The Stranger’s connect : At the Rainforest Music Festival… and beyond

It’s been a while since I wrote on the blog. Ironically, though the last post spoke of ‘a full circle’, it has worked as anything but closure. Not that I didn’t mean to write anymore, but if I had come across that post on another blog, I would’ve assumed that to be ‘the last of sorts’. Quite contrarily, that post ( weeks later) continues to bring me conversations with strangers.

In one such recent mail from Geneva, (if you are reading this, thanks once again for writing :-)), my ‘stranger’ wrote to me about soul to soul connect. And the last few years of my life flashed right in front of me! My most cherished memories, some of the best conversations in the last years have been with strangers, some of whom I have lost along the way and some, have gone onĀ to become my soul mates (I believe you have many in one lifetime!).

One thing these experiences have made me, is a HUGE advocator of solo travel and open mind – so far it’s been the greatest potent combination I’ve seen, to make special connections. šŸ™‚

Recently, I was at the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, Kuching. I wasn’t traveling solo, and sure enough, when I am not, I don’t make very many strangers’ connections (that perhaps explains the deadly combination observation earlier on).

But something said this trip was going to be different – and I’m glad it was :-). There was music, a cultural village, meeting a few locals, world musicians, many a travelers and a strong strangers’ connect!

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Heart the craft in Auroville

So I was at Auroville last year. A community, an international township in the south of India, which is a melting pot of different cultures, people from different parts of the world, for whom this is home.

The idyllic setting and the lovely people creates the perfect atmosphere for both silence and conversations.

Amidst the organic food, the lovely workshops, concerts in the amphitheatre on a beautiful moonlit night, the stunning handicraft there swept me off my feet! Simple and charming. Soulful, like everything else in Auroville, and what the place stands for. Innovation, Beauty, simplicity, recycling, earthy, creating employment opportunities (some of the stuff is made by women from surrounding villages). Truly inspiring!

Here is a low down on my top picks:

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Shades of old Delhi…

The word ‘old’ brings to mind a vintage image – worn out, yet charming. An image that speaks of a time that’s gone by, and that lived to tell the tale.

One such magical place is Delhi. My fascination with the city began with reading City of Djinn. William Dalrymple’s account of Delhi, ‘City of Djinn, a year spent in Delhi’, is in fact much more than that. It opens your eyes to the abandoned ruins of the past and lets you see it come alive!

Among the various pockets of Delhi, one of the most fascinating is Chandni Chowk (a moonlit square) nestled in Purani Dilli (old Delhi). Chandni Chowk is one old paradise, where you see something new each time you go there. Built in the 17th century by the great Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, Chandni Chowk was once a grand market. Its full glory, a canal ran through the length of the street that reflected moonlight (hence the name).

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One thing leads to another…

A couple months of hiatus, traveling across different continents, relocating to a new country and a month-long intensive yoga workshop at the foothills of the Himalayas later, I finally have my feet and my mind in the same place, enough to write again about the splendours of art and craft. It is in fact one such splendour (which I have actually known about for couple years now), that completely renewed my energy (something they invariably manage to do each time I go there!) and compelled me to start writing again.

Stree Shakti

StreeĀ Shakti is an empowerment scheme for the women who live in and around the village of PurkalĀ in Uttarakhand.

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