Scott: We arrived in Chennai after a thirteen-hour flight from New Zealand via Australia and were met by a general transportation strike. After hitching a ride on an Army truck, we caught an overnight train to Cochi in Kerala, on the west coast, and spent most of a week there on a houseboat and in tea plantations.
Next we flew up to Delhi and traveled around Agra and Varanasi, where I got the worst stomach illness of my life. A week later, back in Delhi, I recovered enough for us to take a bus up to McLeod Ganj (where the Dalai Lama lives) in Himachal Pradesh. Saskia stayed there and did yoga, while I traveled solo and then with a new Japanese friend through the Kinnaur Valley, right on the Tibetan border. While Saskia did downward dog, I participated in a puja for the rain to come, got drunk in a temple drinking grain alcohol with the locals, smoked bidis and generally lived it up on about $2.00 a day. We returned after a time to Delhi and then flew back to Amsterdam.
Saskia: I stayed in McLeod Ganj the longest of any place on our whole trip, about 2-3 weeks, while Scott was gone. I lived with a Belgian couple and spoke Dutch the whole time while studying yoga. It was such a mix of cultures and an amazing experience. While we were in India I began making and selling macramé jewelry as we traveled and collected beads. Someone liked a choker I was wearing and asked me to make a necklace. It was essentially my Classic SdV style.
Scott: What I loved most about India, what fascinated me the most, was just how different everything in Indian culture felt from our life at home. I wanted to learn more about Hinduism and the multiplicity of karma: the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong are much less defined than in the West. The rich history of the country is woven into all aspects of life. Storytelling is prized and the truth lies somewhere within each tale.
Saskia: I loved the vibrant colors of the women's saris, the street markets with awesome finds displayed on little mats on the ground, the majestic buildings, Taj Mahal and the devotion in Varanasi. I can close my eyes and remember climbing the rocky path up into the hills for my yoga class.
Each day in the studio we return to India in a small way, holding chalcedony stones from Rajasthan or tiny Ganesh statues. We may look out our studio windows towards New York Harbor, but we can close our eyes and be transported back to the Ganges River, smelling the curry mingling with burnt incense and plastic, gas fumes and something sweet underneath.