Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Masala Chai

I woke up too early this morning. Maybe still it was middle of the night, I don't know. Somehow I just couldn't sleep so came downstairs and made myself some masala chai, which I brought back from India.

Some quiet time was spend in my studio; looking back in my travel journal...

...and thinking about India: the rest of them still in bed.

The Tibetan monastery was so beautiful. The entrance with the prayer flags on top.

Watching the monks practising their daily meditation amongst the beautiful surrounding (Himachal Pradesh - Manali), flowers, almost everything was so relaxing and calm. Really peaceful place to be.

Beautifully painted and decorated gates, wall everywhere.

Inside the Buddhist temple. So calm, was good to just sit there for a while and do nothing.

The stories painted on the walls.

 And the bell.

It was monsoon when we were in India and up in the Himalayas, we got a combination of sunshine and rain. Felt pretty much like here. Though Delhi was still quite hot and humid.

I was so inspired by the whole trip from Delhi to Manali that for the first time I actually sat down to fill some pages of my journal. In past, every time I have been to India, I am just too busy chatting and going around. I think I must try and do at least one page if not more every time I visit India.

On this page, I felt like adding this beautiful paper, so I used some duct tape and extended my journal page.

The extended page on the left.

The map of India was the newspaper cutting showing the weather forecast.

Summer holidays are almost over. Can't stop thinking about India, especially on rainy days like today.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tales from the Hills - Spinning and Weaving


Waking up in the morning to a view like this, wish this was everyday of my life.

Watching the clouds over the hills, it was all so beautiful during our stay at the 'Zahir Resort' (sister's resort in Himachal Pradesh, India)

 Olivia loved walking around in the forests close to the resort...

...and Little Emily couldn't stop feeding the baby Angora rabbit.

I sat here watching the clouds move and filling some of my travel journal pages. Watched the birds and Emily play with the bunny and the dogs. It was nice to spend quality time with my sister.

We went tracking up and down  the hills, walked in the villages.

Wonder what this chap thought as he watched us climbing up.

First time we went to Kullu-Manali was with our parents and I was about 10 - 11 years old. Since then this was my first trip back there. Was surprised to see how much it has developed but some things were still the same.  Many people still live in these old wooden houses with slate tile roofs.

I went with my sister one day to watch some local craft work. I was particularly interested in hand spinning and weaving done pretty much in every second house there.

And it was so interesting to see how people still live and work the same way as hundreds of years ago.

 This lady was making rope for carrying willow basket which they have on their backs and carry almost everything.

I sat down to see how it was done. It was quite interesting to talk to the local people. They are so humble and friendly people.

(Sister- Reema Jain)

I think I need to move there with my sister, haha. I am very grateful to her for showing me all around, taking me to the most remote areas, seeing local craft work, temples and letting us all stay in her beautiful resort for free.

Look at the wood work of some of  the old houses.

I was a bit nervous to climb up in this house though, but it was good to chat with the lady sitting above on the corner, who showed me how they made rope for their baskets.

This is an 80 years plus old grandmother, of one of the boys who works in my sisters resort.

She made hand spinning look so easy.

I had a go at it too. Actually a few times, but I think I need some serious practice if I want to spin my own.

The most simple hand weaving equipment. Every second house in the villages has this set up in one corner of their veranda. They spin their own yarn and dye them and then are woven into beautiful Pattu (woollen shawl) which they wrap around and pin them to keep themselves warm. You can read more about them in my post here.

I need to go back there once children are big enough and stay longer to learn spinning and weaving. But for now I think I need to concentrate on my paintings. Can't believe next month I have two exhibitions and I have still a lot to do.

But, I needed this break. Had to see my family and enjoy the beautiful Himalayan holiday. I am so inspired and ready to spend my hours in my studio now.

The family holiday is over now. We are back to our normal life but still the girls are home, so I'm a  bit restricted to how much I can push myself to be in the studio. So I have decided to just enjoy the rest of their holiday. The girls are growing fast and I need to be with them as much as I can now.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Tales from the Hills

A few years ago, two young Indian Air Force Fighter pilots on duty lost their life's.

One of them was my 32 year old Brother in law. Late Ritin Jain, who led his life fearlessly and who is and will always be remembered for his bravery, and will remain in our hearts forever.

My sister at a very young age faced hardships, but very bravely left  the Indian Air force life and stepped out in the civil life. It was tough, but she was determined and so rather than shutting herself inside the sadness of her life, pulled herself together and took a brave step of settling up in the Himalayas.
(Sister - Reema Jain)
She travelled first on her own and later led self driven expeditions.

My sister was always fond of driving and never feared anything in life. Her courage and strong will power has made her what she is today. And she has definitely followed my father's footsteps, as he is well travelled and a very experienced driver. He ran his heritage hotel and travel agency and now my sister is doing the same.

                                                              (Our Father)

Two years after leading expeditions  'Zahir Resort'  was open, 'Where Adventure meets Comfort.'

This is part of her resort and for the last couple of weeks, we spent our holiday with my parents at her place.                                                                   

The high cealing and the interior was so beautiful.

Comfort in such a atmospheric settings is what I call HOLIDAY!

It was lovely to spend time with my family and feel so proud to see my sister achieving all this after such a shocking and tragic fall in her life. I am so proud to be her sister.

                                                          (My sister with little Emily)

And this is Abi Safa who is the partner and companion of Reema Jain. A wonderful singer with melodious voice, and an excellent photographer and lovely human being. As well as all this, he cooks mouth melting Afghani cuisine.

The resort is located in a most beautiful area. The surroundings and view are breath taking. All around you can see the Himalayan mountains. To spend our summer holidays here together with family was just a bonus and so inspirational for me.

This is another house, also part of the resort but a bit more remote. Its not far from the main resort, but is located in more rural settings and it's a really old, wooden house.

I could just live here the rest of my life. Haha...

Tibetan prayer flags are everywhere in Kullu Manali, and lot of Monasteries and Tibitans live in Himachal Pradesh.

Pomogranate flowers

Lots of pomegranates, apples, pears and plums were enjoyed during this trip.

This was a page in my travel journal, which I started working on in Delhi at my parents house. But we stayed there only three days and so I didn't manage to really do much then. Guess I was chatting all the time.

But I did manage to complete that and a few more pages of my journal, whilst sipping chai and enjoying the beautiful Himalayas.