Colours & flowers for the new year

Colours & flowers for the new year

We blinked, and another year went by; we are again on the threshold of
ushering in Ugadi, the first festival of the new Hindu calendar year, which marks the
beginning of the spring season, bringing along good tidings, hope, new beginnings, changes and prosperity.

Busy with year-end academic and financial schedules, you may perhaps be falling short on ideas to do up your house and tune into the festive spirit. Here are a few suggestions to get you going. Spice them up with your creative skills and in no time, you would have chalked out a great theme.

This time, draw inspiration from the traditional Ugadi pacchadi or bevu-bella, which is a heady concoction of six ingredients. Indulge in a six-colour riot for the festival: a holi for the decor with greens, yellows, whites, browns, red and some shimmer. Either choose one hue for each room and a single contrasting element, or blend in all the six shades to create a new look. Don’t fret about the labour. With technology at your fingertips, almost all the required things are available online and can be delivered to your doorstep. Browse a bit, plan and order all that you need for a quick makeover.

Green is in

Spring is green; green is lively; green spells newness. Use different shades of the
vitalising colour all around the house – cushions, carpets, dhurries, curtains and wall colours. There are plenty of choices for fabric in leaf, vine and abstract prints. Green being the colour of the season, splurge on it to your heart’s content.

This Ugadi, take a vow to improve the green quotient around the home by bringing in some of your garden plants indoors  — they are excellent decor pieces by themselves. If you have no time for the customary re-painting of the house, enliven walls by hanging vines and creepers. Did you try hanging pairs of mangoes (with the stalk and leaves) from the ceiling? They add a dimension of fun for everyone, and wouldn’t they like to grab this treat!

Don’t limit yourself to the interiors alone, but take the step to enhance the greenery around the house. Apart from the obvious and better quality of air, green is refreshing and rejuvenating to the eyes, along with being a very fulfilling hobby. Make use of online nurseries and shop for easy-to-grow-and-maintain plants. Be it in a few pots and tubs, a small patch or a luxurious garden, make a start and begin adding more. Sprinkle seeds, or get saplings; prune the existing ones or graft new ones; try some landscaping or line the lawn with exotic plants. With plenty of sunshine available now, you will soon see the fruit of your labour.

If you don’t have one, why not sow a neem or mango tree this Ugadi and have your own source of the leaves in the coming years? Or, how about bringing home a bonsai? A fruit-laden tree is surely an exhilarating sight. The satisfaction of growing your own vegetable produce is immeasurable. This is also a good time to start a vegetable patch. Common vegetables can be easily grown at home in the true spirit of abundance. Many herbs and vegetables grow effortlessly in pots, tubs and trays.
A wonderful option for space-starved homes is a micro garden. Vertical gardens, micro gardens and espaliering can surely turn your home into a productive farmland. So, get on the green wagon!

Blend it with brown

Browns are easy to work with, as they blend easily and elegantly in a home.
Carpets, furniture, rugs, dhurries and cushions — all find brown to be a popular shade. Brown also makes a good base colour to bring out the contrast with
yellow, gold, red and green. So, mix and match according to your choice. Add a few terracotta artefacts or pick a few clay items from artisans.

Shining in yellow

Yellow symbolises sunshine, warmth, liveliness and merriment. Add it to cushion covers, curtain purdahs, or other furniture elements. Even a big vase of fresh, smiling sunflowers will do the trick and give an instant feel of warmth.

For a bit of dazzle

For the element of traditional elegance bring out the silver; polish the brass lamps and hang them or make them stand. Serve the meal in copper, silver or brass
dinnerware for a classy look. Use your shimmering dupattas or saris as additional window dressing.

A mandatory touch

What is a festival without the customary rangoli and torana? Buy some rangoli stickers, borders and colourful torana (use the seasonal colour palette for uniformity). Just add a few sequins, kundan beads or embellishments to them for that personalised touch, and it will definitely make heads turn. For a charming welcome, strategically position a windchime to tinkle every time a guest enters.

Festivals without flowers are unimaginable! Bring some bright yellow and red combination of marigold, gerberas, asters and cosmos. Scrunch up some old paper into a tight ball; stick the flowers around the paper ball using pins. Add a few mango or neem leaves to complete the look. A sequin or two pinned along with the flowers will catch the light and add the required sparkle. With a piece of string, hang these balls all around the house for a mesmerising effect.
Peaceful white

Last but not the least, an important ritual during Ugadi is the panchanga sravana or reading the religious almanac. Involve the elders or bring in a priest and gather around an allotted space to know what the year has in store for us. Theme the space in white and golden-yellow; add plenty of jasmine, incense, a photo collage of gods and goddesses, a few silks cascading from above and a foldable book rest. An aura of quietude and peace is sure to keep the audience in rapt attention.

Now that we have everything planned for Ugadi which falls on the coming Wednesday, there is ample time over the weekend to get things started. Happy
Ugadi!

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