Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jaipur in June






Sane people say do not go to Rajasthan in June. That you will basically shrivel up and die. They are mostly right.

HOWEVER.









Although it was 112, 115 degrees every day, my sister Hopie and my mom had such a tremendous time we almost didn't come back.

It was supposed to be a biznass trip: the mission was to work on the fall line for Block Shop. And that's precisely what we did each day. But walking through the village at sundown with Vijendra and a pack of giggling knee-high stragglers, stopping in to say hello at the block carvers, the dabu printers, the indigo dyers, the cousins and wives and elders and gurus, I know that "business" isn't the right word for what Block Shop's become for me. I know Hopie feels the same way (everyone wave and say "hi, Hopie!").






When P. and I lived in Jaipur for a year I had a capricious understanding with India that read like the script for an abusive, hot-tempered relationship (said in my best B.D. Wong whisper-therapist-voice from Law & Order).  Some days it was Lily and India are Best Friends and Holding Hands. Some days it was Lily F*cking Hates India and Is Crying. (In all fairness to Mother India, living on a shoestring rupee budget as the only non-Indians in a conservative neighborhood had a lot to do with this. So did Dengue fever.)

But this trip, my first visit back, was –I'll say it– magical. Bringing my mom gave me new eyes, made me consider Jaipur in new ways. Her astonishment and delight was palpable, inspiring. Hopie and I felt so much pride bringing her to Bagru, introducing her to the printing coop as maira mama. 

Between the punishing heat and ten-and-a-half hour time difference (ten and a HALF! Why the incomprehensible extra half hour? Because it is INDIA, my chapatlettes, and as many of you know there are no rules, but when there are you'd better have the official paperwork) my New York brain melted like a scoop of kulfi and my instinct brain kicked in: suddenly Hindi words I hadn't even realized I knew flowed from my mouth and my head bobble kicked in as naturally as my acchas and my teek hais. Suddenly the cultural disregard for orderly lines no longer bothered me; I smiled and gently elbowed my way through airport security like Anna Pavlova's swan through a crowded cafeteria. 







One night Hopie and I went to the palmist. He read my palm and told me all my secrets, strengths, promising future. He also told me some messed-up shit about my character flaws and then closed our session by smiling abruptly and and saying "nonetheless I see you will live to be ninety-one-plus. Namaste."  

Chuffed to know I'll live to 91+ I ordered a piƱa colada at the hotel bar.

The next day I bought a faceted black onyx ring to ward off "bad eyes" juuust in case. One can never be too careful with these things. It glitters and beckons from every angle like a personal-sized, blingier Nietzschean void. And the gatekeeper of that void is Ganesha, and in my version he is eating mangoes.

Why not? Anything is possible. ANYTHING.






We spent every day mixing new dye recipes, perfecting new designs, drinking cup after cup of masala chai and sweating our chapatis off. Literally. One afternoon my hands were so shaky and sweaty from the heat I dropped my chapati on the cement floor of Vijendra's house. I thought of the diseases our friend Santiago had listed off during his visit to Bagru to assess the medical needs of the community, of the rampant parasites and skin conditions. I scooped the oily chapati off the dusty floor, looked at my onyx ring, shrugged, and plopped the doughy disk in my mouth. "DELICIOUS, Didi-ji! Barhiya hai!"

That evening Vijendra pulled our first prototype from the dye vat and everyone gasped. Our natural grey dye shimmered silver in the waning desert light like the stomach of a magic fish. "I think this one..." he paused. "Maybe this one is best design. I think this one maybe is perfect. Now we have chai and take rest."

More on Instagram, here

42 comments:

  1. LOVE. Love. Love.

    I can't wait to order my second Blockshop scarf from the Fall line. Then everyone can make fun of me for never taking that one off too. Maybe I'll even wear both at the same time! One around my neck and one around my hair.

    XO
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  2. but lord ganesha is the remover of obstacles. wouldn't he eat persimmon?

    ReplyDelete
  3. you, my friend, are a magnificent writer and wonderful human. I love following all your adventures through your open and observant eyes. and these photos, iphone? i can't even believe it--so beautiful! can't wait to hear more in person! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your writing and photos are magical! I love following your adventures on your blog. This made me long to go to Jaipur, even in 112 temps! Can't wait to see the new collection. I'm sure they'll be fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  5. SO MUCH EYE CANDY. Looking forward to seeing the results of all your hard work! And I'm so glad you guys had such a great trip!

    ReplyDelete
  6. liiiiilllllyyyyy. these photos. are EFFING MAGICAL. forget the reality (which i can never experience). this, these, those - i am there with you. <333

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lily. All of this. You're a writer. I don't really say this about much on the web, but truly, I crave voices like yours. Maybe sometime between today and ninety-one plus, I'll hold a bit of your art and soul in these here two hands. Okay. That was a little fangirl. Moving on. I literally laughed out loud at the Lily + India = BFF vs Lily fucking HATES India. It's been two years since I lived in Chennai and I still have that visceral reaction pendulating between the two emotions about the place. So excited to see what's around the corner for Block Shop this fall. Sincerely, you and Hope totally inspire me. High fives from Denver. xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow. Just wow. These pictures are amazing and I can't wait to see the fall line of Blockshop!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this post makes me want to pre-pre-pre-pre order the book i know you will write. xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. this seems appropriate for you:
    http://sighswhispers.blogspot.it/2013/06/summer-what-makes-it-sensational.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't remember how I found your sight - must have been Kelsey, who also has a wondrous poetic voice - but I am In Love with it! (No hot and cold here.) I wish you the very best in your Block Shop creations - they are so beautiful and inspiring to me.
    Kara

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ugh, you are good.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jumping in to your blog just now. Have no idea what exactly is going on or what you're talking about, but I'm loving it. BRB, gonna go read all your other posts..

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorta speechless, lady...this post kind of knocked it outta the park. Can't wait to see the new designs! And also, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! All the bestest to you and P! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. YESSSSS
    http://instagram.com/p/JZl1_8jG8d/
    I don't know why I'm surprised to see a picture of my dream car, since we've both hung out at the same fantastic cafe across the world, but it was still a thrill!

    LOVE your words and your work as ALWAYS, Lily!

    ReplyDelete
  16. How do you DO THAT?!?!?!

    Also, head bobble comes back immediately every time.

    Also, I think you're the best writer ever.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Reading your blog is like reading a book. Every. Single. Post. You take me away to magical places in magical times, my mind flies away, literally. Can't wait to see the prints now.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great post, Lilmuffin! I called my mom over to admire all the gorgeous shots.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh man, what an amazing adventure! You captured it so beautifully.

    Watching snippets of your journey through the phone brought me such joy all week. I felt as if I were there with you.


    Thank you for sharing your process and for being such a courageous bad-ass. You inspires the hell out of me!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I sip everysingleword of your posts on jaipur and bagru.
    I've been there early this year (oh, i recognize the parking area of anokhi/crosswords!) as i am so much interested in textiles, either block printed or tied and dyed or double ikat-ed :-)
    a big THANKS!
    the pics are REALLY well done, i like the way you leave a lot of 'sky' on the heads of your subjects...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Big huge Sigh. I love it. Vietnam and now India. I MUST GO TO BOTH BEFORE I DIE!

    ReplyDelete
  22. my but those prints are beautiful! I wonder if there might be more than scarves for us to gobble up?!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Magical is def what this trip sounded like - if the silvery fish fits! Or something. I have LOVED seeing India through your eyes. Every image was in fact magical.

    Now off to find a black onyx ring of my own....

    Thank you, Lils.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  24. In your life if you love someone with your soul but by some misunderstanding you are lost them and now you are not able to get love back, then all your problems have only one solutions that is Vashikaran mantra and black magic. The use of Vashikaran able to help you to get lost love back and you feel the extreme power of Vashikarn very soon when you start the Vashikaran in the guidance of vashikaran specialist and black magic specialist.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Gorgeous writing, gorgeous photos, gorgeous designs! Congratulations! I saw your gorgeous rings on instagram and was wondering if there would be any way you would consider earning some good karma by sharing the source, the wholesaler for Gem Palace. I am going back to Jaipur where my family lives next month and have longed to have something contemporary like your rings but no idea where to find it. If you would consider sharing with a longtime lurker, I would be grateful. shady_tree at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi anon! I'm afraid it was organized through a local friend-of-a-friend and I have no idea how to track the place down. It was north of the old city in an upstairs random shop squeezed in among hundreds of other shops. I'll ask my sister if she has any more info- sorry I can't be more helpful!

      Delete
  26. Very beautiful images. I like all of them!
    Greetings!
    Marisa.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am so excited to see the new prints. SO excited. You & Hopie are doing such good work. Yay for mamas who get to join in on the fun, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. What gorgeous photographs, the colors are amazing!! So excited about the prints!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am so full of love for you and India seen through your eyes and Block Shop and the WHOLE WORLD right about now. <3 <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi, I have to be Anon, because of where I live being a little finickety (my name is Stephanie, but darn it someone got there first) - I have followed your blog for long enough to remember when you revealed what 'P' did for a living. Anyhoo- My other half does the same thing as your husband, out in this end of the world and is about to go off to a 'new place' I really, really would appreciate any tips on how on earth you coped when he was away?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephanie, send me an email. lily.stockman at gmail.com. My heart goes out to you, but you are NOT alone. He's been out since August 15th, 2010, the day we moved to India. Sending positive thoughts your way.

      Delete
  31. Quite interesting photos you have there! Featuring India and it’s culture is definitely a must read. Only that there are some areas that confuses me a lot. But I really find their art and music so unique and captivating. Hope you could feature their tourist spots next time. I’m looking forward for it. Thanks again!

    My homepage | Online PhD UK Programs

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks Lily, I will do when I retrieve my brain from wherever the heck I left it. I must check the cats pockets. They can't be trusted.

    ReplyDelete
  33. That last picture is INCREDIBLE! Love this post, just came back to your blog after originally bookmarking it long ago, must now catch up on all fascinating posts & beautiful pictures. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Same Day Jaipur Tour

    Cheap Car Hire India (A Divison of Sunil Day Tours), Travel Agent in Delhi India Offers Special Discount on Same Day Jaipur Tour Package India, Delhi Jaipur Tour Package, Luxury Delhi Jaipur Trip, Book Same Day Jaipur Trip.

    ReplyDelete
  35. The formula was developed by researchers and statisticians from the University of New South Wales claimed to predict the ideal age when someone will or should get married. Knowing at what age a person should ideally get married, the researchers hope everyone can prepare themselves better toward marriage.
    http://www.astrolovemarriage.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. spells for marriage commitment

    ReplyDelete
  37. Tour Packages In India Comment Thanks for sharing good information !

    ReplyDelete

Your turn: