One of the prompts in the first chapter of Journal Fodder 365 was “Roads Taken and not Taken. Reflecting on this prompt brought me to a road I literally took. In the late 80’s my husband was working internationally in business and spending a great deal of time in India, Singapore and Korea. I was so lucky to be able to travel with him there several times and fell in love with India. A great opportunity came our way–the company in India wanted him there for an extended period of time–an entire summer! This wasn’t an easy decision. He would often get weary when his trips were longer than several weeks at a time and we had 3 boys at home aged 16, 13 and 7. However, we felt this was something we couldn’t pass up. Shortly after school was out we headed to India for the summer–well, 2 months for the boys and I while my husband stayed on for several more weeks. Needless to say, the boys were not excited about spending their summer vacation away from friends and usual summer fun so as a compromise they did get some lazy days of summer in before school started again. Years later they were grateful for all they saw and experienced that summer and came away with some good memories in addition to a deeper more open-minded understanding of the world they live in. When our youngest son was working on his Master’s at U of Dayton he was asked to lead a group of students on an immersion trip in the South of India. Already having experienced the culture shock of living in a country so different from his own probably made it easier for him to take this on.
It’s so hard to put into words what is gained from such an experience. The sounds, the smells, the beautiful sights. The people are so wonderful, so kind, so interesting, so full of humanity and so spiritual. It was somewhere I was so out-of-place yet felt so at home. Part of our time was spend off the tourist track where the plant was being built and I was so inspired by all I observed I put my sensory experiences of the city, Alwar, into a poem.
For this journal spread I started with a wash of watercolor in warm tones. I collaged some images (luckily I had a magazine sent from a friend in India), copied my poem and drew several small elephants on the page. In large colorful letters I wrote the word NAMASTE’. Namaste’ means, “the God in me honors the God in you”.