Posts from the “Travel” Category

T for Taj

Posted on March 12, 2013

…and the Taj A love story, a tomb a marvelously carved marble jewelry box of art. It most certainly could be “a teardrop in the cheek of eternity” as the great poet called it.  It is most definitely what everybody says it is.  It is also a story of a broken family and if the myth is true, if the builders’, masons’ and artist’s hands were cut off in order to prevent the Taj’s reproduction in any way– then, it is also a story of deep- seated pain and incredible sacrifice. We woke up early in the morning to cross the sandstone wall that divides a dusty and hectic Agra into the world of the Taj. We had a tiny cup of chai that we bought on the…

Dorothy

Posted on March 9, 2013

Sometimes in India you feel the “Dorothy, fasten your seatbelt ’cause Kansas is going bye bye.” Other times it is the mouth wide open in overwhelming awe to the magnificence and uniqueness around you. It is sort of like you are on a big wheel, you may feel underwater as much as on top of the world. Or at least that’s how I felt last week. My sister and Horacio came to India and we were Jumanji -swallowed as if trying to catch up with the two decades my sister-in-law said she had waited to come here. Walking on a moving train, stepping onto magnificent white marble, sipping from the same water bottle, getting a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, grinning as we…

Tradition

Posted on February 22, 2013

I have a list folded really small in the back of my mind closet, hidden away; there I write down the things that make me afraid. Wearing a sari was on that list. The idea of being wrapped in yards of cloth made me immediately claustrophobic. Yet the fact that millions of women wear it is marvelous and a triumph– I came with this hyperbolic answer after I wore one myself this week. A lovely antique Daccai Jamdani sari, which is traditional of West Bengal and which I also borrowed from my friend. My waking faintly hinted to The March of the Penguins and going to the Loo was like a performance of modern dance, but I made it. A late-twenties Prom. I rocked it! If I may say so myself.

The wearing of the sari is almost like a religion, with its rules and regulations yet as all religions, it has a fair amount of leeway that makes it that much more complicated if you are a newbie. What color to wear for what occasion and what material, and way of draping it over you, so many details that for generations have made Indian women look like they are always on Fashion Week, and that goes for all women, rich or poor; in fact I have found the pretties color combinations on women who are definitely not rich and who perhaps are a bit more free in their color choices end up in the cover of my VOGUE magazine. I should be the Calcutta Sari Paparazzi.

So a friend invited me to her friend’s mehndi (henna skin decoration) party as it is traditional before a wedding, which by the way, I was also invited to– because in India the hospitality it is such that you don’t have to know people more like 5 minutes before they invite you to be part of their most important ceremony. Yes, we need to learn a lot from the East.

 

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Sister Notes

Posted on November 27, 2012

My sister said: “I am coming to India” She would bring cheese and chocolate coins in her suitcase Our big plans: talk Bollywood in Mumbai swim in Goa have Thanksgiving in Calcutta and eat obscene amounts of nan bread And never forget any of this. Ever. My sister’s happy-go-lucky approach to a lot of things- like waking up at 5AM to visit a fish market (so fishy we had to wash off fish scales of our arms and legs), or wearing Converse with multicolor shoelaces, or attempting to film Mumford and Sons’ ‘The Cave’ videoclip while riding scooters- the very thought of her makes my eyes droopy and my face warm and round(er) I love her, oh so much FIN

Ambassador

Posted on October 18, 2012

We live near an area of town that has a street market. Really? And 90% of Calcuttans say the same thing of their neighborhoods, who knew! As people get ready for the October festivities there are times when being on the streets is a mixture between being in a bootcamp and a permanent street fair. It is tradition to buy gifts and a new outfit for the holidays so people are like little ants going in and out of stores, bargaining their little hearts out, and eating lots and lots of street food and there is a great deal of honking (but here that is endemic and incurable) and buzz and movement of every kind. Most people actually look happy, while I look like I’ve…

Thai soup

Posted on September 26, 2012

In Bangkok it is no biggie to have have six malls in a 2 mile radius out of which at least two have twin Cartier and Louis Vuitton stores- enough to put me in a permanent state of shock and awe, or awe and shock… I still can’t quite process it. Is it really only two hour flight away from Calutta? But that was not the reason for this trip exactly, or any trip in our lifetime for that matter. Oh but we did walk the malls, oh yes, and I did buy me a sweet pair of… CROCS, eeeeww. Well, fyi Crocs have ‘up’ their crocstyle to something that could actually resemble a shoe. The monsoon in Calcutta yells the word Crocs so bad I could not…