Happy Diwali!

IMG_D Nawalgarh (225)Our Drawn to India troup has moved onto Nawalgarh in Rajasthan, about eight or so hours south west of Delhi.  Everywhere I look the juxtapostions of India are apparent. The roads are complete chaos wherever you go – city or country – and the death-defying acts we witnessed on the bus ride to Nawalgarh were too many to name. And yet, surprisingly, there are very few accidents so our guides tell us. You see children along the road who are barefoot and dusty but I have not yet seen a one crying. More often than not they wave and smile at our passing bus.  There’s a lot of trash and other substances in the streets but then you’ll see a woman in an impossibly pink sari sweeping the dirt outside her front door.Continue Reading

Sunrise over Delhi

IMG_B Delhi (59)Sunrise on Friday 1 November from the rooftop of our best exotic Jyoti Mahal in Delhi. Today is the first day of the Diwali Festival and the first day of our Drawn to India art tour.

One of our guides, Mr Tripati, said the smog is so much better now that tuk tuks and buses are run on natural gas.  It’s still pretty smoggy though – tough on the respiratory system but makes for fab sunrises and sunsets.Continue Reading

All About India

In preparation for our art tour of Rajasthan I’ve been reading, watching and listening to some great stuff including:

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple – This is variously described as a travel book but even though I’ve only just started reading, it seems to be so much more than that.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – An all star cast and beautifully shot on location, this film all at once seems to capture the paradoxical essence of what I’ve been told about India – the wonder, colour and sheer aliveness of the place matched in equal measure by chaos, noise, poverty and dirt.  This is ultimately a story of redemption, facing ones fears and how love for people and places often develops and grows stronger because of their imperfections not in spite of them.

Dakshina by Deva Premal – Ancient Sanskrit mantras set to truly divine music. Mesmerising and resonant.

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster – I listened to this as an Audible book and although it’s not set in Rajasthan where we are going on our art tour, it gives  highly descriptive, razor sharp insights into the cultural differences and opposing perspectives of the British in India and the locals. Absorbing and instructive.

Inexorably Drawn to India – Post 1

Drawn to India - RajasthanBack in January of this year my sister Janet and I made a snap decision to do an art tour of Rajasthan, India.  Called Drawn to India, led by visual artist Catherine Parker in conjunction with Lakshmi Tours, it sounded like just the tonic for anyone going through a career, creative or life-in-general transition. (And let’s face it, there seem to be few people who aren’t transitioning through something right now.)Continue Reading