Sunday, 28 November 2010

In the foot steps of Christopher Columbus....

Yesterday some newly made Indian friends took us on a jaunt in their car to a quaint town called Half Moon Bay. The drive from Montalvo to this town was via winding roads, through a landscape that makes you understand the history of settlers coming to this land with the hope of a better future. Picturesque, with the promise of plenty, we drove through farming lands where fields of late pumpkins sat in their blazing orange splendour; and fir tree farms had begun their Christmas tree sales.

Half Moon Bay high street was the picture postcard advertisement for American-pie day-dreams; and Hollywood films with happy endings. With the sun out, and with my new thirteen year old twin girl-friends and their jovial father and Surendran and myself, we all walked about from one shop to another; each guided by the whimsy of the moment and enjoying the novelty of being somewhere one normally isn't. In one shop we drooled over rabbits and baby chicks and watched in fascination at insects that were being bred as live-feed for pet reptiles; whilst in another shop the band of three girls on a window shopping spree bought "ugly dolls" as a memento of the day! They come with names and personal biographies. My doll is bright red with buck-teeth and is called Mynus. She will sit very well on my studio couch with my Wo-men dolls from South Africa, and my doodle cats from Japan, in companiable silence!

We visited a shop that specialised in beautiful wooden contemporary crafted items that were functional. From intricate standing clocks, to beautiful inlay boxes, head steads and cabinets, jewelry and objects; the range of items were vast. Extremely refined with aesthetics that made them beautiful and quality that validated their price tags, it made me realise how much we could do with the craft skills we have in abundance in India. If only designers of repute could create venues of collaboration with the crafts people on equal parity, wonderful new products could be marketed that would showcase the wealth of heritage we possess as a geographical territory that is so diverse and talented.

In another shop I chanced upon a Mexican wooden sacred heart that I immediately purchased to add to my tiny collection in Baroda. I am most often fascinated by tiny quirky objects and picked up a Mexican clay deity with wings, who is a fertility goddess with an unpronouncable name! The delight of our home in Baroda, is that over time, shelves and cupboards, corners of rooms and curtain rods, dressing tables and kitchen cupboards, all have become spaces that hold the bric-a-brac from my various travels. Though I vow on each trip that I will not be tempted; low and behold something worms its way into my heart!

We ended our evening at Half Moon Bay in a cozy Italian restaurant where we were hosted to a sumptuous meal and the fun of a wonderful band of live jazz musicians. We finished off our meal with a cheese cake shared between us with careful precision and much lip licking! The drive back to Montalvo in the dark was equally beautiful, on smooth roads with the dark silhouette of the red wood trees that line the highway like sentries, on either side.

Today the rain clouds are visiting Montalvo once again and like brave Trojans Surendran and I went out for a short walk this morning with tiny umbrellas that really served more as head halos!!! So we have opted to spend most of the day working. I finished another small water colour, bringing the total to eight completed! A family of four deer sat under my window in the wooded area today, and kept me company whilst I worked. If that isn't magical, what is?!

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