourced from the state. That said, let us say hello to Tanya Abraham from Kochi, an ex-journo, and now a published author, who has just launched her second book  titled ‘Eating With History: Ancient Trade-Influenced Cuisines of Kerala.’ Over a quick chat, we dig into her roots, colorful journey of Kerala cuisine, and of course her book. Hi Tanya, so nice to have you with us! Please introduce yourself to our readers. My name is Tanya Abraham and I was raised in Fort Kochi, an ancient town in Kerala. I currently live in Kochi. I work as an art curator and am the founder of the non-profit ‘The Art Outreach Society …


Abhilasha Sinha, a Singer-Songwriter from Delhi, is Making Waves With Her Soulful Music

This soulful singer-songwriter from Delhi is quickly making a name for herself in one of the largest music hubs in the world, New York. Abhilasha Sinha is incredibly passionate about music and can’t remember a time without it. From lively road trips to jam sessions with her mother and her harmonica, music was part of her life growing up. Currently pursuing her masters degree in Music Business from NYU, she leads a passionate life as a singer-songwriter. She recently finished her India tour and is producing more songs just around the bend. Let’s have a peek at what’s going on with her! Head over to the link in bio to read our conversation with this lively artist. Hello Abhilasha! It’s so exciting to be able to have this conversation with you. Please do give us a brief snippet of your journey so far. I’m a 25-year singer-songwriter from New Delhi, now living in New York. I’m a feminist, a food lover, body+skin positivity advocate, and an avid thrift-store shopper. I’ve been living in New York …


Artsy Cafe, A Creative Cafe Run by a Mother-Son Duo is a New Meeting Hub of Artists and Creatives in Kolkata

Kolkata, a city of deep history and culture, is embodied in Artsy Cafe, a place for every flavour of arts and expression you can imagine! Authors, musicians, visual artists and more gather in this hub to support each other and create a thriving community of artists. Created by a mother-son duo, Manjyot Kaur and Arshdeep Singh, Artsy had been a long-time dream for the both of them. We had a lovely conversation with the duo to see how far the cafe has come and what all is just around the corner.  Hello! Thank you for inviting us to your cosy corner. Please introduce yourselves to our eager readers. Arshdeep: My name is Arshdeep Singh. I was born and raised in Kolkata. I have an undergrad degree in Business and have worked across various industries (Development, EduTech, Policy and Hospitality). I simply love collecting experiences and knowledge each job has to give. Along with Artsy, I also run my own Branding & Design Studio – Kwa:zi which is based out of New Delhi. Manjyot: Hi I’m …

Pritika Krishnakumar, a Bharatanrityam Dancer Based in Bangalore, Tells Us About Pursuing This Traditional Craft

Pritika Krishnakumar is a Bharatanrityam dancer based in Bangalore. Currently training under the acclaimed Radha Kalpa dance company, this graceful dancer knew Bharatanatyam was her passion at the age of 4.  On usual days, she is training and honing her craft. She says, “there’s a lot that goes into making a dance performance look effortlessly beautiful. Hours of training and learning. I enjoy the process and hope that people can see through all the hard work.” Know more this flawlessly talented girl journey as we chat with her.  Hello Pritika! At Roots and Leisure we value strong cultural connections. So, when we heard about your mastery in a traditional artform, we were very excited to chat with you! Thank you for being here. Please introduce yourself to our readers. Hi! My name is Pritika Krishnakumar. I’m a 27-year-old, Bharatanatyam dancer based in Bangalore. I was born and raised in Mumbai and I started training in this classical art when I was just 7. I began under the tutelage of Guru Dr Jayashree Rajagopalan (Vijji Akka), …

Meet Rachel Lopez of ‘The Greater Bombay’ – an Instagram Account that Curates Quirky Ceiling Designs Inside Taxis

While most people go about their day in a flurry, forgetting to ‘stop and smell the roses’, Rachel Lopez is one observant journalist with a heart inclined towards the arts! Everywhere she goes, she ‘looks up’ — especially when she takes a taxi! A journalist based out of Mumbai, Rachel started a personal project called ‘The Greater Bombay’ where she takes photos of the quirky ceilings of taxis. This project has made thousands notice another side of Mumbai! Her collection of photos is ever-expanding with some crazy ceiling designs, from Gabbar Singh to strawberries! We caught up with her to chat about her project and more. Tap on the link in bio and below!  Hello! Rachel, we are happy to have you! Please tell our readers a bit about yourself. My name is Rachel Lopez, I’m 37-years-old and I’m a journalist with the Hindustan Times. I have been in Mumbai for all of my life and today I use this familiarity for my work.  At Hindustan Times, I cover features, edit, do a weekly column …

rootsandleisure_artist Srijana

“I Revisit My Fond Memories of Exploring Hidden Places Through My Art” Self-Taught Artist Srijana from Darjeeling Takes Us Into Her World of Timeless Destinations

“I picked up art again after a long hiatus – and today I use it as a form of meditation.” Self-taught artist Srijana from Darjeeling chats with Roots and Leisure about her passion for travel and storytelling – and how she welcomes people into her world through her beautiful sketches. True to this motive, we can’t help but wander into the quiet charm of the many corners, she showcases through her art. We delve deeper into her world to know more about the person and the artist behind these surreal works of art. Here is her story. R&L chats with artist and storyteller, Srijana who grew up in the misty hills of Darjeeling, West Bengal. She talks about her love for art and travel, which are now sources of meditation and calm – and how she combines the two through her series of sketches. Photo: Srijana, an artist and storyteller from Darjeeling, West Bengal. Hi Srijana, so nice to have you here with us! Please introduce yourself to our readers. Hello! My name is Srijana, the self-styled …

Rootsandleisure_Cocoa Bark Series Delhi

Artist and Entrepreneur Gitana Singh From New Delhi Chats About Her Venture “Cocoa Bark Series” Which Offers Unique Personalized Homemade Chocolates

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  ― Linda Grayson Baking and chocolate go hand in hand. For Gitana Singh from Delhi, baking has always been her therapy and a souce of relaxation. A generous soul, Gitana loves gifting the goodies she makes, to friends and family, all the while experimenting with new flavours and toppings. This gave her the idea to start her handmade chocolate venture called “Cocoa Bark Series” last summer. With a wide variety of experimental combinations to choose from, Gitana makes a wide variety of customized chocolates – exactly the way her customers want it. So let’s get to know this multi-talented chocolatier a little bit more. Today, we chat with Gitana Singh, a young musician, foodie and entrepreneur from Delhi. She talks about her handmade chocolate venture, “Cocoa Bark Series” and her journey as a stage artist. Read on to find out more about this lovely soul. Hey Gitana! Thank you for speaking with us. Tell our readers a little about yourself. My name is Gitana Singh. I …