Sunday, 3 November 2013

A Taste For The Exotic


 It's like a jungle sometimes...


For as long as I’ve been able to swing a sari, I have been fossicking for the 'foreign'...that other, different, unusual, multi-flavoured something-something - so divergent & distant from the everyday experience as to make me feel suspended in mid-air.



Skywards, soaring


As a child, I couldn't articulate this 'something'...I also didn't realise, I WAS that something, until of course, it was pointed out to me! I came to Australia from India, with my family, at age three... & life before this was, & still is, all black & white & tainted around the edge in a family album.
  


All aboard the kangaroo express (Siblings in sepia)



Rickety remembrances


To my knowledge, by school age, I was just a slightly 'tanned' version of the little golden-haired girl sitting next to me. It was not until grade one, when my rice & lentil lunch-box was passed perniciously around the playground with accompanying snorts & chortles that the 'alien', freak within was born.



Hands off my nom-nom nourishments


That same, shamed-self that prayed nightly into adolescence, "Dear Jesus, let me grow up to be Ms Venezuela!" (while not Venezuelan or ever likely to grow beyond five foot), was set on a path of simultaneous longings for sullen sameness & defiant difference. 



Praying to my floating lotuses for a sash & a situation


The schizoid tendency to want to 'blend', whilst also 'shine', is in many ways, common to all children. Each self-conscious, struggling to find a cosy corner to either retreat or rebel. But growing up in a foreign country...that search for self & identity takes on new dimensions.



Lettered & longing


Fast forward six years, & voted least likely to get a boyfriend for the dual damming’s of slightly curved nose & preoccupation with perfect genuflections in church, solace for a future foreseen with unrequited love was found in drawing, reading & sewing. If not for the books, I'd have made a stellar Victorian spinster - adept in petit-point crochet & tea-sipping. But bully for me, a thirst for history & art within the academic arts, boosted my self-esteem & thwarted a life destined for the nunnery.



Buddha, the wandering ascetic


My unquestionable deliverance came in the form of a fabric - a three by four handloom from Hyderabad. As light & bright as air, cascading like a cloud, pliant & possibly producing its own atmosphere, I was taken, exhilarated & yearning for more. I was 16 &, yes, not yet kissed by cotton... but yielding.



Fabrics of all fantastical feel & facility


I had found my connection to the world. That indivisible thread that patterned its way across my heart (& eventually the globe). Therein, fabrics, textiles, ceramics, colour, paint, pottery, Princes & Pharaohs became my lovers. Where friends had boyfriends, I had Botticelli. Where they sported tattoos, I sported traceable transfers. When they got cars, I got on the Orient Express & fled for dear life into undocumented unknowingness.



An edifice of erudition


Travel has been my constant & my guide for three decades, taking me back to myself & my original playground, where foreign foods & flowers aren't ashamed to fill the space, push for preference or be passed around. 



The global market & mellifluent meeting place


The 'exotic', as it has come to be known BY me, has come to me like relatives - some familiar, some unrecognizable, strange, alluring, frightening, demented, charming & always 'relative' to wherever I am...& I am almost always most comfortable wherever I DON'T fit or blend.



 Multi-purpose sticks of scented celebration


I have found this 'other' right here in Australia too - the festive, furtive, freaky & familiar - & realize it's not so much the 'cultural' experience I've been seeking all these years but the 'human' experience, in all its multifarious forms, which, as anyone can attest, is largely similar wherever you go...just dressed in slightly different colours.


 
Oompa in Oz! (Belgian grand organ)


It would seem with a little research, imagination, creation & adaptation, my sensation of mid-air flight & otherworldliness can be had anywhere, anytime - at a priceless pinch & a beautiful blink.


Natal & good natured.
Beauty is what you take with you

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#All Writing & Photography by Rani.Cee

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4 comments:

  1. Oh Rani, your words never fail to take me in and see through your eyes. So happy to have left my 4 walls and entered The Palace for what seems like too brief of time. Until next time.... xo Benita

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    1. So Lovely to see you Benita.
      Thanks ever so much for visiting and adding that extra 'Sparkle' to the Palace! Means a lot.
      Hope you are well & happy Bella
      Much love, Rani Xx

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  2. My sweet and soulful Rani, I had to get the boy to read this and he loved it, especially 'English language with personality development' Hahaha! Your words are so beautiful and personal and as always these photos are fabulous.
    I don't know which pic of baby Rani is cuter either - this or your gorgeous Face Book post!!!
    Proud of you hon for your honesty and friendship xo Mags

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  3. Aren't you clever leaving a comment Ms Anon, hehe :)
    Thanks Maggie, you're a treasure!
    Love to you & Mr Anon. Always a delight to read your beautiful comments
    Rani Xx

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#Thanks for bringing some extra sparkle & cheer to the Palace today. I'm delighted to read your comments (& Shimmying too!!!)