DIY tips to host a Monsoon-perfect indoor picnic in these Covid-19 times
The skies are clearer, air is cooler and the heart is a little happier. We are officially in monsoon season and the urge to be outdoors is irresistible. But since we need to exercise caution and follow social distancing norms, why not recreate a picnic indoors? Al fresco seating for two in the balcony or a barbecue in the garden for the family — these DIY treats can take place of that coveted weekend getaway in these pandemic times. The perfect props, food times and just that right dose of monsoon magic to set the mood right is all that you need.
Rule of (Green) Thumb
Recreate the great outdoors with plants and flowers, suggests designer Nida Mahmood who also offers home décor solutions. “We are at home 24x7, and being confined, we have this urge to be closer to nature. Bring greenery inside your house with hanging planters, and pots of all sizes,” she says. Natural fragrances also help in elevating the ambience. “These days, people have started using camphor, not just for its fragrance, but also for its anti-bacterial and bug-repellent properties. You can also add lilies to the décor as they last long and have a nice fragrance,” says event planner and founder of La Pitara, Vaishali Gupta.
Monsoon evokes feelings of romance and nostalgia, and what better way to celebrate it than by reading poetry to your beloved. “It need not be romantic poetry, but any poetry or book that your partner likes. Rains are a sensory experience, with sights, smells and sounds. A bottle of wine, cheese and crackers, candles and music — it involves all senses,” says Nida.
A very important aspect of having an indoor picnic is making enough legroom, especially when space is a constraint. “Clear up the space and move the furniture aside. Lower seating with floor cushions and mattresses works best for that picnic feel,” says Gupta. In case you are feeling adventurous, you can also recreate a restaurant experience. “Bring out your nice crockery, dress up the part of a maitre d’ or a manager, and make handmade menu cards,” suggests interior designer Varija Bajaj.
Appetite for Romance
Cooking can be turned into a fun activity by setting up a barbecue grill in the garden or the terrace. The earthy aroma of the burning wood combined with the flavours of various marinades is enough to get the ball rolling. “Barbecues and monsoon is a very romantic match. Skewers are easy to grill and create minimum fuss. You can grill corn and sweet potato, the quintessential monsoon food. A wide variety of meats, seafood and veggies can be grilled. A flambé dessert on a cast iron pan is easily doable for that gala finish,” says chef Nishant Choubey.
Interact with Etti Bali @TheBalinian
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