Karuna Ezara Parikh is a former television anchor, model, poet and writer whose work has appeared in a number of publications including Vogue, The Wire, and India Today. She is the author of the novel ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’, and a volume of poetry, ‘Where Stories Gather’. In 2015 she co-founded the sustainable company The Burlap People. Here are some unique ‘literary’ recommendations from the consummate lover of the printed word.
Lost Art of Kindness pendant: Though I’ve seen a ton of ‘bookish’ jewellery I don’t think anything quite competes with this one from Eina Ahluwalia. I love all her pieces, but this one is truly precious. I love Eina not just for how pretty her pieces are but for how much thought goes into each one of them. She has immense respect for the kaarigars she works with, and works in a way that her business model supports them first and foremost.
The Bookish Pandora: is run by a husband and wife duo who create ‘literature-inspired merchandise’. From their pendants to the tiny fairy bookshelves, these are magic. For the larger pieces, I recommend pre-ordering (they make great gifts!) because the craft takes time. They sell out so speedily, it’s often frustrating trying to nab your favourite piece, but keep trying—the joy of finally having one is unparalleled.
Book bags from The Burlap People: These 100% biodegradable Book Bags that I designed with my business partner for The Burlap People. I take one with me everywhere. We began by designing jute bags with leather trimmings, but soon realised in order to be more sustainable we would have to slowly eliminate leather. We didn’t want to use a plastic replacement, and most plant leathers are still quite expensive, so we turned to canvas, and the results have been delicious, and of course 100% vegan!
A dress by The Summer House: If ever there was a dress for poets…The Summer House is one of the companies in India that I find doesn’t just claim to be eco-friendly or slap on an “organic” tag, but actually walks the talk. I always fantasised about wearing words, and this dress is making me swoon…
Sienna Café: This is definitely my favourite café to read (and write!) in. I wrote two books at its tables and tell everyone it’s a must-visit if you’re ever in Calcutta. My favourite dishes are the mushroom lasagne (hands down the best vegetarian lasagne I’ve ever tried), the black rice avocado salad, and god, their fries. Also the coffee. They have a long coffee menu which works well if you plan to read or write there!
Anuradha Bhaumick’s hoops: I discovered her work when my colleagues commissioned a piece for me when my novel launched. She’s an embroidery artist who makes hoops out of thread and waste fabric that depict books and readers. Mine was terribly pretty and she’s also just a kind soul, which makes it nicer to own her stuff. Each piece feels like a labour of love.
Bookmarks from Lai Designs: These are the most beautiful bookmarks I’ve ever seen and if you, like me, tend to lose your bookmarks, you’ll love these as they can also be worn as pendants!
Bookends from natty.in: I always turn to the natty.in website for bookends, where the selection is fun to browse, and it supports local Indian sellers. They range from the funky to the very arty, and also have some that are just the right amount of playful for the corner where the Tom Robbins and Hunter Thompsons sit.
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