So, in addition to drinking gallons of tea and reading so much my head might soon explode, I like to knit and sew, and I’ve recently gotten interested in learning to embroider. There are some great places to do so online (such as the Stitching Cow and Sublime Stitching), but I just came across a tutorial for shisha mirrorwork. The writer also suggest substituting tiny mirrored pieces with coins, shells, and what appear to be pieces of aluminum cans, which is totally cool and innovative!

Shisha seems to have originated in the subcontinent or Central Asia, and there are great illustrations of Pakistani and Indian embroidery at Quilter’s Muse. Of all the varieties, I’m most interested in phulkari (probably because my husband/extended family is Punjabi) — but for the life of me, I can’t find instructions or patterns for the craft. This is likely because it’s handed down through generations, a tradition woven into the life of the village, not something commodified and exported for indiscriminate consumption, and maybe it’s crass to think I could learn to do it without an apprenticeship of several years with a Punjabi granny. Nevertheless, it seems like the Internet could offer guidance toward online repositories of related info. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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(Image of Emperor Tughlak, taken by John Sache in the mid-19th century)

Great video presentation of historical images of India juxtaposed with current photos: LINK.

Bonus: An old favorite of mine is Kamat’s Potpourri, which has all sorts of awesomeness around the theme “India’s history, mystery, and diversity” — particularly enriching is the site’s photoblog.

Super-bonus: There’s some interesting British Raj photography on Harappa, and the site also offers cool vintage postcards, engravings, and lithographs.

Interesting story on the recent introduction of vending machines for female condoms in Delhi. I question some of the figures reported — for example, they estimate that 300,000 teenage abortions take place in the city every year, which, without more information/better sourcing, seems suspiciously high — but regardless of faulty reportage, NDTV certainly sparks contemplation of the changing face of sexuality in India.

Witness Times Private Treaties, a hideous sham of a venture by which advertisers buy space in the Times of India, and TOI, in turn, buys a stake in the company doing the advertising, all in the name of synergy and profits and whatnot.

As Indian media watchdog The Hoot notes, “The more competitive the media business gets, the more inventive media houses become. And it becomes more of a headache to track the ethical dimensions and conflict of interest possibilities that emerge.” The newspaper industry in the subcontinent may be flourishing, but it’s certainly not without its discontents.

Communal tensions crackle between Christians and Hindus in Orissa, India: The Hindustan Times, Time

Fallout from Benazir Bhutto’s assasination: The Associated Press, The New York Times

Price increases hitting the tea industry in India: The Times of India

Coffee culture in the subconty: The Independent