Friday, January 14, 2011

The Residency

{A Month in the Spice Warehouse}













After a whirlwind trip to Calcutta -where a power outage-turned-power surge sent sparks and smoke from my Macbook power adapter and fried it like a hot chipati- I'm slightly crippled, computer-wise, but otherwise India has never been so good to me.

I'm finally starting my artist residency in the south of India, in the bustling, contradictory, humid-as-hell, marvelous Keralan town of Fort Kochi. Which means that for the next few weeks I'm living and working with a few other artists in an ancient Portuguese spice warehouse-turned rustic studio loft. When I'm not painting I wend my old Indian bike (it has a bell! and a basket!) down the narrows lanes of the historic Muslim neighborhood to get my spices, and I finally learned how to make a decent chai (black peppercorns! who knew?). I wake up at dawn to the song of birds and the ethereal call to prayer (and promptly fall back asleep for several glorious, mosquito-free hours), and at night, after a day of painting and a bucket-shower, I fall asleep with a quiet mind. Which is all to say that I am, unquestionably and finally (it's been hot and cold, this relationship with India), very, very HAPPY.

30 comments:

  1. very much living vicariously through you...

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  2. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and infinitely inspiring.

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  3. Such amazing photos. It's so good that you're feeling very happy there...it seems kind of it would be such a surreal adventure. (I'm glad you're posting frequently, though, because it's so fun to read about.)

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  4. Very beautiful photos. And, I have to tell you, 25 years ago I too felt most at home in Kerala. It is, or at least was, as I am sure you know, a matriarchal culture. That, combined oddly enough with the early Christian settlers, has meant that for years its had the highest literacy in India, lowest rate of violence against women, and, whaddya know, was Communist for a while. I hope you see the Chinese-influenced architecture in Trivandrum too. I'm living vicariously through you, and reliving my own trip, so double bang:).

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  5. It might as well be a pop-tart...at least the kiddo will know what those are. Instead kiddo will look back on pictures and be all, "Why is there a half-eaten pop-tart on my bum?" Then we'll have to explain how before there was a chip in your brain that you download all your music to there were computers and cd's and cassette tapes and vinyl. My guess...kiddo won't even believe us. Stupid parents.

    Um...not that you weren't making us all jealous before, but this is a little over the top. When you get back to the states you will have to see if you can recreate your chai recipe then give us the recipe. No spice markets in Indiana, just a nice selection at our local co-op. Ooh, do tell what toenail polish you are sporting.

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  6. Hooray!

    Your posts are always surprising and exquisite!

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  7. Lily ... can you be as amazing as you sound! I think so!!!!!!! Goodness from your writing to your photos .. swoon! Do you have an address email me ... I would love to send you something. XO!!!!!!!!!! Mucho MUCHO!

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  8. caroline - let me tell you - she is *BEYOND* amazing. lulu this is my favorite post yet. i know i say that everytime but i mean it. i'm so so happy to see that you've found your yaya spice house and are entrenched in the paiting world again. send me your package list please! i think this one shall include a felt tip pen and some salted caramels! miss you like crazy!

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  9. so glad about all the good news! can't wait to see what you make in this place!

    a million years ago michael palin did a great railway journeys show about Kochi (then Cochin) and the colors, the plaids in the mens shirts and turbans, and the crazy horn music was mind bending!

    hope your stay is equally so! in all the best ways!

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  10. Amazing photos! I am glad to read this good news!
    P.S. I am wearing the same nail color :)

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  11. The bucket shower - one of my enduring memories of India! Can't wait to see what you produce.

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  12. Huge sigh. So gorgeous. Please share chai knowledge with us at some point.

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  13. Seriously Lily, you are the best thing that has ever happened to my google reader.

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  14. You make it sound (and look) so incredibly lovely. Thank you for sharing you adventures!

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  15. I adore the south, and am so happy you made it there and sound like you're really enjoying it, despite the awesome~sounding power outage you experienced (but what is india without those!?) the photos look lovely :D I really have fond memories of Cochin. I remember buying jasmine oil at a little shop there and seeing the big fishing nets along the coast. such a pretty spot. I envy you!

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  16. Oooh Kerala! I second the rec to check out Trivandrum...beautiful place where, just before monsoon, the sea was green and the sky was purple. Mudumalai is only one of so many nearby natural reserves worth a trek as well. Yay for you!

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  17. I'm happy to know you are happy. And I love the way you are sharing your happiness. And wow, living and working with other artists in India, ecxiting!!!

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  18. You are now in the town and place where we call "home away from home". A place where my husband and I long to return and think about daily~~Please visit the Kashi Cafe in town as well...it is divine. And when you do tell the boys and especially Biju, that Ray and Tracy said Hello! Then you MUST head over to the Walton House and visit the bookstore to tell Padmini that we Love and Miss her and that we loved our Christmas card she sent us. She is a gem....Enjoy!

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  19. how do you make a good chai?? please tell!

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  20. thanks for sharing your adventures! quite inspirational. and i'm with margo above.. care to share the chai recipe?
    be well!

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  21. I've heard that Kerala is the best part of India! (Well, my friend who told me that is from Kerala, so she might be biased.) In any case, it looks beautiful. I love that bedroom. What an amazing experience.

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  22. I am always in awe of your experiences! You seem to find so much peace, beauty and understanding in your life. I am so inspired by this.

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  23. mmmmm. so good to be in a happy place, isn't it? so happy that you're happy!

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  24. oh lily, i instantly welt up with tears for it such a good feeling to be in.
    beautifully written, it is as i am reading a novel and you are taking me with you. the bell of your old bicycle i hear it.

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  25. Oh I'm in love with your photos of your new life unfolding! The food and the sky and it all - just gorgeous...

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  26. i love how your toes are always painted. :)

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  27. Hi, just wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying your blog. I spent a year travelling in India in the early 80's and love seeing your pics and reading about your adventures. I've always wanted to go back and one day I will. For now I will enjoy your journey. Keep up the good work. Anna

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  28. I just stumbled upon your blog and I can't even tell you how much I needed to see all of this. So. damn. inspiring.

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