I’m often asked about what inspires me. While each one of my travels offers up such unique and memorable sights and experiences, I can truthfully say that when I walk through the alleyways and marketplaces of India, I feel more alive and energized than anywhere else. That all-encompassing assault on the senses is the most invigorating feeling and captures the intensity of this ancient and enchanting place. The colours, sounds and textures of India touch me in a very special way, transporting me to a timeless world that manages to build a bridge to the present, but which still preserves that wonderful layering of history, cultures, and creeds.
When we collectively imagine India, we first imagine colour and spice – scarlet saris and crimson threads of saffron, hennaed hands and turmeric-tinted dishes, the Sublime blue of the Lord Krishna statuary in temples and public spaces. India is a kaleidoscope of colour, which we humans are instinctively drawn to. In her blog, The Aesthetics of Joy, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee* discusses how she spent a decade studying the connection between colour and joy: ‘From the beginning, it was clear that the liveliest places and things all had one thing in common: bright, vivid color.’ For Furniss, colour is not so much an element, but rather ‘a happening: a constantly occurring dance between light and matter.’ And once you start to see colour around you, truly see it, it becomes impossible to ignore – you simply want more of it. Says Furniss, ‘noticing color and light has changed the world around me. Bright hues have become little gifts for me — small infusions of warmth and life giving me the power to make my own hearth, my own sun.’
I found my own joyful moment on my first trip to India. Driving from Delhi to Jaipur on a rough road that snaked through the city to the countryside, I remember looking out the window at miles and miles of bright yellow mustard fields. I was struck by splashes of fuchsia, green, and purple punctuating the ochre. I discovered that these bursts of colour were the saris, billowing in the breeze, of the woman working in the field. That vision, that moment, will always remain with me. Aaaah, the intoxicating colours of India! May you be equally inspired!