India is fire. Today was magic, it seems every day is magic in its own right. The ever-present Krishna flute, sing-song spoken language and deep hum of rickshaws- it’s all music. Music and magic. I’m in love and I’m staying here to design for Gramshree. Specifically with vegetable dyed block-printed cotton Ajrak textiles. It’s a dream, really. (I thought I was coming here just for a few weeks to help with patterns). I've accidentally moved to India (temporarily). I am ecstatic, mildly terrified, shocked at myself. Who just randomly moves to India?
Except it wasn’t random, I’ve been planning to come here for a while now- I wasn’t sure it would be with Gramshree, but I really wanted to go somewhere and do something meaningful, where no factory workers fall into chemical tubs or work 7 days a week, because there are no factory workers. Only artisans, whose quality of life is cared for.
I feel really overwhelmed a lot, in a good way- everything is new, exciting, fresh, strange. The bindis in particular remind me that I am in a completely different world, worlds and worlds away from my world. Not the sparkly pop star stickers, but just simply a red dot of pigment that Hindu women wear every day. The bindi is an expression of their reality- culture, heritage, community. From the viewpoint of my personal previously known reality, Hindu women appear extra-terrestrial in a sense- that perfectly curated forehead pigment, the abundant textiles draping around the body, a different head bobble for each possible answer. (sidenote: Indian people are supremely perceptive, which has greatly benefitted my attempts at communication via nonverbal)
God, the people. The kindness and intelligence of Indian people is remarkable. There is a fantastic degree of self awareness permeating the culture; everything that is done appears premeditated (even if it’s not). They read each other very differently than westerners do. I think we might be a little obsessed with psychology 101. (Or, at least I am). Are pupils dilating? Hands sweaty? Eyes darting? Body language- which way is the torso turned? It’s all literal and textbook, a western way of reading another’s feelings. Indians, it’s like they just know- they perceive energy on an entirely different wavelength.
Maybe I’m just manifesting a fantasy in my head, - but, let’s say that’s the truth. Why the hell not feel I’m living a fantasy? As much as I bent and twisted my NYC reality - “I’m in a chic office with beautiful talented people who are also nice and the hours are decent”- but every day I sat at a computer writing numbers helping no one. Nor was I creative or expressing myself in any way.
Here it seems I have the most beautiful opportunity to work with and bring business to talented artisans, their skills kept alive by Craftroots, all the while expressing my creativity and getting loving feedback from others in the organization. Did I walk over pipes of sewage and almost collide with a cow today? Yes. Was I wearing the correct footwear? No, sandals, and it was gross. I saw baby chickens and baby humans with no pants on and got barked at by a stray dog. My colleague sad BAA to a passing goat, and he looked and we laughed. Our food tonight burned my mouth off. Everything is real and raw and perfect for that reason. I feel so stupidly alive.