Highlights of India, part one 

Good morning, Namaste on the last day of Indian vacation
Today as I pack and repack my suitcase, I am reflecting on the past 27 days of my vacation in India.  
My number one highlight of this month is:  
Sarees, bright and cheery, colours colours everywhere breaking up the grey landscape of the countryside and smoggy skies of big cities.  
Women working alone in the fields or walking along roadways with heavy loads, or holding hands of dear children … Or riding side saddle on back of motorcycles.  
Women everywhere in beautiful outfits. With bangles and decorations, jewels, painted colour on their forehead.  
Women in house dresses can be seen on our walks through neighbourhoods and they always dress sharply and in matching or contrasting bright colours and flowy fabrics when out and about. No matter if working in an upscale hotel resort or sweeping dust at the temple, tending gardens or getting groceries, women in India are beautiful and dress attracting attention.
Arches, unique and everywhere in northern India, architecture reveals art and history. Pillars, minarets, doorway arches, steps, furniture, and walls carved with stories of times and glories past. Bricks and columns, carved and intricate. The Jain temple, the fortresses and palaces of Royals.  
Little short trucks putt putting along the roadways with often heavy loads of people and or cargo. Looking like they will topple over or bend with the weight of their load. Friendly faces of workers catching a ride, waving to us, foreigners. Do they think we are celebrities? Are we? 
Four to seven canoes hitching a ride with one that has a motor, saving and sharing in costs of fuel, economy of connection to community.
Fresh colourful fruit and veggie trucks and carts, bright and tasty foods to sell. Wagons loaded and either pushed or pulled by people or livestock. Or standing in rest and waiting to sell. I purchased easy to peel juicy oranges and varieties of bananas … many times .. First time was old Delhi on day two, with assistance, to push through my comfort zone. More easily thereafter. Always with joy to leave my money with the vendor.
Welcoming drinks (rose water, fresh coconut, mango juice, Mountain Dew), flowers (roses, jasmine, marigold) and bindis in exotic hotels and sacred places. Colourful marks on my forehead, reds, yellows, gold, silver, pink. Large cooking bowls, now filled with water and floating flower petals, water lilies, and lotus flowers.  
Meditation and mindfulness practice, prayer and chanting, feeling blessed … Moved to tears in the pooja ceremony in the north. Breathe. I still have the red and yellow thread tied to my left wrist… As I am a married woman. If never married, then the right wrist was the place to see the coloured string. The flower petals, white rice, salt / sugar crystals, vermillion and yellow powder, whole coconut … The offering to the river after repeating the mantra / chant. While sitting on the ghat on that memorable day. Forever changed.  
Namaste, stay tuned for more highlights!,
Pamela of India, today at airport in Paris France on way home 🙂
Happy Valentines Day

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