Thursday, February 16, 2012

Patterns of India

One of the things that has always stood out for me about India is the decorative art and architecture.
I suppose it's one of the things that draws me to it.
When I was 18, India was top on the list for places I wanted to visit.
Indian cooking was my favorite new hobby. I was fascinated by the curries and spices and wanted to learn more about Indian cooking. I then met an Indian Prince from Punjab at my rather alternative semester of commune living put on by my local community college. We spent an entire semester, 21 of us at an unoccupied summer camp one fall in Maine. Most of my "education" was spent in the kitchen learning both vegetarian and Indian cooking. 
Somehow plans to travel to India took a back burner and my next trip was my move to Alaska instead at age 19.
 Now over 35 years later I finally got my India trip.
I have traveled frequently to other parts of Southeast Asia- Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Laos and had always heard from other travelers that India was a different sort of travel, "not a vacation, an experience"
"intense" "difficult" "mindblowing" "too many people" "filthy" "beggars everywhere following you and touching you"
It was with some trepidation that we planned this trip, I wasn't exactly sure what was in store for us.
My son's girlfriend is from India so when she was planning her yearly trip back to see her folks and had invited my son to make the trip we took it upon ourselves to invite ourselves along at least for the convenience of a jumping off and landing place to bookend our trip.

What I didn't expect was that our almost 5 week trip was like visiting about 5 different countries each with a different flavor, climate and scenery. I suppose I did know on some level when you think of a country that large that it will span many environs but it was the actual traveling and the short amount of time we did it in that made an even bigger impact on my psyche.
I've told more than a few people of how exhausting it was, we didn't spend more than 4 days in any one place and as I've experienced in most of my overseas travel that I tend to go into survival mode trying to conserve my energy and not to overextend myself. Try that when you are traveling with a non-stop energy bunny that I call my husband. He can just go-go-go and it's up to me to speak up for the rest breaks.

I had to abandon the diet I had crafted for myself just to make things simpler.
No wheat wasn't an option for me when there were daily offerings of naan, rotis and chapatis.
I was quite surprised that I didn't take to Indian food as I thought I would (or it didn't take to me)
The sauces seemed too heavy and I think I just didn't know what to order a lot of the time.
It took some trial and error to find my favorites.
Most of our meals were Indian food at restaurants for travelers and I tired of the menus.
The seafood and rice-based dishes in the south were my favorites and there was more fresh produce gracing our meals. We took the chance with salads.
My all time favorite food was dosas, a rice and dal based thin pancake with a bit of filling.
Paper dosas were enourmous bigger than your plate sized thin crepe like pancakes that had some nicely seasoned potatoes filling them. That's my kind of breakfast!

Pink Palace, Jaipur

I wonder what this says

Carving and paint job on a delivery truck

 India was such a wealth of imagery and experience that I'm hoping to distill it here to share with you some of the thoughts, images and feelings that I acquired on our trip.
Feel free to ask me any questions You may have. 
I'm only halfway through editing my photos from the trip so far.

I will share with you the biggest tragedy of the trip right now.
What, as a blogger would be one of the worst things that could befall you barring accidents and health concerns? 
Losing all your photos, right?
Well that's exactly what happened to my husband "Mr Paparazzi" himself on the last days of our trip.
He apparently left his camera with the memory chip from the entire trip in a taxi in Mumbai.
We were so incredibly careful the whole trip and it seems our guard was down when we took our last taxi ride to our friends house in Mumbai. He probably had twice as many as I did on that memory chip and there were quite a few that I counted on him having on his camera that I wanted to share.
At least my photos survived and so did we.


  1. oh just reading this makes me feel as if I was on a journey with you.
    The rushing and bustling comes out in your post so well.
    I have seen the documentaries and the show deadliest roads in India. So I can only imagine how hard it was to move from one spot to another.
    It looks exhausting for sure.
    Life seems to move fast but in a slow paced way, does that make sense.
    oh well, I am glad you are safe and that you only lost a camera.

    1. It's all kind of an amazing flow, like a river of life there.

  2. My son loves Indian food and is a fabulous cook. We too are learning what regions we like better than others.
    He also makes his own Appam that are so good. It is a savory rice bread that has no wheat so you might like it.

    Sorry to hear about the camera. I know how upsetting that can be. But at lest you have yours.
    In the fire I lost all the photos and movies of the children the oldest was in High School so that was a lot of photos !

    I am so enjoying your trip !

    cheers, parsnip

  3. Wow! So much to see and do. A fabulous life experience for you and your energy bunny! Sad to hear about the camera.
    I've never been to India but a friend of mine is from Northern India. He has the most beautiful collection of Indian patterns decorating their Canadian house.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wonderful patterns on the buildings, colors too. It did seem like a whirlwind of experience, no wonder you are taking your time to process. xox Corrine

  5. ouch! about the camera, but i'm really enjoying your visions and the read, travel is such a good inspiration

  6. Thanks for sharing a bit about your background interest in India, Kim. I really like the delivery truck color snippet. Makes me want to paint! xxoo, sus

  7. SO jealous here.
    the textures, the colors...
    and i bet the sounds and the
    smells were astonishing too.

    also SO sorry about the camera.
    THE photographers nightmare.
    SERIOUS bummer. Before digi I used to
    lose a roll on every trip -
    either lost or misaligned and
    on my first day in Morocco
    my camera did freeze but fortunately
    i had a backup.

    1. The weird thing is that he lost his memory chip from most of our Moroccan trip a couple of years ago. We got delayed in Dallas and had to spend the night at a hotel and we went walking around and he lost just the camera case that had a full memory chip in it...just bad luck!

  8. I too love all the colour and patterns of India. The women's saris are so colourful. Maybe all of the colour helps disguise some of the poverty.

  9. I am so enjoying reading about your trip to India! I have always dreamed of going there myself and my husband would like to as well...but I seem to have so many fears....about the food (I am a vege), about the horrific living conditions, and would I have the energy to visit such a place...
    So sorry about the loss of your husband's camera....

    1. Cynthia, It is a whole nation of vege's. Every menu gives you the choice of veg or non- veg, even on the airplane going there. That's one thing you definitely have going for you. It does take a lot of energy unless you narrow it down to a couple of key places to visit...which we didn't. We spanned a large area and it was exhausting too.

  10. I wonder whether tourists from small countries feel that same overwhelming feeling when they do a whirlwind tour of our country. Ours is so very many cultures, climates, architectures, traditions in one country, too. New England Scenery and food at an Inn like the Yankee Tavern. Then down to New York City or, better yet, to Washington, DC. The architecture of the flats up near the zoo. The deep south. The Midwest.

    And you toured an enormous country full of mini-nations in five weeks. I can see why you were exhausted. Terrible about the memory card. We are lucky, though, to get your pictures and your thoughts about the trip.

    You two will never lose the imprint of such a wondrous experience, though. No one can take that from him OR you.

  11. The sign says sri ram, jai ram, jai jai ram. basically praising god


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