Saturday, February 27, 2010

time warp

I looked down at my phone 15 missed calls. Hmmm….My phone had been on silent for only one hour. I called Kumar back and he said, “ Samia, please come urgently.”

My first thought, of course, is that something happened, but Kumar said, “no no no, not like that, you come, you see, you go.”

I had plans for the evening, but had to remind myself, as I was postponing them (until further notice), that I am here for two things. Yoga and jewelry all other things can wait. So, I hopped in a rickshaw, and rode across town to Kumar’s new shop. He was glowing with excitement.

“Samia, please come. Sit” He had two clients in his shop they were all talking and laughing. I sat for a few minutes and soon they left. Kumar slowly took out a small small package wrapped in newspaper. He opened it and inside were the jewels. Our work! Our beautiful shining pendants, rings and earrings! All of it organically perfect. Handmade, shiny golden ornaments.

He wanted me to see them finished… Urgently, in case we had to make any changes before my departure on Sunday.

I can’t believe today is my last full day in Mysore. I’m off to Jaipur, Rajasthan, tomorrow, for the last week of my journey before returning home. I keep reminding myself to take it all in, breathe in all the millions of smells, observe all the beautiful chaos. And do not resist the flow or get used to it either. I want India’s magic to stay alive while I am in it and while I am home.

new golden pendants:

shiva: the destroyer
lakshmi: Goddess of prosperity
ganesha: the remover of obstacles

prices to come. let me know if you are interested!

Friday, February 19, 2010

shanti in your heart...

what a week. time flies here in mysore.. I decided after a week of being here, I could not be here and not practice yoga at the KPJAYI. So, I went in to pay my respects to Sharath and Saraswati, gave them a small offering of flowers and asked Sharath, if I could practice. He of course said, "you ask Saraswati." They have all sorts of rules about signing up in advance and filling out forms etc.. so, I knew that's what he would say, and i am happy, practicing with Saraswati is not much different than practicing with sharath. it's in the same room at the same time and with all the same people.. it's great.. and it really really feels so good to be practicing, once again, in that magical room.

Jewelry has been coming along. Last night, I went to Kumar's new shop, we sat and discussed and I saw some of our work. I am so excited, we are going to have small Ganesha pendants, Shiva pendants, and Lakshmi pendants along with more elis' and some golden rings... all beautiful!! I'll have photos soon.

As I was sitting with Kumar the other day, we were talking about the future of goldsmithing in India. He had not planned on being a goldsmith, he wanted to become a elementary school teacher, but because of certain circumstances in his life, he became a goldsmith, just like his father, and his father's father... I asked him why he was not teaching his son goldsmithing and he said, "Samia, you see, yes I am working and making money, but we must get shanti(peace) to our hearts." I love this statement. And it's actually not the first time I have heard someone in India say this. And as you probably are guessing, I fully believe it. Kumar believes that being a goldsmith is not really the path to shanti in his heart. It was not his dream.. but he does it with complete and total dedication and commitment to his family. He wants 'something better' for his children.

I wish we could all find shanti in our hearts. This, I believe would make the world a much happier place to be.. and this is one of the zillion reasons, I love India!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

shivaratri. 2010

not too much to report, other than the fact that i am having a bit of stomach trouble at the moment. it's hard to focus on much else when this is going on... it is an inevitable part of being in India, but ugh... that's what i have to say about it.

kumar and i are still busy working away. it's fun to be in mysore, my second home...

i spent shivaratri with kumar and his family. this is a big celebration for the god Shiva. people stay up all night singing to shiva and eating and socializing. kumar lives in a very special part of town, where many vishwakarma people live (goldsmiths, fine carpenters, stone carvers, silversmiths and coppersmiths) because of this, the temples in this area are extra beautiful because the people who make the statues for the temples are living in the area. so, there is one small temple with 108 shivalingams. and it is so cool. during shivaratri, they decorate the whole temple and people line up and wait for hours to go through the temple. Since kumar lives so near. He got us in the back way and we stood for a while. i took some photos and we took prasada (an offering, of coconut and some tulsi leaves)... it was a fun night. i was in bed by midnight. thank god..

om namah shivaya...

first photo is of kumar's wife latha and i

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kumar and Mysore

Once again, I've made it to Mysore. I think this is my 7th visit... It is a very special place for me.. It's where I really learned my yoga practice and it's where my long time goldsmithing teacher and good friend, Kumar, lives.

I don't know exactly what it is, but India is one of those places where things just seem to always work out... Like even if you think there is no possible way in hell, then at the last moment everything falls into place. Thus my visit so far. I arrived in Mysore without a place to stay. So, i went for breakfast and someone told me of a man to call. I called him, he picked me up and took me directly to the same house, the same flat and the same room as i rented last year.. oh life..

Kumar... He is doing very well, for those of you long time followers of my blog. He just opened a small jewelry store after over 20 years in a small small shop. We are busy working on lots and lots of jewels including more elis', small ganesha, shiva and lakshmi pendants, small hammered gold bands among many many other pieces. Please tell me if you would like any of these, and I will reserve one for you.

I'm here for about 3 weeks and then move on to Jaipur for more jewelry work.

be true to yourself


Photos: Kumar's new shop and his old shop. he is splitting time between the two.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


My last night in N. Kerala, I stayed with Balan and his family. They are so so sweet.

I had “claimed” a small space in their Krishna room, to put my things, so they were out of the way. As I was packing my items, on the day of my departure, Amama (grandma in Malayalum, the language of Kerala), came in the room. She is a tiny woman, over 90 years old and has 9 children. She is Balan’s mother and I just love her. I have rarely heard her speak, usually she is up and down, gardening, or reading prayers.

As she entered the room, she crouched down next to me. So close she was touching me and she started to sing, quietly, she sang and sang as I packed my bags.

Later I asked what she was singing and Divya told me this, “ Many years ago, Amama, was very very poor and she had soooooo many children to feed. So, she had to work and she worked very hard in the fields harvesting crops. The women started at dawn and would sing this song to the sun as it was rising.”

Oh how I love this story. Oh how I love the gift of story our elders give to us. I wonder if the women in the fields still sing the same song? I’m guessing they do.

I want to thank you for all the interest in the Elis'. I am taking orders for the pieces I am now making with Kumar in Mysore.. email me if you would like one!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

jungle boogie...debut performance

I am emerging from 5 days in yoga ashram mountain beauty and quietness and wanted to update you on my performance at the temple. So, here goes..

I was the opening stage act… Hare Rama Hare Rama Hare Krishna Hare Krishna..

Last night was the first time I have performed in front of more than about 10 people, and it was on a big stage, plugged in and in front of around 500 people, in India, at a temple, at a festival with elephants and fire. Yesterday was about 95 degrees and I spent most of the day sweating buckets as my nerves could not be calmed. I actually could not believe I had agreed to do this.

I got up on stage and sat there, all alone, with my Indian sisters primping me, adjusting my sari, telling me what to say, giving me sips of water and taking photos..

The curtain went up… I took a breath in and said, “ela varcum ente namaskarum” I don’t know the exact translation, but it is something like, hello and good evening to you. The crowd clapped and clapped and I continued with several thank you’s and began my first bhagan… singing to Rama. Singing calmed me right down.

The rest of the performance went really well, I sang one more bhagan to Shiva and then a song my husband and I wrote. I’d have to say, it was pretty exhilarating to be up on stage..

My Indian sisters kept telling me how auspicious it is to be singing at their temple festival. I was the first western to ever perform at it.

As I got off the stage, the man who we originally spoke to, came up to me, shook my hand and said, “are you happy your wish has been granted?”

I’d have to say, “yes”

That was about a week ago and yesterday, after coming out of ashram isolation, I spoke with one of my Indian sisters. She told me, the temple committee had met after my performance and want me to perform next year for 30 minutes. They had also bought me a gift.... sooooooooo..... sweet. they are sooooooo sweet, unfortunately, I had already left for the ashram and could not receive it.

I find all of these magical experiences so rewarding. so enriching. so worth all the crazy moments. so life changing. so fear conquering. I encourage everyone to follow your dreams. they are possible, if you put your mind to it!!

I have 4 elis' left for sale. Please let me know if are interested in one. Look here to see them.