Hello readers, the holiday is over and I will be back at work on Monday morning, back to life and reality with a bang!
I've done a lot in these last four weeks - been to a wedding, had a jewellery show, met loads of relis and old friends, been on a short trip to Malaysia and spent time with my mother. Apart from this, there has been shopping, visits to the cinema, massages and facials. After all this, I will probably find it more restful at work! I certainly need to go back on the Slimming World diet as soon as possible.
I did not forget to do a bit of jewellery shopping myself! Every year, I go to this tiny store on Commercial Street where I find the most beautiful silver. Before the era of the mall in India, Commercial street was the only place to shop and one could buy everything there. In spite of the malls that have sprung up all around Bangalore, as you can see from the picture, the place is still heaving! Everyone has their chauffeurs drop them off to shop, and then when they have finished, a phone call brings their ride home to pick them up and whisk them back in air conditioned splendour. Once you get used to the tightly packed street, there's loads of fun to be had.
Messrs. SuryaNarayana Rao have a tiny little shop, not much bigger than 15 square feet, festooned with silver jewellery, and I've been shopping there since the 70's. It has become a habit to go back there every year to see what else they might have in their tiny shop window, and they never disappoint.
All old Bangaloreans know this shop and we've all been there at one time or another. The walls are covered with silver and as if that's not enough, if you show an interest in a particular type of jewellery, boxes of similar stuff is produced as if by magic from the dark recesses behind the shop which, as it turns out, is where the extended family lives in a vast, cavernous Tardis of a Hobbit Hole.
These are the two pieces of jewellery I bought - both are made of 0.925% silver, and have a very ethnic feel to them. I don't wear ethnic clothes very often, but I'm sure I'll find a way to use them.
That's me for this week, folks. I need to sleep off the jet lag before I start work on Monday. Mike has filled the place with flowers as a surprise - I think he missed me! Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello folks, it is lovely to catch up with you again. I feel as if I've been away from home forever, and there's yet another week to go before I get back to reality.
In the meantime, I scored a free holiday in Malaysia, the land of beautiful islands! I was meant to be spending a quiet week in my mothers house, minding my own business and relaxing after a hectic couple of weeks attending a wedding and my little show. All of a sudden, my sister in law offered me a holiday in Malaysia as her friend (who was meant to be travelling with her) had to drop out. The gift horse opened it's mouth, but I didn't look in. I clambered on and rode off into the sunset to Sepang! I can tell you, Mike was green with envy - not only had he stayed back in the UK in the cold of winter, he'd missed a trip into extreme sunshine as well. Them's the breaks, I'm afraid!
Our resort, The Avani was a short journey away from the airport and Kuala Lumpur. Villas built on stilts over the sea in a palm shaped formation were accessible by bicycle and electrically operated buggies. The Malaysian International Formula One Race track is in Sepang, but I wasn't too keen on visiting it, not being into motor sports. All I was looking for was a recharge of the old batteries, and a bit of sightseeing. Sepang was once all palm oil plantation, with the odd mangrove swamp thrown in. To me, mangrove swamp = mosquitoes and I was well prepared with my trusty tubes of insect repellent, bought in India. I never go anywhere without a tube in my handbag as I hate being bitten by the little critters.
The resort had a beautiful infinity pool and views of the sunset, and the best spa ever - I fell asleep during a rose salt scrub and oil massage that lasted an hour and a half and wanted to demand my money back as I felt that I had missed most of it!
We hit Kuala Lumpur the next day, wandered around the malls, took a purple bus to China Town and got dreadfully lost, but managed to find our way back, went looking for a supposedly fabulous Chinese temple, found that one closed, but an Indian one was open across the road so we went into it instead to soak up some colour.
We kept asking people for the way to the Chinese temple, but they took one look at us and directed us to the Hindu temple instead. Coming from India, we reckoned we could find ourselves an Indian temple any old time and were keen to see something outside our culture, but fell victims to stereotyping and ended up missing Guan Ti which closed it's doors just as we finally got the locals to understand that we did not want a Hindu temple, thank you very much!
While the others hit the shops, I people watched and took these photographs of a lady in a burkha receiving make up lessons without taking her headgear off. If I hadn't actually watched it, I wouldn't have believed it!
We spent a night in Kuala Lumpur taking in the sights after dark, eating at Atmosphere 360, a revolving restaurant at the top of KL Towers. The main sight was the Petronas building, comprising two identical towers with 93 floors each and a skybridge on the 41st and 42nd foor.
I thought it was too warm and humid to wear jewellery, but as you can see, my sister in law had no such qualms, and wore Caprilicious.
Another day resting by the seaside and it was time to end the beautiful reverie. Back home we flew, squeezed into a tin can like over sized sardines - please remind me, never AirAsia again. To be comfortable on that flight we'd have had to be about three feet tall.
I have another whirlwind of a week left before me. It is always this way - everyone waits till the very last minute to invite me round for a meal and then I end up eating for England and have to wear leggings on the flight back as I am usually too fat to be comfortable in my jeans. Anyway, Slimming World and the rigours of the working week await me, so I shall no doubt get back into those jeans pretty quickly.
That's me for this week folks, I ought to be back in the UK next Friday so will catch up with you some time over the weekend. Have a wonderful week
Hiya folks, I hope you have as much sunshine in your life as I'm getting out here in India. I've been chilling and relaxing so much that it seems impossible to believe that only a couple of weeks ago I was running around like a headless chicken, tying up loose ends before I flew out to visit with my family.
Every year since 2014 Caprilicious comes with me to India, and I have a little show at Raintree, which is the ideal venue, right in the middle of town, in a sprawling Raj bungalow, with loads of parking space and a cafe'. This year, unfortunately, I was forced to cancel my show at Raintree at the last minute.
I'm not sure if you know about the monetary situation in India. In a nutshell, there isn't any! Well, in an effort to wipe out the black economy, the authorities suddenly withdrew all bank notes in the larger denominations and replaced them with brand new ones.
Unfortunately, India is a cash economy and very, very large. The Reserve Bank of India could not keep up with the demand for the exchange of old for new, as they couldn't print the notes fast enough. Baffled citizens were rendered cash-less overnight and have formed serpentine, disgruntled queues at banks and ATMs ever since.
Eventually, the ATM's ran out of money and cash from them was rationed to about £25 a day per person. Citizens are reduced to looking for alternative ATMs, and don't have the time to do a days work to earn the money they aren't allowed to handle! No one wants to use the small cash reserves they have as one never knows when it will be needed.
The rich get by, (as they always do) by using their credit cards, but the poor people who cannot get or do not have credit cards suffered, and are still in a lot of pain.
To be able to accept credit cards, one needs a card reader, and I was unable to get one for love nor money as Caprilicious is not registered in India and basically operates as a pop up shop once a year with me as sole trader.
My mother who is 89 this year, stepped in. She had a little gaily coloured marquee set up on the terrace outside my room, and I sent out invitations to a small number of people from whom I could accept cheques with no fear of them bouncing. I brought only a limited number of pieces with me as I did not have to fill an entire room with jewellery, just a little alcove.
These pictures were taken before people turned up in a steady trickle. A lot of the folks who came are Caprilicious enthusiasts from earlier shows and new soon-to-be-regulars who have waited for me to come to Bangalore, having seen their friends wear Caprilicious designs. I am pleasantly surprised by the response to my invitations on Facebook and email.
Once the show is done and dusted tomorrow, I have another adventure planned - I have been gifted a holiday to Sepang, a resort in Malaysia. The person who was meant to go was unable to due to personal circumstances and I was offered a four night stay in a Gold Coast Resort.
I will catch up with you when I get back from Malaysia, next weekend. Have yourselves a fabulous week, and I'll catch you soon,
Hello readers, how's tricks? My apologies for being a bit late, but I've just come back from a fabulous Indian wedding in the most opulent surroundings. The bride's father and I were at University together and the family is related to the royal family of Mysore. When their daughter got engaged, they decided to celebrate the wedding where they originally came from, rather than the USA where they now live. I was invited to coordinate my annual trip with the date and was only too happy to join in the fun.
Mysore is a city of palaces - some of the best are Amba Vilas, popularly known as Mysore Palace; Jaganmohana Palace, which also serves as an art gallery; Rajendra Vilas, also known as the summer palace; Lalitha Mahal, which has been converted into a hotel; and Jayalakshmi Vilas. The wedding guests stayed at the sumptuous Lalitha Mahal. This was a palace originally built as a guest house for the Viceroy of India and it has a mish mash of architectural styles; Ionian columns, Italianate piazzas, domes, pillars, marble staircases, carved rosewood furniture, and expensive carpets. The architect was definitely well travelled and had brought everything he liked from all over the world into one place, as if anxious that he wouldn't get another chance to show off his skills.
The wedding was exactly as Indian weddings are meant to be, colourful, noisy, raucous, with Vedic chanting, loud music, people talking, and children screaming with laughter all at once, an assault on the senses, with great food and loads of fun. The solemn stuff goes on all day on a decorated dais and everyone else just has a good time. There were four days of celebration and functions and I had a great time meeting people I hadn't seen for ages from my class at medical school. Here are some pictures for you to look at; enjoy!!
And, because there are so many functions, everyone gets to change their clothes and accessories at least three times during a 3 day long celebration. Here are the bride and her sisters in another avataar.
Here are some pictures of the best jewellery I saw worn during the wedding.
There was a lot of excitement in the room when the real king, who was the brides second cousin turned up. He turned out to be a twenty five year old Economics Graduate from Amherst, USA. One of my friends turned paparazzi and clicked this picture of the king, queen and queen mother at the wedding, posing with the bride and her family for posterity.
And here's what I wore...
I did get to wear one of my own necklaces at an evening event, but don't have any pictures of it, apart from this one in a group of friends. The others are necklaces of Kundan work, where gemstones are set into enamel work surroundings over gold foil - Pearl Blay of the Beading Gem has a little resume' if you want to read more about Kundan jewellery.
That's me for this week, folks. I shall have a restful week with my mother and family and catch up with you next weekend, around the same time. I'm having a little exhibition at home for a few Caprilicious die hards and I shall no doubt have something to report.
have a fabulous week, see you soon