Grown up in India - my very first salwar kameez
Sweet new Indian friendLinda hustles me out on the breezy, battered window-less dust-filled bus to buy material for my first Salwar Kameez. In a big local store way out of town -packed with women (and quite a few chaperoning men ) shopping for their salwars and sarees - she advises me on what to buy, obviously enjoying all the attention given to her as the 'owner' of this pale skinned, pale eyed foreigner. After helping me choosesome gorgeous blue silks she mutters under her breath ' And do you want to buy a brace'? 'A brace?' Wondering if it's something to do with the way I walk, I foolow her into one corner where she plucks a box from a high shelf and lets me peek at the pristine white edge of an an upholstered, bolstered playtex thingy that looks like a throwback to the 1950's, inside. "Oh you mean a bra,' I blare loudly. 'I dont wear one - its too hot!" Silence settles like lead as images of my wanton foreignbers uncvontained breast float in the air. Everyone swivels to stare at me and Linda, flushes bright red, as she hustles me out into the street....To be continued--
Decked in flowers - first day o flife as a Maharena
Just when you thought luxury could not get more luxurious you find a place like Chittoor Kottaram in Kochin. The latest volume of my sublime-to-ridiculous, from palaces-to-slums two month tour of Kerala India, .I have been dubbed Maharana of a -massive!-Maharajhs palace for several nights, with the right to order with -just about- anything I want: 'Madam Refreshingly NOT subservient, but at the same time unbelievably attentive to their Maharenas every little whim, so far butler Milton has summoned a group to enact FABULOUS Ottantulham dance for my eyes only, ushered me out on a private boat tour of Kochi's amazing chinese fishing net area; covered me with sweet-scented flowers, ; prganised an ayurvedic massage, STUFFED me with the best vegetarian indian meals I've ever tasted and has arranged for me to have a complete Keralan saree wardrobe and hairstyling makeover .... 'Madam,if i fail you you are welcome to cut off my head,' Milton my butler assures me. ,Watch out Milton, I'm starting to get used to being a Maharana so if you try and make me quit the throne I might just have to use that sword... \More about Chittor Kottaran? HERE..
Heidi Fuller-love Travel/food/lifestyle writer/photographer, contributor to more than 70 travel publications worldwide.