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Do you prefer two-millennia old remedies from Charaka Samhitaover modern medicines for your allergies? Do you choose to wear fabrics treated with turmeric for rejuvenation? Insist that rasam be cooked in a lead vessel? Refurbish your house with terracotta tiles, red oxide flooring and wooden beams? Opt to wear flower jewellery a la Shakuntala at your wedding? Are you keen that your children learn about their tradition in a gurukul? Then you are part of the ancient tribe, men and women who believe that all that is old is vastly more preferable to current practices and lifestyle choices. A look at the return of the past in our lives.
India is on the move, there's no doubt about that. Cast a glance at our urban centres - with their shiny malls and multiplexes, fancy restaurants, hip discos, towering apartment complexes, uber cool cafes - and it's evident that we are consuming modernity like never before. The globalised Indian's tastes are defined by the latest international trends - be it in clothing, gadgets, food or cars. But the future is not the only way we are headed. Increasingly many of us are moving in reverse gear too, revisiting lifestyle choices that are ancient. Today, pracheen is in. We want to build homes in styles that date back centuries;brides are imitating historic fashion icons;ayurveda is in your face, in your food, your clothes and what have you;pods, barks and twigs are giving allopathic medicines a run for their money;Sanskrit is the new cool lingo, inspiring even rock bands;parents are packing off children to gurukuls that feed the kids satvik meals and teach them Vedic Math;board games long forgotten are being revived - the retro fetish is rearing its head in every walk of life. And is feeding new business opportunities. Some professionals are reinventing their skills to suit the times. Like the ancient Kuzhivilla clan of Thiruvananthapuram. Traditionally, it has been a family of ayurvedic wizards who worked in the palaces and feudal homes of the region. They also used their indigenous knowledge of herbology to create medicinal fabric and build homes using the principles of ayurveda. Around the 1940s, the family's business was hit by the rapidly changing Indian lifestyle. Synthetically dyed fabrics had become popular and concrete and iron buildings were far easier to construct. But with the return of all things ancient, the Kuzhivilla family's fortunes have revived. Its 15 members are using the vidya (knowledge) left behind by their ancestors to create ayurvedically engineered clothes and homes. Every year, the family manages to sell Rs 3 crore worth of garments dyed in healing herbs to Indians and foreigners. Though it is difficult to put an exact figure to the profits being made by peddling the past, there is no doubt that smart entrepreneurs are making more than a quick buck by catering to the quirks and fancies of those taking a trip down memory lane. Is this a passing fancy or lasting love? TOI-Crest takes stock of how we are ringing in the old.
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