A friend once remarked sentiments to me that I’ve never forgotten as it surprised me at the time. He said, “I go to India regularly for peace and tranquility”. He, Steve Rigg, was an elderly English doctor who carried himself with a distinguished and yet calm casual air. He shared his stories, cooking, and music experiences from times spent in India. I discovered firsthand what he meant when I too ventured solo to India in 1998. I traveled to Rajasthan endeavoring to have my block-printed and painted fabric designs reproduced onto rolls of fabric. This has been a dream of mine since a young teenager. With just a backpack, I rolled up in a rickshaw to the gates of the Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur. I could only afford to stay one night. I was escorted to my breathtakingly beautiful room. With marble floors, soaring ceilings, carved timber bed furniture and side tables, white bedlinen, and parchment paper notepads, the ambiance was special. Superb quality, including gorgeous woven reed and bamboo blinds that draped the enormous timber framed glass windows looking out to a carved screen courtyard and beyond to expansive formal gardens. From my limited travel clothes, I dressed for dinner in a smoky blue and turquoise sarong I had brought from home. I wore the turquoise silk blouse which I had made the previous day in Udaipur. On my feet, I wore brown flat sandals crisscrossed high above my ankles. Filled with wonder and delight, I strolled through the expansive intricate carved wood passageways to the marble opulent dining room. I was placed at a candlelit table for two, white linen, high ceilings, and soft lighting. I ate my smooth curry while listening to the mystical sounds of a harp being played by three men sitting cross-legged on the marble floor. I felt the “Essence of India”. The feelings evoked from the journey, left my soul enchanted and my stay so memorable. I felt feverishly inspired to want to paint and design. A seed was planted in my mind and a wish to one day have a collection on rolls of fabric, inspired by an Indian palace.
Ships in July 2024
by Denise Burkitt