For our last few days in Southern India, we stayed in Chennai. Some guide books claim this city as merely a stopover to the next destination, I beg to differ! There is fabulous shopping, relaxed temples and classical music and dance seemingly around every corner. It's hectic yes, but super friendly.
We plunged into the mysterious world of sari shopping at a gigantic shop full of luxurious silks, locals and confused sales girls. They were bewildered at us, mind you, as I searched for the origin of a swath of embroidered silk that was just laying on a counter. This was not in their repertoire, a wild goose chase for bizarre Americans. We managed to buy the piece of fabric (after much debate, sighs and asking of all sorts of shop workers) and a few more special textiles I cannot wait to play with back in the studio!
After about an hour of chanting, singing, dancing and praying -- mixed in with a little service by the priests who were lighting incense and creating a big flower altar -- we walked out in a speechless daze. It was unreal, this evening of ours. I especially loved how the girls had obviously worked so very hard for this evening and when it was done, they all put on pashmina shawls (it was a million degrees in there) and grinned ear to ear. All the grannies were beaming with pride too. It reminded me of all my dance performances growing up and the celebratory aftermath with my parents. The crowd went next door for some refreshments and we tut-tutted back to the hotel. WOW.