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By Himani Mantri Grover, Founder of Chicory Chai. August 2014
Luxury is subjective. Something like a chance lunch of Roman artichokes pasta.

Luxury is subjective Image

Most would expect it to be a visit to the Vatican or Sistine (that is luxuriously overwhelming, actually). That’s the closest you get to divinity (and extravagance) and you can never have enough of it all. So you drag yourself out of the high walls and allow your feet to take over your mind. Walking down the cobbled streets, you find yourself in the medieval quarters of Trastevere; somewhat lost. You stop to check your map when a Vespa comes honking at the crossroads and give you a reality check and you notice an old open-stoned building; half naked and half covered by the creepers in a quaint corner. A bit familiar, a lot different than what you have already seen in many such corners across Italy! You catch those tiny tables and a very good-looking Roman man smiling at you.

Luxury is subjective Image

It’s almost past the lunch hour and your hunger pangs now take over your feet, heart and mind. Trying hard to not look like a tourist, you read the board (of course written in Italian) and figure out that it’s an eighty-year old family run trattoria. You don’t see anyone else eating there and as you can hear a robust Italian woman in the kitchen, talking at the top of her voice to god-knows-who, you suddenly aren’t too sure if you should eat there. While you are contemplating, your well-trained eyes (Rome does that to you even if you aren’t the arty types!) cannot miss the antique silver cutlery carefully placed on the red and white-checkered tablecloths. The Persian cat snuggles by your feet luring you into the mystery that is about to unfold. You simply give in. The food arrives in a pretty ceramic dish; the kinds that you see in the Hellenistic art section of a museum. And then the aromas fill you in. You pick the fork in a suspended animation and take your first bite.

That’s when you start thanking every star for leading you to this part of heaven. The woman from the kitchen walks up to you and wakes you up from the reverie. You can see that she knows her magic has worked. She sits by your side and one story leads to another and another and she reveals that what you’ve just gobbled down is in fact centuries old recipe that’s been safely preserved by her family. When you begin to rubbish the claim, the ancient-looking manuscript encased in a carved wooden box is presented to you as an underplayed serendipity. It’s nothing less than a holy scripture. Now, if this manifestation isn’t luxury, what is?

Luxury is subjective Image

To a hopeless romantic like me, luxury is complete fantasy. It’s about the bygone times. It’s about the people, the unique stories and their lives. Luxury is drama; luxury is rarity. It can never be about an object or an experience; luxury cannot exist in isolation. It’s more about the emotions than the price tag. It’s about that aspect which touches the innermost part of your being. And not necessary the depths of your pocket!

It’s quite oxymoronic but the ultimate luxury to me is anything that money can’t buy! A little unattainable, a lot beyond reach. Something you yearn for but it keeps evading you like a mirage. To quote Gil in Woody Allen’s movie, ‘Midnight in Paris’: “It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying”.

Luxury is subjective Image

To watch the Bring Home Stories Artist showcase about Chicory Chai and featuring Himani Mantri Grover go to the Chicory Chai Showcase

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