The final destination for our travels around Asia brought us to India. It'd been many years since I'd visited, and it was a joy to visit family and see how
the land had changed. We stayed in Surat, Gujarat, where the many markets enticed us in. It was easy to become engrossed in the hustle and bustle
of the colourful stands. Wherever I go, I'm always on the lookout for embellishment, and here it was dream with every turn!
We had the chance to see some amazing sunsets, where one of our favourites was a hazy pink and lilac blended sky at Saputara.
Stunning temples created dramatic silhouettes against the horizon. Against a sweeping skyline, the architecture incorporates burnished gold charms
found at the market stall. I imagine soft chiffon layers billowing in a zephyr with this design; the beads adding a striking element.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is just around the corner. With the auspicious celebration comes the sharing of tasty treats! Delving into the sweets, or
mithai, box for art purposes in this case is rare - especially when there's barfi to be nibbled, Filled with desiccated coconut, the shell-
shaped gugra are a favourite. The finger-folded pleats also make a pretty skirt! Yum. It almost calls for a miniature range of edible clothing.
Another notable sweet treat? Ras malai...always a good idea.
The beadtrove is without a doubt, brimming with new sparkle. Bindis as little motifs adorn this swathing dress. Beautiful fabrics have also been
added to the already overflowing fabric collection (because you can never have too much...my sister would beg to differ). I also had the chance to
visit a tailors studio and it was amazing being there in person, to watch fabric being chain-stitched with such precision. I remembered a trip to the
V&A museum in London, and reading about how 'the finest Gujarati ari (hook) embroidery was highly prized in the 17th century,'
The silky russet fabric was transformed into a design with paisley decoration. It reminds of mehndi patterns my talented aunty creates on hands at
weddings, with the statement mango or 'keri' motif. Nature always inspires, and also provided a different platter of sweets...ripe fruits ready for the
picking. We visited a market where banana bunches casually draped from the tree, as well as mangoes and oranges. Surrounded by rich yellows,
greens and citrus tones, banana pleats and mango bodices were in the making...
Sated with sugary goodness (rose and pistachio ice cream another gem), many savoury dishes had an intoxicating effect on the palate
too. The aroma of spices, including cinnamon, fennel and chilli always conjure up the comforts of home-cooked dishes. I'm looking forward to the
next trip to Asia, Stirring the senses, I may just be tempted to cook up a culinary storm in the kitchen back home. Maybe, just maybe...
Now, where is that jar full of cardamom to get the marinade going....