THE DESI BAGUETTE IN CONVERSATION WITH THE FASHION SAVVY FOODIE MAHAM
‘Mujhe bachpan say he shadi karne ka bohut craze hai by God was spot on for me; till I found myself questioning what happens when the credits roll and the lights come back on’
If there were ever a person who would be the physical manifestation of the words: Vibrant, vivacious and fun it would be ‘The Desi Baguette’, Maham. If we’re being honest – and we are – this has been a captivating and enormously fun interview to host, to say the least. Chatting with the bubbly Baguette H! Pakistan discusses everything under the sun with the young fashionista…..
Let’s begin with an introduction, shall we? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! (Beaming) My name is Maham, and I’m known by the blogger name I’ve give myself as ‘Desi Baguette’. I am a pure Lahori through and through which I realized once I stepped out of the bubble that Lahore is four years ago after marriage. I come from a big, fat and loud Punjabi family whose table mehfils after the dinner are endless and we are gifted with double chins; courtesy of our genetics. I am extremely fond of laughing, feeling too many feelings, imagining impossible scenarios in my head and not to mention – having those moments where you just freeze in the face of pictures. Currently in life Instagram serves as the purpose for all.
How did you come up with the name Desi Baguette and is there a story behind it?
When a true Lahori girl - whose parathas have been replaced with baguettes - still dips the paratha replacement (As if!) in the shorba of aloo gosht that is what ‘Desi Baguette’ means to me. There is no specific story behind it, just that this page was born out of intense nostalgia; sometimes marital bliss and the continued woes of an expat life. All mixed together into a bubbling cauldron of filmy moments to the everlasting Bollywood background music to the everyday experiences in my life - First around the Eiffel Tower; where I shifted after my marriage, and now somewhere near Harrods, London where I was on a constant look out for Karan Johar pre-covid days.
On your Instagram posts you usually say that you’ve always wanted to be married Has marriage lived up to your expectations of it? What has the journey been like for you so far?
(Laughs) That’s so true! Mujhe bachpan say he shadi karne ka bohut craze hai by God (Geet’s line from Jab We Met) was spot on for me; till I found myself questioning what happens when the credits roll and the lights come back on. The concept of marriage is different than any other relationship. It may not be beautiful all the time, but it sure is amazing. Because that same unlovable person is the only person, you’d want to come home to when the whole world seems to be conspiring against you. The umbrella to your rain and only shoulder to cry on ; a n d sometimes, the only shoulder to beat up too. The one who sees you grow and accepts every stage of life you are in. The ‘this is so hard’ and ‘you do not understand me’ feelings curl up into ‘the only person I would do this for’ in a split second and you truly begin thinking that you suffer from a split personality disorder for sure! Because, really, in the end, he’s your best friend! To cut it short, it has surely been a journey and I count my lucky stars every day.
‘2020 introduced me to a whole new level of anxiety I didn’t know I was capable of’
You’ve lived first in Paris and now in London - How has each one influenced you in-terms of fashion?
Before shifting to Paris, I used to be the one who always wanted to be in sync with the fashion trends. But the French grew on me and I started seeing a change in my style. I eventually learnt what these women get right, it’s not about resigning to seasonal t r e n d s , i t ’s a b o u t b e i n g comfortable in your own style.
I try to keep my look as subtle yet effective as possible, with just one detail enhanced - whether that’s donning a traditional shawl over a black polo-neck or a onetoned saree. Having shifted to London, I can clearly feel that the Parisian women left a deep impact and I’m clearly drawn to neutral tones.
I’m a dedicated follower of your page and I completely love how you dress for yourself. Do you think that your style has changed drastically over the years? If so, why do you think that is?
Of course, growing a few sizes bigger makes you experiment and you lean more towards leaner silhouettes’, a term I was unaware of before. Fabric is also something that heavily plays a part, I have come to understand. A simple example, now, for someone like me, I would prefer going for an organza saree instead of a chiffon. Simply because the former envelops you, gives a royal touch and stands out more instead of a chiffon highlighting all those curves which I don’t want revealed. Fashion tip: Don’t let the outfit take over you, instead use it skillfully to let your personality shine through.
We’ve all had a crazy, crazy time this past year with the Covid and Lockdowns. How has it affected your life and how have you been coping? Have you ever struggled with your mental health? How did you help yourself?
If you’d have asked me this question last year; I would have said, I struggle with tidal waves of depressive feelings from time to time. I was always prone to getting saddened easily. However, 2020 introduced me to a whole new level of anxiety I didn’t know I was capable of. I have constantly been worried about the health of my husband. Of my parents. Of my grandparents. If I’ll ever be able to go back home in time, in case anything happens. I, however, tried to overcome that anxiety by pushing myself every day, distracting myself. Amidst the dalgona coffees’, adjusting to the new normal of work from home, fighting over bread, p a n i c k i n g o v e r e g g s s h o r t a g e s ; rediscovering my love for painting, makeup tutorials and discovering fail Tiktok dance routines; to support bubbles to family; it all passed. Somewhere between battling with all this in a pandemic, the year went through but it has surely left a lingering impact.
‘Fashion tip: Don’t let the outfit take over you, instead use it skillfully to let your personality shine through’
Your feed is always exuberant and lively – Has there ever been anything you were criticized for and have since learnt to embrace?
I have learnt to embrace the fact that all types of comments will come in and they won’t always be what you want to hear. Like the aunties we meet on shadis who have no verbal filters - just multiply that into 45k (No fear of God especially the keyboard warriors). And that is perfectly okay. Everyone has their own perspective and circumstances and we all are a product of these, right? Just the fact that I get so much love over anything and everything I do, it totally overshadows the 1 out of 200 shaming that occasionally comes my way.
When you create content do you have any particular target audience in mind or you just do your own thing?
B e l i e v e i t o r n o t , w h e n I ’ m conceptualizing content, the only audience I take in mind is me. Do I find this funny? Will I find it offensive if someone says this to me? Am I giving the right message? And trust me, I have all my answers then (very easy to please I know).
There are plenty of girls out there who never wear what they want for fear of being body shamed or maybe because they’re uncomfortable in their own skin. What advice would you offer them?
Own it girl, because if you won’t love yourself then who will? Choose ‘you’ daily because who else will!? Love yourself so much that you instantly know when someone treats you wrong, and the lesser nonsense you will tolerate of the world planning to crush you down every second. And yes, it starts from your wardrobe.
Any current trends that you absolutely hate?
The three - piece lawn suits that have no coherently thought out color palettes! They make you look nothing short of cake pastry; and, defeats the purpose of letting you breathe with the number of laces and organza ki pattis involved! Where my breezy khula kurta’s at?
What has been your favorite collaboration (That you have been a part of) so far and why?
Generally, I am fond of all the content that I produce; mostly because, main apni favourite hoon - and most of the brands I have worked with have given me the utmost creative freedom to do what I love. However, my favourite will always be the Shan Masala Ad that I did for their Ginger Garlic Paste. It was one of my first collaborations, still in the early days, where I was unaware of fancy editing and all the shashkas that come with it. It was so n a t u r a l – t h e c o n c e p t w a s implemented in my night suit (Literally) and the message was relayed so perfectly. And that was the moment I realized; I truly have a supportive clan who reacted exactly how I would react to such content – with positivity. It was quite well received. It provided me with such a confidence boost and even more comfort in me being just me!
‘I have learnt to embrace the fact that all types of comments will come in and they won’t always be what you want to hear. Like the aunties we meet on shadis who have no verbal filters - just multiply that into 45k’
What are your plans for the future?
To be honest, thinking about the future seeing the current times we’re living in, gives me straight up anxiety. Just that we were able to survive in this pandemic feels like a huge achievement. I just want to relish in this feeling right now and that all my loved ones are safe and sound and with me, close. However, internally, I would wish and plan to be more balanced as a person; in my emotions, in my lifestyle, and a better human being closer to God, in the near future and actively working towards these goals by taking in each day with a stride that the next would be much stable! So for now, calendar laid out till Friday will just do!
INTERVIEW: HOOR TORU
PHOTOS: COURTESY MAHAM (DESI