Saturday, December 29, 2007

Farewell to Jaipur

This will probably be my last post from India. I am heading home. I am very sad. I will really miss everyone and everything.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left comments. I'm glad you have enjoyed my posts. I'm sorry I haven't replied to them, but time and internet speed have been sorely lacking.

I've mentioned it a few times, but I have spent most of my time at a slum school. Apart from english, hindi and maths lessons for the children the school also provides lots of arts and crafts activities and skill development for adult women. This includes lac work, crocheting and sewing. I've loved being part of this.

This is one the children's favourite activities - colouring in flowers. I draw the flowers and they colour. This is slowly changing as I have been trying to build confidence in their own drawing abilities. Indeed, some of the children are very talented.

This is lac work. Lac is a resin that is widely used to make bangles, jewellery boxes and all kinds of things. First plain lac is coated in the desired colour, which is what is happening here. Then the lac is heated over the coals, cut and moulded.

Little pieces of glass and beads are then heated and pushed into the lac as decoration.

These are some of the final products, a mirror and candle/incense holders.

Sewing includes both tailoring and sequin and embroidery work. The women make beautiful scarves, bags and saris. Rajastani women seem to live for sequins, beads, bells and bangles.

So there you have it, a little bit of my world for the past few months. I'll be back to regular food blogging very shortly. In the meantime HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Amber Fort in black and white

Sunday, December 16, 2007


If I were asked to describe India, I would say that it is a land of contradictions. From extreme wealth to extreme poverty. From the best to the worst of human nature.

I claim no great insight or understanding of India or it's people. I can only say what I think, which is naturally coloured by my own life experience.

On the one hand, I have been received the most amazing kindness and hospitality from almost complete strangers. Random people off the street and rickshaw drivers have gone out of their way to protect me and look out for me.

On the other hand, some of the issues I have come across here have included women who have been beaten, poisoned and abused by their husbands because they have failed to produce a son or they are simply no longer wanted, both men and women who are being forced into arranged marriages by their families, families arranging child marriages at ages 2-3 and bonded child labourers.

The hardest thing I find to deal with is the issue of tradition.

If a particular thing has always been done, does that make it right? By what standard do you judge these things?

If a person accepts and believes in a certain form of treatment or behaviour, does that make it okay? What if it is simply conditioning ie. what he/she has been told constantly by her parents and community all their life?

What has lifted my heart has been the Indian people I have met who have dedicated their lives to helping people and bringing about a change for the better. And I mean BETTER, rather than trying to impose a western ideal.

The other joy has been that, while I have met with extreme poverty, I have yet to encounter hopelessness. People seem to believe that they have future, whatever their current circumstances.

Anyway, I just felt the need to unburden some of this stuff. As I said, I make no great claim to insight or understanding. I have no answers. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jaipur in pictures

Sorry, so, so busy. Here are some pictures from Jaipur. I hope to write more later.

From the Royal Cenotaphs.

Badjil, the dog who lives at the slum school I visit.

Along the road to Abahneri, a village outside of Jaipur.

In the City Palace.

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