The festival of lights is a few weeks away but we’re already feeling the excitement. Have you seen our Diwali gift collection yet? There’s a whole range of vibrant, festive, and very thoughtful gifts that we have created. And we thought you’d like a peek at the behind-the-scenes story.
Nagendranath Chiluvuru is our R&D Head. He works from our Siliguri office and is always trying new combinations of tea blends. He has crafted our special Diwali blends.
What does Diwali mean to you?
I feel a bit nostalgic when I think of my family and our Diwali celebrations in Mysore, where we lived. For me, the festival was about lighting little “bijli” fireworks while my parents watched, the yellow marigolds that were used to decorate our home, and my favorite bit – the bele obattu with a generous helping of fragrant, liquid ghee.
Diwali for me is about illuminated homes, traditional Indian sweets, colorful fireworks, children feeling joyous, and my own childhood memories.
How did that inspire the blends you created for the Teabox Diwali collection?
We wanted to make 5-6 blends that were Diwali-inspired. I worked with concepts based on what Diwali is to me, and began to source ingredients that would suit them. I think I knew what I was looking for when I started.
What was the process like?
We developed prototypes of the blends we thought would work. But a lot of brainstorming went into it. Every idea went through many iterations. While we wanted the blends to sound Indian and festive, we were also using some exotic ingredients like vanilla and lavender. From 15 ideas in the beginning, we arrived at 6 blends.
What do you hope our customers discover and enjoy about these special blends?
I hope they will enjoy the diversity among the blends, and the harmony between sweet and spice. The spices – black pepper, cardamom, and ginger – just pop, while the fancier vanilla, saffron, red pepper, and even chocolate and lavender add some indulgence. They represent the diversity, the colors, and the vibrancy of our celebration. When someone drinks these tea, I hope it will add to their own festivities. Because an everyday cup of tea just won’t do on Diwali!
Do you have a favorite blend?
I am proud of all of them. But I am partial to the ones that have saffron and cardamom in them.
Sneha Prasad works as Designer at Teabox and loves illustration and creating innovative packaging options. She led the team that worked on creating the gifts for the Diwali range.
What does Diwali mean to you?
Diwali to me is about colors and brightness and a festive mood. There is celebration. And that’s what I was trying to recreate in the Teabox Diwali gifts.
What went into the planning of the Diwali gift range?
We were looking for something that would bridge the traditional and the contemporary. We also experimented with a contemporary color palette, with elements from traditional celebrations like Indian flowers, the rangoli (decorative patterns), diyas (lamps).
The rangoli became a recurring idea and soon became the motif for the range. It led to the idea of fractals, repetitive geometric figures that create patterns. It seemed to blend right in with Diwali, and how families come together to celebrate it as one big beautiful party. It’s the story that ties in our entire Diwali range of gifts. What you see is a contemporarized rendition of the rangoli.
What makes these great for gifting this Diwali?
We set out to make gifts that are inspired by India, that will make for great keepsake and trinket boxes. And we designed them with the idea of bringing joy to the person who receives it. We imagined someone opening a box and finding a riot of colors inside and feeling happy.
Is there a favorite among this collection?
All of us who worked on these gifts – Manish, Anju, Vishal, and I – love the Luminaire. This is the last gift we designed, after we had completed what we set out to do. So, it’s almost a bonus gift. We looked at objects related to Diwali and felt the lamp was an idea that would translate nicely as a gift box. We borrowed from origami and we had a lot of room to play. And that’s what we did. Of course, there was a lot of back and forth between us and the Operations team to make sure the shape and size would not be damaged while transporting, and with the printer to get our idea right. But we knew we had a winner. The day the prototype arrived, we rushed to the studio and lit a lamp inside the box. It was perfect!
Meeta Sharma is Asst. Marketing Manager at Teabox and the resident tea evangelist.
What does Diwali mean to you? How do you celebrate it?
It’s literally my most awaited of festivals. Every year there is something new to look forward, something new to celebrate and toast to. And given it’s that one time in the year when everybody gets together for a shared moment of celebration, it’s ‘the’ week of the year that I look forward to.
All my Diwali memories are about food, family, and fireworks. I’d help Mom with making a ton of traditional north Indian sweets and savories, and I’d make sure I’d save myself a private stash of each in an undisclosed location (inside my closet). Back in the day, Diwali used to be the time when everybody in the household was treated to a new pair of shoes and an outfit and that has been a cherished event all along. Even now, Mom and I shop for each other for Diwali. The day of is all about meeting up with family and friends and this has to be the most fun part of the festival.
What were you hoping to find in the Diwali specials, in the flavors and aromas?
Diwali immediately suggests something vibrant, bright and lively. I think of yellows red and gold. I am reminded of the smell of warm sweets. These are feeling I hoped the blends would evoke, too.
What did you like about these blends? Do they spell Diwali for you?
Diwali to the D. We did a spice-infused blend, the Spice Sparkler, that’s topped with pink pepper, which looks as vibrant as it tastes. Jasmine Spice, a spice-floral blend reminds you of a decorated home on the day of Diwali. Sweet Serenity, the fruit-based blend, tugs at your senses with feelings of sweetness and warmth; Mint Jubilee, a mint and fennel-based green tea, gives your sensations an instant pop with the burst of flavors that come through with every sip; and then there’s the Vanilla Pistachio Tuile, a flavored blend laden with the nuts that we commonly find as a part of most Diwali celebrations.
We have an exciting range to look forward to for Diwali, all blends featuring an assortment of warm spices, sweet tropical fruits, and fresh herbs.
You also named the gifts. What’s the inspiration behind the names?
We named each box after the emotions and feelings most closely associated with Diwali, mainly that of illumination, brightness and enthusiasm. We have one set of gifts named after the brightest stars in the night sky – Polaris, Sirius, Vega and Altair. Then, there is my personal favorite, the lantern-shaped Luminare which immediately suggested luminosity. Elan, talks about a vibrant energy and so does Verve.
Any favorite tea?
Has to be the Sweet Serenity. It’s sweet, juicy and warm. The flavors caress your senses, flow effortlessly and manage to take the edge of the holiday frenzy.
So, there you have it. The whole story about the very special gift collection we’ve created. Go on, take a look at the Teabox Diwali gifts.