August Moon, and that timeless cycle!
After years of toil, Sabysachi Mukherjee now wants to take it easy. Not on food though
PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA
SPOON FULL Sabyasachi Mukherjee tries some dim sums at Tea House of the August Moon in New Delhi's Taj Palace hotel
Sabyasachi Mukherjee says he is going through a fun phase in life. Sporting a beard and fun phase... funny isn't?
"It is a misconception in the country that if you haven't shaved you are sad... going through a Devdas phase. My mother does ask me every time she calls up when I am going to shave.
To me it's liberation, haven't you heard of the hippies? My mother has undergone a successful surgery that was long due. In fashion I am doing things I love to do. Now I want to slow down my life," says Sabya, starting off a leisurely lunch at his favourite Tea House of the August Moon in New Delhi's Taj Palace hotel.
Recreating the traditional Chinese teahouse ambience where people gather to drink tea and eat a variety of dim sums, the restaurant has started an all-day dim sum experience. "Apart from the food and well-spread out tables, I like the vast expanse the windows offer here. At night you feel you are eating with the stars."
His almost meteoric rise within a few years of his arrival on the fashion stage - his latest collection shown at Bridal Asia has been a rage again - has taken a toll on his personal life. "I am the kind of person who will eat only when he is sure that his work is complete. I have been so busy all these years that my food cycle has reversed. I used to have no breakfast and ended up having a heavy dinner. I am changing it now."
Personally not to be impressed by the presentation of food, the designer goes by the aroma of it and has an adjective for good food - beautiful. "Like Rina (Dhaka) would prefer sexy! Presentation is vital both in fashion and food. However, if everybody understands your mood, then there is no fun. There has to be an element of mystique."
Sipping Darjeeling tea, Sabya shares he is finicky only about tea. "I don't like the overdose of sugar and milk that they offer in this part of the world. In fact, I carry a flask full of tea with me. It's a kind of family heritage." As for cooking, he says, "I can prepare simple dal-chawal but then it will require three days to clean up the kitchen!"
Fish clear soup with coriander makes an appearance, and Sabya reveals he has a long relationship with South Asian cuisine, for his favourite destination is Thailand. "I don't plan holidays, that's why Thailand is perfect, for you can get a visa on entry in the country." He narrates his early hiccups with the chopsticks and pungent smell that some dishes emanate. Moving on to lotus stem kimchi and cronjee crispy lamb, Sabya goes back in time to when he opted for a career in fashion in a city like Kolkata.
"My father had given up on me. I was always attracted to creativity. I was good at theatre, that's why perhaps people find lots of drama in my shows. Had I not been a designer, I would have been a choreographer."
Recalling his first dress, which he designed during his first semester at NIFT, Sabya says, "It was a black velvet baby doll dress which I designed for my sister. It was so badly stitched that it ended up as cushion, courtesy my mother."
Trying out crispy spinach with walnut, Sabya states that he feels his profession has become only slightly respectable. "Still we are seen as people who are making easy money without much effort... or dumb blokes who love to party. The media has played a role in creating this image. An actor has to play a happy part on the stage even if his mother has died at home. The audience or media won't realise. Something similar happens with us."
As for his foray into films, Sabya quips he has always been in love with films and popcorn. "I can't enter a film without an extra large butter popcorn packet. At times it makes up for dinner."
He says his wavelength matches Sanjay Leela Bhansali's, both being Pisceans.
"He also can't relax without his work being completed according to his wish. Had he not given me creative space, I would not have worked on Black. Even in all-black dresses, my trademark detailing shows."
Time for dessert, time to part, for the same old cycle is waiting!
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