Never before have I wanted to see a place so much. India: the place of love, lore and wonder. India: the place ripe with color and scent and life. Brought to me by the goodness of Jumpa Lahiri, Mira Nair, Sanjay Puri and that wonderful book The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri.
India known to me through the works in our collection: the Mughal Façade, Ganesha, Vishnu, Lakshmi, the Nandi bulls and the Pondicherry animals. Margaret and Trammell’s India is a collection of power-sculptures—powerful in meaning, representations of world religions beyond Dallas in the 1960s. Our India is not a large part of the collection but it sets the stage for all who experience “Gallery III”: red slate, red sandstone, marvels of carving, works that question the reference of inside. Works that take us outside to a street in Jaipur. I will see that street—with facades carved by 18th century hands that have stood the test of time and turbulence.
I know this place, this place of India through 67 works of art and my beautiful friends in Dallas who have lovingly shared their culture. They have shared the many cultures of India through meals and shopping, helping me with the Discover India Festival and teaching me how to use henna paste (I love the smell of Henna paste!).
My India is a collection of beautiful moments with Shailee, Neha, Raj, Ruby, Madhu, Sapna, Shabnam, Sabrina, Puja, Renee, Rekha, Prakash, Dilip, DJ and so many other Dear Ones. And today, and over the globe to tomorrow, my India will change.
The place I have know through works of art and works of friendship will be come one of real, sensory experiences. I will not hesitate to try on this India. I will wear the saree, taste the tamarind, the cumin and the bitter burst of turmeric. I will listen to the sounds of morning as the sun rises over the Taj. Let’s just hope President Obama’s entourage doesn’t get in the way.
I am grateful for this trip. I will bring back what I learn. I will write. I will teach you what I know. This little book of India, over just ten days, will be ten little chapters drawing my observations and awe from the whimsy of a very full and adventurous schedule. Join me in the place where India becomes real. The Velveteen Rabbit of my imagination of India is about to come to life in the garden under a very bright, foggy moon.