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Wearing India on her sleeve

Marketing Indian knickknacks is what this management graduate does best


NOW ISN'T running a `one-stop crazy shop' a slightly slumberous subject for an M.B.A. graduate synonymous with plug-sensibility and peppermint-fresh looks? But then Meghna Khanna cares less about how far she is from the crazy world of corporate stardom and more about the Enfield she loves to ride.

This biker babe has what you may call `attitude' but under that charming smile flanked by gorgeous nose pins there is a lot of smart business acumen and a head full of adventure. Meghna recently opened her store, Levitate in the twin-cities with her good friend, Saher Ahmed pitching in.

The store located at Road No: 63 (behind SBI), Jubilee Hills Check Post (Tel: 55535842) is open between 12 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. and is a one stop shop for Bohemian apparel, handcrafted kitsch, alternative jewellery and lifestyle accessories.

India as a `mela'

If you push past the glass door you'll confront India in a room. Not the India we know so well, the India that comes across in our tonnes of handicraft sales and craft melas.

It's not all about the Rajasthani tie and dye, Gujarati mirror work and Madrasi papads either. Says Meghna, "I source things from the bylanes of U.P., Rajasthan and Himachal. And I pick up only one of a kind. So there are no repeats. If your friend likes your bracelet and comes looking for the same she will not find it here. But she will definitely find something beautiful, something that will catch her fancy and something exotic. That is your bracelet, this will be hers."


And if you thought that variety and creativity is the only USP for this store then the prices will leave you stumped. I don't mean the `oh-my-god-let-me-roll-my-eyes-kind'. Some of the stuff here costs next to nothing.

There are tie and dye paper lanterns priced at Rs. 100, an amazing variety of masks - devil masks from Nepal, Shiva masks from Marwar and coconut masks from Kerala. The range of jewellery is mind-boggling. Meghna says, "Though most of the jewellery is sourced, a few have been put together in a fusion of shells, bells, strings and beads." There are bead bracelets, chunky silver belled ones for your feet and your waist, anklets made of cowrie shells, rings set with semi-precious stones, turquoise dipped and chalcedony necklaces and the pendants - beautiful.

There are the rare types, which are a marriage of clay and tiger's eye and every other coloured stone possible.

Psychedelic skirts


The clothesline is also unique. The skirts in parallel, wrap around and flared cuts is an eclectic mix of old silk saris and new nylon psychedelics. "The tops are diagonally cut so that the silk stretches and one size fits all."

Painted stoles and scarves apart there are also funky halter-tops. Her cushion covers filled with silk patchwork cost Rs. 105 while the floor cushions are priced at Rs. 225. A must buy are the wire worked bikes and rickshaws and the replicated Enfield saddlebags.

An addition to the shopping experience will be an eat out with some rare stuff like momos.

This store is at its best the flea market at Anjuna without the faded dhurrie and the hippie take.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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