Where is home? My view has changed from skyscrapers in Hong Kong, through the parched sands of the Arabian desert, the chaotic, intense, sensually overloaded streets of Bombay to Bangalore, the garden city of flowering trees. Beauty is everywhere.
The past week has been one of many cultural celebrations and festivals,
significant days, high days and holidays, a long weekend, family traditions, and special visits.
All crammed into 6 days!!!
These are the occasions that accentuate the complexity of expat life:
You look forward to the excitement of new and strange celebrations and festivals like Holi, but want to share it with your "closests" and "dearests" who are far away. They envy you, watching you experience the exotic in a far-away land.
Then there's a family birthday, like my mother's 83rd and my nephew's... uhm...... 21st? on 23 and 24 March. Oh it wasn't as exciting as your weekend, they say. It was just the family and close friends. We just went to the place where everybody knows your name, we just had the usual. Maybe an added lemon meringue pie. An extra steak or two. Nothing as exotic as what you had...
And then there's Easter...
and family traditions...
Ve Ge Ta Bles
but my favourite one is
Local street market and supermarket finds are very fresh, very colourful, and if truly local,
very very cheap indeed Sir!
After buying my first bunch of coriander from a street vendor, I was disappointed to find out that only half was actually coriander. The other half was carrot tops, tasteless of course, and much finer than the coriander leaves. So, the next time I needed coriander, I took my body guard, tour guide, travel companion, driver, heavy luggage-carrier, -loser and -chucker, tight bottle caps opener, champagne, wine and whiskey connoisseur, bathroom fixer, kitchen builder, deck maintainer, lavender planter, yo-yo champion, flower lover, sailing seaman, brunch buddy, best mate, cooking partner, the love of my life, and now...coriander controller, with me.
The vendor immediately knew that we meant business.
I asked for dhania.
He gave me a big bunch.
I smiled, and inspected it.
and the net will appear.
But if you hover on the edge of the cliff, waiting, anticipating, yearning, wishing, dreading, hoping,
you may never leave or change.
So here I am in Incredible India.
Mumbai, Bollywood, city of Dreams.
It was quite a jump.
I was too scared to venture into the streets at first. I was thankful for a car with a driver. And welcomed being stuck in the awful traffic. All I had to do was roll down the window and start shooting. There are too many moments to capture. One needs a lifetime in India, it seems.
I don't know if the mistake is intentional. Maybe they want to be different to Made in China.
Traffic is insane. The noise level unbearable!
I don't see as many cows as I was hoping for... but my favourite street has 2 resident goats.
There is colour everywhere, usually in stark contrast to the grey and very dirty buildings and streets.
Flowers. Holy. Sacred.
And then there's the food... and the spices... and the aromas...