Keep applying it

Soothing salves, like good advice, only aid us if we keep applying it By the time I arrived in Delhi on arrival I felt pretty chilled. Was it 7 hours at Dubai? Was it the fact I was taking the time to journey, taking it slow and steady, no rush or panic. Either way I felt grounded, not spaced out. I’d taken my own good advice. And more importantly, id applied it. And it’s left me with a feeling of being cheated all these years. Filled with fears of travelling, of being unsafe, to be on my guard for potential threats. Know that I wouldnt base jump without a parachute, but where do these concepts come from, these limitations that cease our sense of adventure. I’ve never felt scared on this tri

Traveller, Tourist or Explorer

As I sit here in departure lounge. Or is it the arrivals. Maybe there is a revolving sign. Everything is very new, clean and everyone smiling with crisp well ironed uniforms. There is a mix of nationalities with a common language. Excitement. Making history. The first flight out of Jaisalmer. Although I made the paper I didn’t make the first through check in. They got a photo and a round of applauds. And they were non Indian. Like peacocks with all their feathers fluttering, smiles and lots of happiness. There is such a relaxed and calm atmosphere here. Children’s voices echo in the dome of the hall, alongside the breeze of the ever present fan. Freshly painted pots with plants start to ador

Tribal Roots

Travelling to different countries, absorbing different ways of being, can challenge our inner landscapes. Questions loom large as we search for meaning and belonging At the Darbari Waldorf School we saw two kinds of cultures dancing together, formimg a new way of being I haven’t met Jacques yet and what I have heard of him is that he is a very kind man. He inspires the children to be kind too. Parents have told him that if the children misbehave he can punish them by hitting, which seems a standard approach. Something I witnessed myself. Sitting in the drawing class an older boy was trying to distract me and others in the class. In getting my attention he hit my forehead forcefully. I smiled

Darbari Waldorf School

In March my friend had a chance meeting with Jacques, one of the founders of the school at Ali s Fort View Restaurant. She spoke of a kind, gentle man who I wanted to meet. Our paths may cross as he returns to Jaisalmer tomorrow as I leave to return to the UK. In the meantime a visit to the school he helped to create has been foremost in my mind. We journeyed by tuk tuk outside of the city, the sparse desert looming into view. Workmen tending to the new highway, drilling and placing cats eyes, India’s roads improving for easier travel routes. We turned onto a dirt road. A small settlement on our right, the school on the left. In its our grounds, a single storey building with two teaching roo

Room 101

Room 101, introduced in the climax of the Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell, is the basement torture chamber in the Ministry of Love, in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia, with the object of breaking down their resistance Well let’s hope Ashraf at Mystic Jaisalmer hasn’t got this in mind in upgrading us from The Mystic Dervish Dorm Room to a luxury room tonight. I’m feeling the love and a coming together of a manifesto for sustainable change in so many areas of my career however, shanti shanti as the locals say, easy off as they say back home. Joking aside looking at ourselves from different aspects can affect positive change

Attracting Attention

Sometimes being the centre of attention is rewarding and can give a sense of belonging. Like being with friends who love you, you can relish each other and feel a communal acceptance of the self and the other. Other times attention can be irritating, overpowering and definately uninvited. And the latter seems to be included in the flavour of my days here in India. Luckily I have my arsenal to ward off such attacks and to recover from the onslaught. Mosquitoes and flies, they seem to love me. Insect bite spray has been amazing. Easy to carry around and apply and has supported the healing process. I’m very susceptible to bites. Back home Horse flies can flare up into an itchy, hot mass that ta

Artist Management

Many years ago I was accepted onto a course to learn artist management. I didn’t take the place, choosing to continue with my career instead of taking a sabbatical to study for the 2 year course. Now I realise how glad I am to have not taken that direction. Instead of managing artists it feels more like introducing people I love the a greater audience. Sourabh Goswami, a photographer from Jaisalmer, is one of my newest friends. His work is outstanding and he has a natural ability in capturing the essence of subjects he photographs, whatever the subject. Yesterday I spent an afternoon looking through his collection. Portraits of the faces of Jaisalmer, the quality of his images were extraordi

Sisters in Stitches

At the KB Cooperative Arts each day Gita and Rani sit and stitch, demonstrating how the beautiful textiles are created. Each day groups of visitors watching from a far, take photos and marvel at their skills. So when I was invited to meet them it was with excitement that I sat on the floor, surrounded by their work, drank Chai and witnessed close hand how the blankets are made. A small sized blanket, single bed size, takes around 10 days to make and after attempting to place a mirror on a sample piece I know now that estimate is after years of practice. I would no doubt take 10 months for my first attempt. They laughed, I cried, which made them laugh even more as they tried to cheer me up. I

Breathe of life

At breakfast this morning, a warm breeze swaying the decorative saris on the terrace, our host Ashraf, selected music as he often does. A quote a day on the white board by his side, “the Beauty you see in me is a Reflection of you” by Rumi, one of his favourites for morning contemplation. Sparrows on the wing, close at hand looking for toast crumbs. And then I heard it, as clear as hearing a friends voice, a recognition, a knowing. The sounds made with a wooden flute with the use of breath and finger positions only. Personal as the sound of our individual speech patterns. It was Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. As artists we have uniqueness to share, each with subtle differences yet coming from

Meltdown

Not so much Houston, maybe New Delhi instead, either way we have a problem. Is it the heat? The latest update forcing me to buy the most up to date cable? My way of taking photos from my SLR has failed me. Such beautiful shots will have to wait to be seen. I sense I have a years worth of memories to share when I’m home. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to ask for help from a friend to borrow a laptop. When you re in a remote place, creative ways of coping can be strategically inspiring.

Happy Diwali

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Prayers to Lakshmi are offered for prosperity. What an auspicious time to be in Jaisalmer I celebrated it with friends, watching fireworks on a roof top, sharing food and listening to traditional songs. The song in the video, other than the Happy Diwali song sung by Ali, tells of the love of another far away, coming back to renew mutual love. Such a beautiful memory. When you watch the videos remember, they are not organised displays like at home. The

Puppet Show and Palace Supper

In life we sometimes meet great people doing marvellous things. Mr Sharma is one of those. Single handled he has created a folk museum, with items, as he says, ‘other people discard, I preserve”. His career as a teacher forged his passion for protecting the rich culture of Rajesthan, supporting artists and housing his collection in a purpose built museum. In the following videos you ll witness puppets and music, showcasing this expertise. And the shaky camera? That was my friend Colette, dancing in her seat. It’s uncanny how the puppeteer using only slight hand control can capture the dancers movements. And can you see the influence of Punch and Judy? Trio Restaurant was our destination for

Travel Companions, destinations and desires

Journeys start from desires that inspire. India was calling for us to return and we had a third companion travelling with us. Colette had visiting a desert village in May, north of Jaisalmer, she travelled with a new found friend to visit a village remote in location, yet connected in community. Rich in spirit, limited in resources, she bought food and gifts for the children. A desire was rising in her heart and one her friends in the UK engaged with and were inspired to be involved with. No just those who wished us well. Everyone who helped lift, carry and place the 24 kilo suitcase, from London Heathrow, via Delhi, Jodphur, Ahmedabad and Jaisalmer. Particularly the man in Ahmedabad. After

Friends Reunited

After a very long, prolonged unexpected early arrival in Jaisalmer we found out way to Fort View Restaurant. It was time to meet Ali. A desert man, now running a restaurant in town, with one of the most beautiful views of the fort, we met with smiles, hugs and heartfelt love for friends. We met Rebecca, Ali s wife, Salem his nephew, Kamal his brother. Another home from home. We truly had arrived in Jaisalmer.

Is it me or is it hot

Over the last few months I’ve been suffering. Feeling itchy and hot, scratching and creating scars. Thankfully with my Weleda products I have not suffered so much however now in the heat of India I wonder, is it menopausal or just the heat of the location. After blood tests the Doctor thinks I am post and menopausal, and I am rejecting the topical creams given as a preventative measure without justification. There is no clear cause of my itchy symptoms yet they want to prescribe as the advice for an allopathic solution. Instead I watch my diet, keeping hydrated and support myself with herbal remedies and beautiful body oils and creams. Just now I thought, here we go again, another hot flush.

Ahmedabad to Jaisalmer Friday 13th

Ahmedabad to Jaisalmer Everything was going swimmingly, although the train was already one and a half hours late when we got to the station just outside Jodhpur. Indian train timing, shanti shanti. Working on single track rails you have to wait patiently until you see a train hurtling past, then you know it’s your turn to start moving again. We spent our time learning crochet. So many people ask me to teach them crafts and so many people present with stories of failed tuition. Teachers impatient to teach their style without that sense of coaching the pupil to find there own way. So when Colette said she wanted to learn I first started by finding our her learning style. I often feel the anxie

Earth has a fever and we are the infection

While we waited to enter the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad I saw this on a car sticker. The modern city was hectic, hot and frenetically challenging. Taking a Tuk tuk ride from our hotel I pondered on how few accidents you see. Traffic flowing like a shoal, moving as a whole, individual actions merging into a momentous throng of beeping horns. Tuk tuk drivers steer from their hips, navigating with expert skill round moving obstacles. Faith is mandatory, Prayer optional. We hadn’t booked our tickets We were due to visit the next day however due to a change in travel arrangements, today was our only day. They limit admission to 1 group of 20, a guided tour walking through room by room

The place of dreams coming true

Ahmedabad Ever since returning from India in March 2017, after meeting Shahid, I have been dreaming of creating a UK tour for Nawab and The Mantra. And accepting an invitation to Ahmedabad is a continuation of that dream. We were to visit locations for concerts across the city. Sarkhej Roza - a living monument - is a beautiful complex of buildings. At the time when Ahmedabad city was built, which was during the reign of Ahmed Shah (1410-1443 A.D.), Sarkhej was a village with a population consisting of weavers and indigo-dyers who were predominantly Hindu. It became associated with the name of Shaikh Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, a Sufi saint and a friend/advisor to Sultan Ahmed Shah, who in his l

Sacrificing Tigers and Sleeping Beauty

Jodphur to Ahmedabad While my travelling companions sleep I watch the landscape hurtle by. Sometimes stopping, waiting for the line to be clear, signals changing, yellow butterflies playing in the sunshine, elegantly rising in a swirling upward motion, my heart overflows with emotion A coming home. A coming to. A returning. Listening to Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, watching the sweltering heat of the day increasing, I feel as if I’ve been here before, with friends of old, rekindled passions for music and art, Sacred knowledge shared. As well as jokes and jibs at each other. Anticipating hooking up with travellers we met in Delhi while we re going to be in Jaisalmer next week, soon t

Travel Companion

Preparing to travel was easy as a Weleda Wellbeing Advisor, it was hand selected off the shelf from my shop. I tend to suffer in the heat so cooling Calendula Spray for any heat rashes was essential. Also used to calm any insect bites after using the Insect bite spray, another essential. Last time in Delhi I remember the pollution and feeling very unhealthy, breathing in fumes and generally feeling unwell so I packed Rhinodoron Nasal Spray. Used daily as a preventative cure and at times throughout the day as and when I needed a boast. Our Pomegranate Nail pen and Spa Ritual for a bit of glamour at RIFF 2017, dressed to the nines in ethical and sustainability sourced beauty products, for a cl

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