Day 319. Random Acts

I write about my trip to India a lot.  I was there for a month at the end of 2008.  And it was an extraordinary experience.  Despite everything going on in that country these kindnessdays, I loved every minute of my trip.  Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt “Moment of Kindness”, took me right back there, to one of our many road trips.

“Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.”

This family came immediately to my mind.  But before I get into the story, there are a few things I have to explain.

Getting from “A” to “B” in India is never easy.  If you fly, expect lots of delays.  And crowds of people like you’ve never seen.  And don’t expect your choice of restaurants, bookstores, boutiques, and spas where you can while away a few hours.  There’s nothing to do, and there’s nowhere to go in India’s airports.  Count yourself lucky if you find somewhere to sit, while you wait.

So we didn’t fly very often.  Just a few times, when there was no other choice.

Train travel is something else again.  We took the train from Delhi to Agra.  Not because we had to.  Because we wanted the experience.  OMG!!  OMG!!  I don’t even know how to describe it to you.  Old, bare, dirty, stations.  Archaic, really. People Continue reading

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Day 278. Visual Cacophony

Back in March I was inspired by a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.  And by that, I decided to try to describe, in words, what the photographers among us were patternbeing asked to describe in pictures.  I really had fun with it.

This is another one of those days.  Yesterday’s Weekly Photo Challenge was about ‘pattern’.  I immediately thought of India.  The photo to the right is one I took when I was there, from the end of December 2008 until the end of January 2009.

Among many, many other things, India is all about an explosion of your senses.  All at the same time.  It can be overwhelming at first.  The noise, the smells, the tastes and all the colour.  All in the extreme.  All done to excess.

But it’s absolutely fabulous!  Spectacular!  Like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.  Or likely ever will.  I was

Continue reading

Day 128. Are You?

Writing about perfume the other day has made me think of romance.  It’s not completely out of left field.  Fragrance, of all kinds, is an important part of romance.  veniceromanceYet there’s so much more.  And for everyone, it’s different.  Before we get into it, though, you’ve got to answer my question:

Are you romantic?

Which, by the way, is not just a question for my female readers.  I know a lot of men who are romantic.  Some, even more romantic than women.  So, are you?  And what’s your idea of romance?

Hang on for just one minute.  First let’s see what Wikipedia says:  “Romance or romantic usually refers to romance (love), love emphasizing emotion over libido.”  I agree with that.  Romance and sex are two very Continue reading

Day 96. Pink City

Jaipur, the capital and largest city in Rajasthan is, without a doubt, one of the places I enjoyed the most, when I visited India.  Rajasthan, in case you’re interested, is located in the northwest; and it’s the largest state in the Republic of India.  Because it was painted pink to welcome Edward, Prince of Wales in 1876, Jaipur is also known as the Pink City.

And having been there, I’m not surprised that Jaipur is a very popular tourist destination.

Our stop there came at the beginning of a month-long trip.  We started in Delhi and went on to Agra where, among other things, we visited the Taj Mahal.  New Years Eve was spent in Samode, a small village not far from Jaipur.  We stayed in a heritage palace hotel, as we did throughout Rajasthan, and the News Years celebration they organized was nothing short of magical.

That deserves a blog post of its own.  But just to give you a taste of what we experienced, we dined, exquisitely, in a huge tent, with walls of silk panels, open at the top so we could enjoy both the starlit sky and midnight fireworks extravaganza; and  then partied with two brothers, Princes, whose family Continue reading

Day 17. Good Intentions

In a previous post I wrote about how much I loved India.  That trip has left an indelible impression on me for many, many reasons.  First, the extremes:

The vastness of the country and the staggering number of people who live there.  The over-the-top opulence and the abject poverty.   The sight of some people driving BMWs, while others are riding camels, on the same street.  Sophisticated cities like Mumbai, with its glass and steel towers, compared to the backward villages in Rajasthan, where the tools and implements residents use every day look like they’ve come from an archaeological dig.

The overwhelming noise — an absolute cacophony of different sounds.  Horns, voices, vendors hawking their wares, music, traffic, screaming, laughing, dogs barking.  The mind blowing colour, everywhere you turn.  Prints, stripes, checks, plaids in combinations you cannot believe.  Bolts of fabric, saris, flowers, painted buildings, displays of every kind, stacked floor to ceiling.  The smell of curry, mingling with the scent of flowers, mingling with the odour of cooking food, mingling with the stench of dung.

What most impressed me, though, what I will never forget, are the people.  Whether they are wealthy or live in tents on the street, they are kind, generous, compassionate, sincere, warm, grateful, welcoming, inquisitive, understanding, wise, calm, well intentioned and very, very spiritual.

I was there for a month.  We spent part of an afternoon (completely by chance) and then had drinks with two brothers, princes, whose family not only owned the heritage palace hotel where we were staying, but most of the town.  They made us feel as if we were old family friends, they were so pleased to see.  The wealthy owners of a company that manufactures carpets and pashminas and clothing for export all over the world, and who also have a store where we shopped, invited us to their family home for dinner.  There must have been twenty-five or thirty members of their family there — the Continue reading