Amidst the intense lockdown in May & June, I began cycling long distances to pass time. In the peak of Madras summer, I really soaked in (not just UV Rays) but also Madras as a city and its various nuances. I’d been so keen on bringing to Alankaara’s table and to you rare and exotic flowers that I’d overlooked all the uniqueness of my immediate surroundings.
I spotted an array of Saamandhi (chrysanthemums) at the entrance of stores and homes, a splash of orange Kanakambaram (firecracker flower) adorning the slicked braids of our women, the demure and fragrant Malli poo ( jasmine) coiled up in baskets of temple goers, the bright maroon Kozhi Konda (cockscomb) and Vedchi Poo ( Ixoras) entwined together in votive garlands, the fiery red gulmohar carpeting the roads mid-summer, the sturdy pink Vadamalli (globe amaranths) peaking beautifully out of shrubs in the bright sun, the button Roja Poo (roses) growing and glowing in a variety of warm colours and oh, the Thulasi plants were thriving in everyones backyard.
Thus, was born the “This is Madras” collection.