Sunday, February 27, 2011

don't worry. it is no problem

Everything is possible…Yes yes, don’t worry… It is no problem..

A few of my favorite, often heard Indian phrases and somehow, it’s true, everything just seems to work out. In the final hour, at the last minute, just when you think there is absolutely no way in hell this is going to happen…Then, suddenly as my teacher Kumar says, “magic is there.”

We were on the road, driving the motorbike up up up, through the lush and winding coorg hills. And suddenly, the bike stopped, we were (at least we thought) 40 km away from anything remotely, village like. So, we pushed the bike into the shade and I said to Steven, “First let’s have a snack, and then, we will worry about the bike.” So, we stood in the shade on a beautiful road, and snacked on the snacks our Indian family had packed, homemade potato chips, chat, and a large ball of something sweet. Mmmmm…

Then, before we actually even looked at the bike, we made a plan. It seemed as if the bike was out of gas, although it shouldn’t have been because we had filled it just before departing. Our plan A, we would switch it to the reserve tank and it would make it to the nearest gas station (ha, pretty optimistic). Our plan B, if no reserve, I would hitch a ride to the nearest gas station while Steven waited with the bike, get gas and hitch a ride back. Our plan C, if it wasn’t a gas problem… well we didn’t think about that.

So, Steven turned on the reserve tank, and bam.. it started. Yay!! Part 1 of plan A worked, but we also knew we only had 1 liter, didn’t exactly know where the nearest petrol station was and knew the bike was guzzling gas at a faster rate than 30 km/liter. We also knew the biggest town was 40 km away. We crossed our fingers and hopped part 2 of plan A would work. About 10km from there, was a lovely little petrol station. Yay!!

We then, called the guesthouse we were staying at to tell them where we were and when we would be arriving. About 30 minutes later, we arrived, in the town nearest the guesthouse. We pulled over to figure out what we were going to do about lunch and suddenly a jeep pulled up next to us and the man inside said, “ Hello, Steven?” OMG!… It was the guesthouse owner. I guess he was just hanging out in town waiting for two white people to go by on a motorbike. He lead us to a little restaurant, we ate and then we followed him through miles of coffee plantations, to his own. We spent the night as the only guests at a gorgeous guesthouse high in the hills of Coorg. We wrote music and sang and played and had a wonderful time!

It is no problem. No problem at all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Amama was 95, and healthy.

It’s been one year, since she passed away peacefully

There was ceremony

There were prayers

And now Her soul is now free.

click here for a little story I wrote about her last year, just before her passing

Monday, February 21, 2011


Several days have passed and I have a lot to catch up on, but here is a glimpse into our second day of riding.

We traveled from the lush hills of Coorg through the rice paddies, and coffee plantations along the tiny windy roads, with no traffic, and beautiful scenery. How do I describe how I felt on the back of the Enfield? It may be indescribable. It was definitely a moment of freedom, and happiness.
We drove down down down out of the hills of Karnataka and into Kerala, and even though we were amongst the subtleness of simple life, India did not disappoint. We saw, more than one person, carrying a tree, yes, a tree, an entire tree trunk of bamboo, which is used as a ladder, to help with harvesting pepper off of the vine which grows high on trees. We saw overloaded, wagons carrying hay, we saw a man walking over 100 baby ducks. As usual, the unusual made me smile. Seemingly in a remote area, there are still people at every intersection, always in the right spot for us to ask if we were going in the correct direction.

After a few hours, we came to a road block where we reached the border, between the two states, Karnataka and Kerala. With an approving head wobble, they raised the divider and let us through. The temperature immediately changed from pleasant to oppressively hot. Welcome to Kerala and our heat and humidity…

The drive to Kannur was not as pleasant, but still an adventure, more traffic, more towns, and a lot of heat. We drove through several villages looking for a shady place to park and have something cool to drink, but somehow all the shaded places were welding shops. India is so funny. Finally, we just stopped and it felt good to get off the bike, walk around and drink a 7up.

We also had to pee, but it is always sooooooo unsatisfying to pee in India, especially as a woman. First, asking, and finding a toilet is not an easy task and then when one is found. It’s all hold your breath, close your eyes and get the hell out of there as fast as you can. So, I found a toilet and yes, it was unpleasant and Steven went after me and came back and said with a giggle, “ I don’t know what you find so unsatisfying about that.” I could write a whole book on Indian toilets and if you have not been, it’s impossible to understand in this short paragraph, but if you have been, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

We finally made it to our destination after 4 and a half hours of driving. It’s amazing here and I will write more about it later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

blowing in the wind

We made it. Our first day of traveling by Enfield. I decided half way through, it's my favorite way to travel. Well, I have always loved being on the back of a motorbike in India, but this is the first time we actually have done an overnight and will be doing more over the next 10 days. We drove from Mysore to Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlements in S. India. There we met our good friend and monk, and had a lovely lunch with him. We briefly attended a special puja (ceremony) and were back on the road.

And up up up through the hills and windy small roads of Coorg, the coffee region. Oh it is so green and beautiful and it is harvest season. We saw the coffee being harvested and laid in the sun to dry. It's quiet here.

Right now as we get ready to sleep, we can hear crickets, the moon is bright and the stars are shining.

I feel as if I have exhaled and really started to relax. Mysore is such an amazing place, but somehow, I always run around like a crazy person, working, doing this, doing that, making jewelry, etc... Now, it's chill out time, observation time. Time to breathe and ride, ride into the wind.

Monday, February 14, 2011

new adventure! new jewelry!

As we get ready to go on our motorbike adventure to Kerala. I am finishing up here in Mysore. Phew... The last days are always hectic, it seems as if it will not get done and suddenly, miraculously, it is finished, and perfect, just in the knick of time...

So, we will see. We leave here on Wed. morning and will journey off on our super ride. The 1993 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (with carrier, of course)... oh I am excited..

Check out our new pieces and the Bullet! The pieces are limited and are for sale. if you are interested, please contact me via email.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

sneaking a peek... golden goodies 2011

This trip I am making a lot custom orders and a friend of mine gave me a gold and diamond ring. She asked if we could melt the gold and use it in her piece and she wanted to give the diamond to Kumar as a gift.

The other day, as I was sitting with Kumar in his shop, he asked me, 'Samia, you remember your friend? The one who has given me the diamond as a gift?'

I said, 'Yes, Kumar, I remember.'

He said, 'Well, I am thinking of also giving the diamond as a gift.'

I replied, 'Wow, Kumar, that is so kind. Who are you thinking of giving the diamond to?'

Kumar then says, 'Samia, not like that, not like that. There is one Goddess, her name is Saraswati. She is the Goddess of Wisdom and art and culture and there is one temple. I am thinking, I will make a nose ring or a pendant and give it to the Goddess Saraswati at the temple.'

How i love India. How I love Kumar.

So, I asked Kumar, 'How would you feel if I told my friend your idea?" he replied, "you MUST tell your friend my idea. It is necessary."

Kumar and I have been working very hard this week.. Here are a few photos of what we have been up to.

Monday, February 7, 2011

a thing of beauty.

The other day. A long time friend, inspiring person and beautiful woman, came over to my little flat and created a work of (temporary) art on my hands. Oh how I love henna(mehendi)!

She squeezed the black mud type paste in gorgeous designs and voila 2 hours later. My hands were decorated with her creativity.

Manjula is amazing! She told me, about one month ago she attended a wedding and had mehendi on her hands. And she got soooooooo excited about it, she decided she wanted to learn how. So, for the past month she's been working hard, using her spare time to learn this art. I am so impressed she only started doing this. It is not a simple thing, but as you can see, she has talent.

After the 'mud' dries, little flakes of it fall off, the henna has at that point (one to two) hours later absorbed into the skin and become a temporary natural tattoo, and changes to a reddish, orangish, brown color. Henna comes from a small tree. It is from the dried leaves, that the 'mud' is made.

Thank you Manjula! I love it. And I am sooooooo happy for you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

a little slice of slow down

The morning started early, with sun salutations followed by a lovely yoga practice in my room. Aaaahhh.. There is nothing quite like doing yoga in India.

A friend and I decided we were going to spend Tuesday afternoon walking from one side of the city of Mysore to the other side and up 1000 steps to the top of sacred Chamundi Hill.

We met for breakfast and we were on the road by 11:30. We meandered our way to the city, through the city, stopping when we felt the urge, for a coconut to drink, to take photos, to talk to people, to rest.

I was looking for the subtle. Walking is one of those magnificent ways of slowing life down and observing. We did not have a schedule, just a destination. We enjoyed the journey so much, talking of life and the meaning of it while wandering in the deepest sense of the word.

I’d have to say, it was inspiring, walking by all the magical things you see in India…A spider spinning an intricate web, women carrying buckets on their heads, cows in the street, monkeys running about. A little slice of slow down, was just what I needed.

We made it to the top of the 1000 stairs up to Chamundi Hill around 4:00, drank another coconut and somehow hitched a ride all the way home…

It was inspiring, beautiful and a lovely way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.