layers of grey…

 the henna has faded jet lag has set in and india already seems like a lifetime ago

 but as far away as it feels, india, as it always does, left its mark

 the ocean, wherever it finds  you, always has its pull it is a reminder of how small  we are but how big life can be

 in mumbai i found it as i sat on the seawall and sketched and, again, running along carter road with my sister in goa, i swam in it and breathed it in

 cities, too, have their own pull

 as i embrace the cold, dreary days that have greeted me since my return home and to what seems like a colorless city, i find myself reflecting on life in  mumbai

 rich with people and traditions life is played out in the homes and streets of mumbai in full color shades of red, orange, blue, yellow, green, and gold color the streets, the people, and the food

 all of this color is what makes mumbai and india magical but it can also render a traveler, like myself, colorblind to the day to day lives–filled with hard work and suffering–of those that live there and make coming back to milwaukee, painted in grey, difficult to embrace

 but, there is nothing like time with family and commuting in a city, however far away, to remind us that there are layers behind every color 

 and, it is these layers– of history and time, craftsmanship and artistry, family and love– that gives color texture and makes it more vibrant and beautiful no matter where you are

 and so here i am back in milwaukee in my city re-connecting with friends in my studio back at work and in my home with my family embracing the grey and all of the layers that come with it… Read the rest “layers of grey…”


 today is my last day in india its hard to believe that my time here is over and that this will be my last  opportunity to write while i am here

 it would be far too much for me to sum up my time here in one last blog so, instead i will continue to share my experiences, observations and photos of “my india” after i return to the states

 but for now, it is my last two days here that i find myself reflecting on

 filled with my favorite things–family, henna, and food

 i leave full with a deeper connection to my roots and, unexpectedly, the city of mumbai, itself

 i am strongly aware that rather than being “between cultures”, i have a place in both

 and in both, i am home… Read the rest “home…”

the seduction of goa…

 it began the moment i stepped out of the airport into the warmth of goa’s late afternoon sun the air somehow felt lighter and less oppressive than in mumbai and the urban sprawl of the city was replaced by the lush, green &  tropical landscape of goa

 the ocean and the full moon worked together to embrace me in a cool evening swim and in the morning, the ocean, with the help of the sun, again embraced me for some salt-water bliss

 the beach provided a warm blanket to sit on and a backdrop of life and color

 further north, arambol beach provided a sanctuary of water and sun filled with the creative energy & interwoven stories of local artisans, ex-pats, and   travelers–dreamers, artists, and explorers of the world

 the stalls that line the beach road were visually stunning with goods the shop dwellers themselves have made

 the coffee shops and restaurants were filled with people who inspire

 lucy, originally from holland, settled here 20 years ago she opened double dutch, a coffee shop and restaurant that is nestled amongst the trees with good coffee, pastries, and food but much more than that, she takes care of and has a home housing local special needs children if meeting lucy was not enough inspiration, meeting the young but soulful and beautiful special needs boy, ebin, who she takes care of and for whom   her foundation is named (the ebin foundation–… Read the rest “the seduction of goa…”

the streets of mumbai….

commuting by train and foot  to and from henna class every day has been an adventure and opportunity to observe and immerse myself into daily life here

rooted in the past but alive with the many conveniences of modern society the streets of mumbai demand attention and require a certain tenacity and respect

men, women, & children on foot share the road with trucks, buses, 3-wheeled rickshaws, bicycles, push carts, pull carts, scooters and sacred cowsnew buildings sparkle and shine in contrast to the old

and vegetable,  fruit, and newspaper stands share the road with air-conditioned shops selling jewelry, clothing and other goods

just like the streets of mumbai,  i am a mix– in between my eastern roots and western influences as well as roles, experiences and constructs of the past and those of the present and future

sometimes, just like getting around in mumbai can be confusing, chaotic and overwhelming so can the feeling of being in-between

but sometimes, if you can look past the confusion and chaos, the adventure of being in between is the one that can be the most interesting… Read the rest “the streets of mumbai….”

the arabian sea, a seawall & the power of art…

 last night i hugged my sister goodbye and started the next chapter of my time here in mumbai…i moved from my dad’s family’s flat to a hotel in  the colaba/churchgate area–located at the very south end of mumbai

 i woke up missing my family but excited to explore this part of mumbai on my own…

 it has always been a favorite of mine–on the  water and packed with indians, tourists, tall buildings, shops, bars, restaurants, art, architecture, and history…

 although i have been to this area many times, our trips to this part of town have always been fast and furious day trips…

 but today i began my exploration of south mumbai with a long walk from the gateway of india to churchgate station, where i lingered, and then  on to marine drive, a 3 kilometer boulevard in the shape of a “C” along the coast of the Arabian Sea….… Read the rest “the arabian sea, a seawall & the power of art…”