Tag Archives: India

Indian Snapshots *5*

3 Mar


2014IndiaJaipur21Threading flowers into garlands on the side of the road.

2014IndiaJaipurumbrellasMy husband saw me eyeing these large colourful embroidered umbrellas and said “too bad it would be impossible to bring one home”.  I took it as a challenge and successfully got one home. Maybe even more than one.  
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The impressive Amer Fort in Jaipur.  Once again my son made eye contact with a monkey who jumped on his back and started punching him. I spent two weeks screeching ” for the love of Lucy STOP making eye contact with the blasted monkeys!!”.2014IndiaJaipurflowergarland
They’re everywhere.  Luckily.
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One of the most stylish hairdressers I’ve ever come across. I’d love a few of those chairs for my living-room.2014IndiaJaipurkiteOne of the favourite past-times for kids in India is kite flying.  From almost every rooftop you can see little children with with their arms stretched skywards and their colourful kites floating high above.  My kids bought some kites made from chip bags for 5cents in a tiny town in the countryside and flew them off the roof-top of one of our hotels.  A highlight of the trip for them and a reminder to me that sometimes it’s the simple things that bring so much pleasure.

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Hawa Mahal in Jaipur.  Looks peaceful in this photo but the traffic right in front of it is absolutely nuts.  I almost died crossing the street to take this photo.2014IndiaJaipur22More garland threading.  Never gets old.

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Boiling block printed fabrics in indigo pots.

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Our car and driver for our trip to Bagru.  This guy was the epitome of cool and classy.  And that car was spotless and in mint condition.  Until my kids spent the day in it.

Indian Snapshots *1*, *2*, *3*,*4*

Indian Snapshots *4*

17 Feb

The other day I was perusing Expedia for flights (one of my favourite ways to pass a cozy winter evening) and I was so tempted to book a trip to India. Luckily my husband was sitting next to me and gave me one of his “are you off your head?” looks and I managed to not press PURCHASE.  I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist though.

Here is the next batch of my favourite images from our recent trip to Delhi and Rajasthan.

2014indiajodhpur1I’m pretty sure this guy is paid to sit at the Jodhpur Fort and smoke his pipe.  And I’m also pretty sure there are thousands upon thousands of photos of him out there in the world.2014indiajodhpur9I loved this little girl’s brightly coloured outfit.  She was swirling around and giggling and generally making everyone in her vicinity smile and feel happy.2014indiabagru2One of my all time favourite things about India has to be the decorated trucks you see everywhere you go.  The time and effort that the drivers put into embellishing their trucks with stickers, tassels, garlands and pompoms and hand-painting the bumpers is unbelievable.  I asked one of our drivers to stop at a roadside “Truck Decoration” shops and I bought a suitcase full of all of the above.  Judging from the owner’s reaction I’m pretty sure I was the first tall blond female customer to enter his shop.  2014indiaudaipur6Woman doing her daily washing in the Rajasthan countryside.

2014indiabharatpur3Our bicycle rickshaws in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

2014indiajaipur4Even pigeons like to photo bomb.  Amer Fort, Jaipur.

2014indiatajmahal4Rest time. 
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Jodhpur. The Blue City.
2014indiabagru5Indigo pit.  Twenty metres deep.  I had to keep a hold of my son because he was way too interested in finding out if it was indeed twenty metres deep. Bagru, India.

2014indiaudaipur1Our breakfast table at our hotel in Udaipur. You can see the famous Lake Palace Hotel in the background (remember it from Octopussy?).

Indian Snapshots *1*, *2*, *3*

Days For Girls Update

12 Feb

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A little over a year ago I posted here about the non-profit grassroots project called Days For Girls.  I had just started up Italy’s first (and only) team and was really excited and full of ideas of how I could build up a community of women who would be willing to help me help girls around the world manage their monthly menstrual cycles with ease and dignity.

I’ll be honest, at the beginning it felt slightly awkward talking so openly about periods, pads and menstrual flow with complete strangers.  But I’m happy to say that I am now 100% comfortable talking about every detail of women’s reproductive systems with everyone from the local baker to my car mechanic.

For those of you who have never heard of Days For Girls I’ll quickly re-cap what the project is all about.

Days For Girls was started by Celeste Mergens in 2008 after working in a Kenyan orphanage and noticing that a lot of the girls weren’t educated about their menstrual cycles nor equipped to deal with it.

Soon thereafter Celeste started up Days For Girls which is an incredible and supportive network of volunteers around the world who make and put together re-usable menstruation kits that are then delivered to girls in need in over 60 countries around the world (over 60,000 kits have already been delivered).

These kits last for approximately three years and have literally changed the lives of girls and women who before had to miss school or work due to their periods.  This in turn has helped lower school drop-out rates in many areas as well as less loss income for days missed at work.  So much good!

This project has come to mean so much to me over the last year.  I’ve introduced Days For Girls at many local clubs and events and have always had so much enthusiasm from everyone I’ve met.  Even the sweet and hilarious 85 year old man who kept insisting that they would make perfect pencil holders before realising their real use.

One of the most common reactions I see from people as I explain the project is the feeling of shock when they realise that they had never actually thought about this problem before.  We think of helping people with food, water, clothing and shelter but rarely does it come to mind to help girls deal with monthly menstruation and educate them about women’s health and the female reproductive system.2014daysforgirls2 To hear more about our Indian kit delivery and see photos click to read on… Continue reading

Indian Snapshots *3*

2 Feb

After a whole week of being sick with a really bad stomach flu (like REALLY bad) I finally feel like a human being again.

Last week I didn’t even have enough energy to plug in my hard drive and wade through my India photos.  If you know me you’ll understand that means that I was practically on my death bed (have I ever mentioned I tend to exaggerate a teeny tiny bit at times?).

But I’m feeling good today and managed to put together the next set of my favourite images from our recent trip to India. Sometimes I can almost taste and smell the memories of that trip just by looking at the photos.  Love that so much.

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Tasseled pillows in the market place.  I resisted.  And I regret it so much.

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Miniature eggplants and the sweetest red carrots you’ll ever eat.

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Basket of flower garlands ready for the temple.

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This woman had so much character.  My kids were terrified of her though.2014indiadeegpalace5

We were so fortunate to have a guided private tour of this old palace in Deeg.  The ornamental tiger cage (for live pet tiger) was a favourite feature.  The kids spent hours running throughout the grounds, jumping over fountains, avoiding gangs of monkeys and having the time of their lives with their friends. A favourite day on our trip in India.2014indiajodhpur6

While visiting the fort in Jodphur we came across this sweet little parakeet.  He was the most curious little guy who seemed to love getting his photo taken.  If you’re interested I have about 659 other photos of him…2014indiajodhpur8

This is his shy pose.2014indiajodhpur12 I almost can’t look at this photo because of the sadness of not being able to get a hot syrupy bowl of Gulab Jamun is too much to bear.  There is nothing like it on earth.

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Temple visiting.

Indian Snapshots *1*
Indian Snapshots *2*

Indian Snapshots *2*

22 Jan

I’ve been slowly making my way through more of the thousands of photos from our India trip. Sorting, editing, deleting and putting them in all sorts of absurd and confusing folders on my laptop. Unfortunately this will drive my husband crazy when it’s time to start making our photo book in the near future.

One of my major goals for 2015 is to master a system to organise and store all my photos. I break out in a sweat just thinking about it.  Please, wish me luck.

Here is the next batch of my favourite shots from our trip.


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Can you spot the two turbaned men in white?

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A little urban garden in the courtyard of a palace guesthouse.  I contemplated stealing those flags.  But resisted. (Ghanerao)

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Woman at temple in Udaipur.

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Expect to see fresh floral garlands in every single on of these Indian Snapshot posts.  These garlands were adorning the holy motorcycle shrine that I mentioned in the last post.

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Ladies doing the daily washing at the lake in Udaipur.

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Beautiful door.  Stray dog. (Ghanerao)

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This is the friend of the yellow turbaned man from Indian Snapshots *1*2014indiaghanerao13

He pulled this pipe out of his turban and asked me to take a photo of him pretending to smoke it.  I’m still wondering what else he has stored in his turban. (Ghanerao)

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Found this shot on my camera.  Taken by my daughter who has obviously adopted my love of photographing her feet.

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Perfect spot for some spiced chai first thing in them morning. (Ghanerao)

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I don’t know what these little steps along this blue wall were for (they are overlooking a lake).  But right after I took this photo they were covered with frolicking monkeys trying to make eye contact with us. (Deeg Palace)

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I wanted to get a shot of him entering this little room.  This is what he gave me. (Agra Fort)

Indian Snapshots *1*

Indian Snapshots *1*

16 Jan

As some of you may know we just got back from an absolutely amazing two weeks in India.  It was such an invigorating (and at times slightly chaotic) trip for the five of us.

From the minute we arrived in Delhi all of our senses were on over-drive and we loved it.  Not everybody does, I know.  Visiting India is one of those manic experiences that has you on your toes every second of the day.

The range of emotions that one feels while visiting India is vast. There is is always something to marvel at, something that makes you cringe, something that makes you catch your breath, something that makes you look away, something that brings tears to your eyes, something that puts a wide grin on your face or something that makes you realise how fortunate you are to have such a comfortable and happy life.

But more than anything India offers so much beauty and colour.

Visiting India can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster.  But in the best way possible.

As I did last year for our trip to Morocco, I’ll be posting a series of my favourite images of our trip over the next few weeks.

Enjoy!

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This sweet old woman loved having her photo taken and was delighted when I showed her the image on the screen of my camera.  We bought the loveliest flower garland from her to leave at the nearby shrine and then we passed out Kinder chocolates to all of her grandkids,  She giggled the entire time.  (village of Ghanerao)

2014indiaghanerao3I can’t even begin to count the amount of doors and entryways that I fell in love with during our time in India.  Indians know how to combine colours like no other people on earth.  The brighter the better.  Words to live by in my books. (Ghanerao, India)

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A tiny temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god.  The colours, the garlands, the posters, the man handing out milk sweets.  Perfection.  (Deeg Palace)

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As I mentioned on IG during our trip, India deteriorates in the most delicate and beautiful manner.  The layers of pastel coloured chipped paint made my heart skip a beat.  It even matched the stagnant lake water (that was most likely hosting more than a few diseases). (Deeg Palace)

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India was covered in beautiful bougainvillea while we were visiting.  Everything from hot pinks to soft oranges to vibrant yellows.

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Bells, garlands, saris, turbans, prayer strings, bindis, drummers, flowers and three kids who were taking it all in in awe.  Image taken at the infamous Om Banna Shrine (dedicated to a holy motorcycle) outside Jodhpur.

2014indiaghanerao7A really friendly old man who seemed to think I was nuts to want to photograph him.  Next time I’ll include a photo of his friend sitting next to him who kept fishing large items out of his massive red turban. (Ghanerao, India)

A Kid’s Life: India

22 Nov


Hello all.  I’m still here (after over a month’s absence on Jillian In Italy).  We’ve had a difficult month but things are slowly starting to get back to normal.  Thankfully.  All I can say at the moment is that I’m so grateful for my family and our good health.  So so grateful.

Today I wanted to share a new interview in my A Kid’s Life series.  Learning about regular family life and traditions from around the world is one of my favourite things and since I started this series a few years ago I’ve learned so much about different cultures around the world.  And as much as I love to hear about how different a culture is from the other side of the world I also find it so fascinating that there are so many similarities between all of our daily grinds.

Today we’re going to hear from Kanchan and her family who live in Dehli in Northern India.  I actually “met” Kanchan on Instagram (follow her here) and I was immediately in awe of her colourful photos of their life and surroundings (not to mention the gorgeous colourful fabrics that she sometimes photographs!).  I’ve been fascinated with India for years and we’re actually in the midst of seriously contemplating a family trip there in the near future.

From the beginning Kanchan was warm and friendly and so open to share her family’s daily life and culture with us here on Jillian In Italy.  Kanchan, who lived for over 20 years in Dubai, decided to return to India so that her two daughters would be close to family and friends and learn and appreciate all that Indian culture has to offer.

So let’s hear all about their life in Delhi.

A temple in Delhi

A temple in Delhi

What country do you live in?

We live in India

How many kids do you have?  What are their ages?

We have two girls.  Diya is 12 and Naina is 10.  And we have two beloved daschunds.

At the Amer Fort, Jaipur

At the Amer Fort, Jaipur

Are you and your husband the same nationality?
Yes, we are both Indian

Do you both work?  Or does someone stay at home?

I used to work for an airline in Dubai (Emirates).  Now I am mostly at home with my girls.  My husband does financial consultancy from home.

How many languages are spoken in your house?  What one(s)?

English and Hindi.

At what age do kids start school in your country?

Most kids that we know start school at two and half years old.  By three and a half they go to Kindergarten in a proper school.  Our schools are mostly English medium and the curriculum is 10+2.

Continue reading

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