Congratulations President Obama for your re-election!
And as I watched President Obama’s election night speech, this Masala Tee wallah had a personal flashback. President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to India in November 2010 was so memorable for several reasons.
To begin, it created a lot of excitement in my neighborhood when we had news that the US Presidential couple will tour the Humayun Tomb situated very near my home in Nizamuddin East. That was confirmed when my husband and I witnessed many army and secret service personnel pacing up and down our streets, crossing our gardens, climbing up our staircases and strutting around our terraces with sniper rifles and walkie talkies. Oh Yes, they did! Just like a scene out of ’24 Hours.’
Always an admirer of what the Obamas stand for, I (with my cheerleading husband in tow) excitedly armed myself less menacingly with a small camera and binoculars, and decided to get in the act – snooping at many men in green who were snooping around. From my own terrace where I had covertly located myself, an army personnel told me to ‘please ma’am, get out of your terrace’. Amidst all this confusion around me, I’d managed to aim hard enough and snapped some shots of Mr & Mrs Obama from my terrace through some holes from some distant bushes. These larger than life figures appeared as tiny tiny specks from my point & shoot camera. But I did not care. After all, how often do you get to see the Presidential couple strolling hand-in-hand in your own backyard (well, almost)? Feeling quite like a paparazzi, I sneaked in a shot- yep, I did!
A day later, a dear someone I know excitedly shared with me the news that he was attending a tea session with the Obamas. Fired up by my covert scene from the Humayun Tomb, I excitedly prepared a gift for the Obama family- a pack of actual masala tea, a personal card for Michelle plus four Masala Tees : a Masala Tee Jewel for Michelle, a Masala T-urban for Obama, and Masala Tee Sugarcubes with bejeweled Indian animals for Sasha and Malia. Everyone close and dear to me said two words, “wishful thinking.” Undaunted, I went ahead and instructed my friend to pass along my gifts to them- yes sirree, I did!
Finally, the crux of the story ended like this.
The card and gifts actually got handed over to the Obamas.
Oh yes, truly they did! (n.b: I am sure that the pack had to pass through many layers of security before it reached their hands!)
A month after I’d sent those gifts and card through my friend, and when all that excitement was forgotten, I saw a big yellow envelope peeping out of my dusty Indian post-box. Nonchalantly, I picked it up and saw the address printed at the top of the envelope.
It says THEWHITE HOUSE.
Yes, indeed it did!
My heart raced. I opened the envelope to find a letter from her royal loveliness, smartness, grace and style (and of enviable ultra-toned shoulders), and a champion of poverty, military families and conscious healthy living. First Lady extraordinaire & Mom in Chief,
I read it, my heart thumping with joy and quiet disbelief that my gift of Masala Tees (and tea) and card actually got through to them. Over a tea session in India. And how very apt that was.
I high-fived everyone I passed in my neighborhood that day (from the chai wallah to the fruit wallah to the rickshaw wallah) without explaining anything to them, and happily called all those who disbelieved that I would pull this off.
Yes, I Did!
Yes, She Did!
And Yes, He Can!
Congrats President Barack Hussein Obama & First Lady, Michelle Obama!
All Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
4 More Years of your values, of your coolness, of you.
We had celebrated our second birthday on a beautiful cheerful Sunday with 50 special children from selected orphanages, slum dwelling and underprivileged homes in Delhi. Themed as ‘Humpy Kholy, Crazy Daisy, Nutty Trunky & the Reading Caterpillar in the JUNGLE BOOK, ‘ the storytelling birthday event is aimed at instilling a love for books and stories, and capturing the imagination of the children. With the help of our friends- Pankaj Jha as the inimitable Mogli the MC; Rabani Garg, founder of the Reading Caterpillar Club for Children in Delhi; and Anupa Lal, an author and storyteller of children’s books- our 3-8 year old special guests of honor were entertained to a fun and colorful evening of storytelling, music and tea treats, and to much love & laughter.
Our birthday celebration felt truly meaningful- the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the adults were smiling and the children- well, the children just had a jolly good time.
Turning 2 has been a milestone.
But more so, it’s been a time for us to reflect.
Two years ago, we founded Masala Tee, and a year after, the e-urban clothing store (www.masalateeboutique.com). Our goal is pure and simple. First, to create organic tee shirts that depict the colorful & beautiful images of India. Second, to have loads of brew-haha fun and laughter. And last but certainly not least – to stick to our adage of growing up healthy and soulfully, ”the best exercise for the Heart is to bend down and lift another.”
It has been a terrific journey.
In two years, we have served piping hot and uber cool organic tee shirts in 9 countries, delighted some 1000+ Facebook fans across the globe and along the way made some hearts happy whilst donating a certain percentage of our sales proceeds to humanitarian causes. Masala Tee aims to brew more green tees and reach a wider audience. And that’s where we need your help.
Simply join our birthday wish and mission to boost our Facebook Masala Tee community. Here’s how you can help: Just LIKE us on Facebook to connect with other like-minded fans fanning the Flame of Masala Tee. While you’re at it, invite your friends to also LIKE us. If you LIKE us, chances are, they will as well. And that’s it. Your recommendation means more to us than any other marketing strategy.
To show our gratitude and to kick-start our birthday bash recently, we had thrown out some irresistible deals your way. Starting on our birthday Sunday 15 May and for the next one month, our customers and loyal fans can score up to 30% discount on Masala Tee’s women’s tshirts, tee shirts for men and organic kids clothing. The more you buy, the greater the discounts! So order some organic tee shirts today for you and your loved ones. Feel free to send us your photo in Masala Tee wherever you are vacationing for the coming summer holidays with your friends and family , if you want to be featured on our Facebook Fanpage. The slideshow below gives more details on the the Birthday sale.
So if you believe in our endeavors, please help us Spread More Joy with Masala Tee.
Imagine the tug on my heart strings. When she came back home from her playschool, grasping with her two year & 6 months old fingers and with all her might- a paper bouquet and a flowery card. And her lips all pursed up ready to kiss me.
You see, I became a Mom pretty late – after the age of 40. No one has made a big hoopla about Mom’s Day for me, except me and family for my Mom. So when the little one came back home from her nursery school with excitement to present me this little gift made by her (albeit with a lot of help from her teacher)- I was taken in. Intrigued. Delighted.
Gifts made with love, and shared with delight, and pride.
She probably does not know why she is giving this gift to Mama. And it doesn’t matter. I gave a squeak of delight, and opened up the card, and laughed at the words written at the bottom. Obviously recounted by her but written by her teacher.
“Mama office” (I juggle between play with her and work from home).
“Mama’s gone to doctor” (I tell her that when I need some ‘me’ time and she hates seeing the doctor).
“Mama speaks telephone” (The phone is my fashion accessory like a pair of earrings stuck to my ears).
She made my day. But it also meant that I need to reflect about what she’d written. And my resolution for next year’s Mother’s Day is for her to add another line:
“Mama smells flowers” ( I want to take time off more with her and smell more flowers).
Fast forward two hours later. The little one had forgotten all about Mother’s Day and all that she had made for Mama. I had picked up the card and the flowers and placed it on my work desk. These, after all, are made for keeps.
She came to my work desk and proclaimed the self-assertive mantra of a 2-3 year old, “Mama, that’s MINE. ”And the daily mother-daughter banter starts. “Hahaha. no, no- You’re MINE. But we must always share. ”
She’s made for keeps, my precious one.
In conjunction with Mother’s Day, Masala Tee gives a treat to all Mothers.
A blend of ocean breeze and exotic tropical flowers
Perfect for a flowerful cool day outdoors
* Beautiful flower can be un-plucked from Tee and planted on bags, hats or any place you fancy.
“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair”
BLOOMING MASALA TEE
BEAUTIFUL BLOOMING TEA
This is the eye-catching visually stunning Blooming Tea that has inspired the Blooming Masala Tee Collection.
Our inspiration comes from China where it is believed that the Blooming Tea symbolizes Love, Happiness & Prosperity. Each bud is skilfully rolled by hand to create a spectacular, eye catching visual treat of a tea. Delicate yet powerful – it is a delight to the senses. A visually stunning, refreshing and rejuvenating alternative to the standard tea.
MASALA TEE simply loves it. And cheers it. And pays tribute to it.
Inspired by images of India– her beauty and color, as well as her extremities & vulnerabilities- Masala Tee is committed to building close relationships with the community within which we live.
Starting from Mother’s Day in India and many parts of the world which falls on 9th May last Sunday, we had declared the entire week as‘Masala Tee for Humani-Tee Week’. This is part of Masala Tee’s social message where we pledge a certain percentage of our sales proceeds yearly to humanitarian organizations in India helping children and women.
And to you – our friends and fans who have supported us in our endeavour – we thank you.
Masala Tee’s initiative to allow underprivileged kids to dream.
On April 26 2010, the Masala Tee Charity Puppet Show took place in the late evening in Delhi under clear blue skies, rising temperature matched with equally raised spirits and a terrace converted into a colorful Rajasthani haven with the majestic Humayun Tomb setting in the background.
This was the first of Masala Tee for Humani-Tee*series of events envisioned as part of our social message to give back to the community within which we live.
The Tee Wallahs had brewed a special potion for that enchanting evening –
50 special Indian chidren from selected slum, orphanages & underprivileged homes in Delhi, 1 cow, 1 camel, 1 elephant, 4 puppeteers, 3 musicians, 1 inimitable MC/comedian, warm camaraderie, masala tea & cakes & nimbu pani (iced lemon juice to combat the rising heat in Delhi), joyful laughter & excited giggles ringing in the air, song, dance & lots of applause at the “Masala T-Time Jamboree.”
And not forgetting a big measure of Love, Peace & Sunshine.
Guest performers included the House of Puppets, puppeteer from the Kathputli Rajasthani slums in Delhi who staged an animated Masala Tee customized Puppet Show entitled “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes” featuring the animals characters from our Masala Tee Sugarcube Collection for Children: Nutty Trunky, the elephant, Humpy Khaly, the camel & Crazy Daisy, the cow.
Special mention goes out to the inimitable MC, Uncle P, who had the kids entertained & roaring with laughter, clapping excitedly, singing and dancing with such abandon!
And as for the Tee Wallahs, we laughed so much that we cried.
* Masala Tee for Humani-Tee idea: A certain percentage of the sales proceeds of Masala Tee goes towards selected humanitarian organisations helping children & women. Help us fan the flame of Masala Tee @ http://www.masalateeboutique.com
* Our thanks go to the following people: Mittal Tea, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Mehak Patissier for their contribution to this Event.
The Bigger Picture:
This simple humble endeavor is now evolving further. Masala Tee is now involved in promoting the House of Puppets’ artistry to certain schools where they will conduct Puppet Making Workshops using recycled materials with the aim of encouraging creativity and building eco conscious-minded children.
The House of Puppets hail from the community of artists from the Kathputli Rajasthani Slums in Delhi. In “Midnight’s Children“, Salman Rushdie wrote of the “Magicians’ Ghetto” in Delhi, home to jugglers, fakirs and sweetmeat stalls, of “vendors of notions and itr-essences” and the “caterwauls of shoe-shine boys”. Kathputli is a real-life incarnation of Rushdie’s world.
HOP’s young group of performers who create & perform with their various crafts have turned their slum dwelling into a showcase of Rajasthani arts. The Kathputli Rajasthani slum residents are now facing a very uncertain future as their slum colony is now under threat from being bulldozed and cleared very soon, before India hosts the 2010 Commonwealth Games in October.
Our Masala T-URBAN photo shoot advertisement had specifically targeted at young, virile men with an athletic good body.
Enter Zubin Atre. A yoga instructor with all that litheness & flexibility, all packed into his trim 148 lbs body. And the Tee Wallahs were immediately sold.
As a yoga practitioner, he emphasizes that through practicing yoga, not only will your body encounter a healthy change and stay physically fit, but you will empower your mental state, and ultimately achieve a positive outlook on life. And we cannot agree more!
He embodies one of our Masala Tee Mantra to the Tee:
Love, Levitate & Live Happy. Do Your Yoga.
So the Tee Wallahs have decided to untie & unravel all the loose ends from the mystery behind this young man who sportingly tied our Masala T-URBAN around his face for the photo shoot (and oh, what grace!). We have him exposed in this interview conducted over Masala Tea, of course!
When & why did you start practicing yoga? Who were your influences?
I was exposed to yoga at a very young age as my Dad was practising yoga at home & I have an aunt who is a yoga instructor. As a young boy, I was copying all of my Dad’s yoga movements. Proud Dad would always egg me on, and make me show off my yoga moves in front of the family, and I was 5 years old! At the ripe age of 11 (he laughed as we gasped), I was chanting along with my elder brother to the mantras on my Dad’s tape, ” Sacred Chants of Shiva.” So yes, yoga blood ran very thickly in my family.
When did you decide to dedicate yourself to yoga personally & professionally?
At College level, I had opted out of Medical course as I had not felt any affinity to it. I then decided to opt for Business Management & at the same time, I had attended a Teacher’s Training Course in Yoga at YogaLife. It was the turning point for me – I felt that yoga could be my vocation, and my Management course will complement & guide me through. I started out teaching yoga at many MNCs to get people to balance & manage their professional, personal & health aspects. And now my Management course again is aiding me in teaching yoga as well as running, managing & marketing YogaLife Studio.
Do you have a favourite form of yoga?
My personal favourite is Yoga Nidra which appeals to all of my senses- muscular, mental & emotional. It is a resolution-based form of yoga where you are in a state of conscious deep sleep. During the practice of Yoga Nidra, one appears to be asleep but the consciousness is happening at a deeper level of awareness – a state of mind between wakefulness & dream. Your mind feels like a child’s when you come out of the subconscious- every move is made sincerely in order that you achieve your aim, your target. It helps nurture the seed of great will power, inspire the higher self, and allows it to enjoy the vitality of life.
What do you find rewarding about being a yoga instructor?
My work is like break-time. It makes me feel very light. I am happy to introduce yoga to people – meet different people from all countries & all walks of life. It gives me a big pleasure to spread the goodness of yoga to people.
Do your students inspire you?
Yes, I see their will power. I am amazed at their dedication- when they come daily, when they seriously follow my instruction say, in holding a particular position for 90 seconds. I am learning continuously from my students – and, it’s a mutual feeling. They inspire me big time when they put their trust in me. And i hope it’s vice versa.
What should someone look for in a yoga instructor and a yoga studio?
Passion, discipline, knowledge, understanding. A yoga instructor cannot ‘follow the book’ too strictly. He/She has to listen to the needs of the students and mechanism/limitation of the student’s body, and understand the mental state of the student, and instruct accordingly.
A yoga studio needs to be a haven of warmth & relaxation with all the necessary amenities- a place where people can feel light and experience a relaxation of mind, body, spirit. At YogaLife, we are trying to achieve all of that, with more in the offing. In the near future, we will have a meditation room + a lounging room which will be the hub for our students to relax, and partake in the warm atmosphere.
What’s your own personal Mantra?
No cliché this- but it’s Omm.
Because when i close my eyes, relax and recite it, each & every Omm is different. It expresses & reflects my state of mind and produces vibration, emanating from my different body parts. Omm gets broken into 3 pieces, starting out with ‘Ohhh‘ from the stomach , ‘ooo’ from the chest region , ‘mmm’ from the mouth & nasal region ….forming an ‘Ommmmmm.” When the three parts come together, it completes me.
Any thing you want to share with us on your hot (hic) Masala Tee Photoshoot session in the cold winter of Delhi?
It was a mixture of ‘piping hot & uber cool’ ( and we applaud his answer!). There was good energy & vibes all around, and I warmed up to that, even in my cold, near ‘naked’ state..haha..I was totally relaxed – it’s a shoot like I’ve never done before. A funny & fun shoot…cheers to Masala Tee!
And to Zubin, we say Cheers! You were such a sport during our photo shoot and indeed, a great yoga sportsman.
* For those interested in following the trails of this Masala T-URBAN model, catch him @ Yoga Life Studio in 252A, Nanak Bhavan, Shahpur jat (opposite Panchsheel Commercial Complex), Delhi or call 98118-63332 for enquiries.