A Spice of Life in India

by Marilyn Rodrigues-Wright

A leap into the unknown India


Namaste/Namaskar "The spirit within me honors the spirit in you." A journey to incredible India truly ignited my spirit and inspired me to embrace all that this vast and colourful country had to offer. An assault on the senses is the only way to describe a place as vibrant and as varied as the sought-after spices that flourish across its land. The adventure began in Goa where grand Portuguese-inspired mansions in shades of turmeric orange, mustard yellow and red capsicum, peppered the rural landscape. Clove-brown water buffaloes could be found partially submersed in swampy rice paddy fields accompanied by salt-white egrets. And, soft golden nutmeg-hued sand cushioned my path on the beach. Even the crabs had an impact with the coriander-shaped designs that they created just beyond the sea's reach. Goa introduced me to a world where the car, motorcycle and tuk tuk scattered like tossed cumin seeds on the roadways; horns incessantly beeping. The cinnamon-shaded soil that coated the soles of my shoes in Goa continued in Kerala. From Chinese fishing nets that extended over the Arabian Sea like star anise; to the tamarind-tinted backwaters of Alleppey and the iridescent green tea covered plantation hills of Munnar--Kerala is like the masala of it all! Next I flew from Cochi to Jaipur: The walled city of Jaipur was painted pomegranate pink in 1853 in reverence of the royal visit of Prince Albert. On the steep, winding road to Jaigarh Fort, the arid grounds are home to allspice-toned boars, cardamom-coloured wild green parrots and dark vanilla-tinted monkeys. It was thrilling to next find myself on the back of an Indian elephant who was adorned with a saffron-shaded blanket. Amber Fort was our destination. My driver then navigated the car to Agra after passing herds of not only cows on the highways but also camels! The most beautiful, romantic building in the world is in Agra--the breathtaking Taj Mahal. So unbelievable that this grandiose building was constructed as an elaborate tomb for love lost and yet millions gravitate to it to proclaim love for one another. Our final destination was Delhi which introduced itself two hours in advance in the form of a thick, fenugreek seed-coloured haze. It is said that over 50 spices are contained within a proper Indian curry. So it is no wonder that this extraordinary country exudes a similar variety in landscapes, people, architecture, religion, wildlife and food! Namaste/Namaskar