THE swirly pattern sprawled across the pastel peach tee, flanked by coconuts and clouds, gives off a decidedly tropical vibe. But a closer look and Pondicherry’s many tropes emerge from the elaborate design — from surfboards and structured totes, even historic sites like the Old Lighthouse and the Gandhi Thidal, find a place.
Graphic tees that let you wear Pondicherry on your sleeve are new souvenir brand Urban Sparrow’s most distinctive offering. Founded by advertising professionals, S Asokan and S Sendhil, the brand builds on their shared affinity for Pondicherry. “We want to showcase Pondicherry’s heritage value and its peaceful, harmonious vibe,” says Sendhil, a seventh generation Pondicherry resident. “Where else on a street can you hear thankyou, nandri and merci?” he asks.
While Pondicherry is the theme of only three of the 18 designs, one can also find tees with funny phrases like ‘Good karma gives me roti and kurma’. “Our USP is aesthetic design and most of it is hand-drawn,” says Asokan, crediting comic book illustrator Gaman Palem as a chief contributor.
Urban Sparrow is a translation of oorkuruvi which denotes a town gossip in Tamil. But the brand takes its name seriously and plans to sponsor community campaigns to save the city’s dwindling sparrow population. Religious symbols, interactive kids’ stories and Tamil literary works will all feature in the upcoming line.
In basic colours and all sizes from Rs 499 at Casablanca. Shipping services available on urbansparrow.in from May. Details: 0413 4201118
— Olympia Shilpa Gerald