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Thursday, January 16, 2014

13 Beautiful India Moments

I know many of you have seen either my artwork in response to my time spent in India, snipits of my Hindi learning experience or photos from the workshops we participated in while in India. For those of you who have, this will hopefully a wonderful review and for those of you who have not seen, I hope you enjoy and check out my work regularly to see more of what I am creating in response to my time spent in India.

Laughter, Madhya Pradesh, India

I truly believe that laughter is the universal language. It transcends race, culture, religion and almost anything else that separates people. Though these ladies didn't speak any English and I didn't speak any of their languages, having my hair wrapped in a traditional style was a very special moment for me.

There were three of us in our group that had our hair/heads wrapped by a couple of women returning home from a wedding. Though, I am not sure anyone else noticed. The only three from our group that participated in this were all Christian.

I think this is significant as a simple action against the typical, or maybe I should say stereotypical, animosity that people often possess towards those who are different. And regardless of beliefs I was blessed with the opportunity to share life and laughter with this beautiful woman.

I am a huge believe in people from all backgrounds coming together to build meaningful and beautiful relationships and this moment was a symbol of that for me.

Wedding, Village near Santiniketan, West Bengal, India

Not trying to brag or anything, but I think I was the only one from our group that participated in two wedding celebrations while in India. Julia, Ajeesh, Sunil and I went to a village just outside of Santiniketan, West Bengal.

After joining our friend Ajeesh and sharing some home brewed rice beer and some stories in his neighbors village style courtyard. A bit of this strangely sour, yeast, and strong drink went a long ways...next we walked our bikes by all the rickshaw drivers having a party of some sort. This explained why all the rickshaw drivers in the middle of the night in Bishnapur had been completely drunk. It also would have been good to know before bartering with drunken rickshaw drivers...as we walked we began to hear drums in the distance.

Ajeesh stopped "hear that?!?" he asked....of course we did.

Ajeesh asked if we wanted to go to another small village for part of a wedding. Of course we did. So we rode our bikes in the dark with our headlamps. We came to know that this wedding party was at the brides home. The groom and his mother were there. We were served puffed rice and another serving of fresh brewed rice beer....after this we decided it was time to head back as we thought we had completely missed supper. 

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India

Another one of my wandering adventures. I have more of this story on YouTube

Madhya Pradesh political rally. 

I think that this was one of the two times I was uncomfortable being a woman and was incredibly glad I had convinced another from our group to join.

Train Station, Madhya Pradesh, India

Wandering the train station at night was another wonderful adventure. Mark, the Printmaking professor at the University of Wyoming and I had fun taking pictures of some old beautifully textured posters.

Train Station, Madhya Pradesh, India

We also slept in the train station for most of the night...Our train was about 4 hours late. I honestly really enjoyed this part of the trip. It was a very unique experience even though I experienced it with hundreds, probably thousands of others.

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

The lobby of the Khajuraho hotel was just about the most peaceful experience ever...especially since the bus ride prior had been so miserable. We were greeted with delicious juice. I had never tasted anything so delicious prior, nor have I since. In addition to the juice we were given jasmine and lavender scented moist face towels.

I typically not one for luxury but I had gotten used to that moment quick.

Haha comparing this hotel to our Bishmapur room...

3 people 2 towels 1 bed....ugh zero patience.

Barber Shop, Village in West Bengal, India

I had so much fun joking with these guys as I took their pictures. We were separated from our group for some reason so I was just goofing around as they posed and as our car waited.

This little shop just screams India to me.

Kitchen, Village in Madhya Pradesh, India

Another very special moment was going on a tour of this village home after a morning hike to a lookout area just above.

The tiger preserve was filled with fun, dace party to Punjabi hip hop blaring from car speakers, beedis, village flower wine, village dances, hiking, safaris and this little home.

Wedding Procession, West Bengal, India
Another Bengali wedding party. There were several different wedding marches while we were there.

Boys Playing Cricket, India
Boys playing cricket was a lot of fun to watch, however, I do wish I had understood the game before going.

Hooka, New Delhi, India

One of my sneaky solo adventures in New Delhi. This is the same adventure that I found the McDonalds.

Block Printing, New Delhi, India
Block printing was the first day in India

Devi Goddess Temple, New Delhi, Delhi, India
not sure why no one else in my group would walk through the temples but I found them fascinating from both a religious studies perspective and an art history perspective.

Pooja, West Bengal, India

This photo was taken during another one of those "Oh shoot, I really need to use the restroom moments" though you might not think so. I had asked one of our Bengali friends if there was a restroom nearby and he asked on the the people who lived in the village.

The family led me right to the...family shrine in the middle of a pooja...they invited me in so I took of my shoes and said "hello"...but only for a moment or two as I really needed to use the restroom. I thanked them and went back outside. I asked my friend again "is there a rest room, that was their shrine room" so he asked again and some how there had been translation confusion. So they led me to their restroom.

I hope you enjoyed a snipit of my India trip...What are some beautiful moments from one of your recent travels? Tell me in the comments below.

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