I don’t think you fully know color until you go to India. On a recent sojourn, I rediscovered the impact of the bold colors that wash over everyday life there. From the goldenrod, emerald, vermilion, and cobalt array of sari fabrics with their intricate metallic embroidery, to the mounds of ripened fruits and vegetables in the markets, to the stark contrast of the desert sand and azure sky, the saturation of color is intoxicating.
Submersing in the local culture is, to me, the greatest benefit of travel. When I am in another country, I want to wear their clothes (maybe it’s my connection to the fashion world, but when I go to Salzburg, I buy a dirndl), see their art, listen to their music and shop where the locals shop, and of course eat their food. I will try just about any food, except eel (bad memories from watching “The Tin Drum” years ago). I have been fortunate to travel all over the world and taste many strange foods along the way. Ironically, the only place I’ve ever gotten food poisoning is in Aspen.
India is one of the most exotic countries, and diving into its rich culture is like soul food for the artist and designer in me. When you love something, be it a piece of art or music, a delicious treat, or a place, you want to share it with those you love. Such is the case with India. This trip was dreamed up to show Simon and my dear friends Katherine and Annette.
Traveling to India with companions who had never been was a special treat and a big responsibility. It was up to me to take the lead and show them some favorite discoveries I’d made on four previous trips to the country of color. Hiring a good guide proved indispensable when it came time to plan outings throughout the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. A jaunt to Jaipur, the Pink City, for jewelry shopping, a colonial cocktail hour and camel ride on the lunar landscape near the Pakistan border, and a day at the Taj Mahal were among the highlights.
Simon was out-numbered by three women who love to shop and he was the best of sports as we scoured the markets for sari fabrics, exotic foods, and other Indian treasures. On this particular trip, I fell in love with many gorgeous, handmade Indian papers that are seen throughout my gift wrap collections.
Being a gardener and flower lover, I missed the boats full of flowers and the floating gardens that I had experienced on earlier trips to Kashmir, which was not open to Western tourists at the time of this trip. But our days were full of staggering beauty and history and we all returned home refreshed and full of wonder and new inspiration.