India.. What can I say, it absolutely blew me away.. The people were so kind the women so colourfully dressed, The children so beautiful and the men so charming, and the noise and the colours. My lasting memory will be of the crazy driving and the traffic.. overtaking the the elephants on the road along with the camels. the lorry with 40 people hanging off it going along the motorway . and the awe inspiring beauty of the buildings and the country itself.
Having never been to India before, and realising that if I wanted a certain type of cotton that I had been looking for, I would have to go and now was the right time.. I was very lucky that a friend in the UK, put me in touch with a very wonderful lady who was able to manage smaller quantities for production of clothing that were designed by me.. Having been caught out a few years earlier with minimum quantities of 400 of this and 300 of that.. It nearly bankrupt me, and I did not want that to happen again..
Lesson number One.. don't always listen to the experts!
We flew Jet airways, which was very good, and did a quick upgrade to business class at the airport. having been asked to take 600 euro's not to fly, which at any other time I would have jumped at ..we had to be on good form when we arrived as there was lots to do.. So.after a direct non stop flight, with flat beds to sleep on through the night, and a fresh breakfast beautifully served we hit the ground running, and went straight off to meet the lovely Swati and had our first taste of beautiful home cooked Indian food. Having sent Swati drawings of my designs earlier in the year to be sampled, I was looking forward excitedly to seeing how the block printing was carried out, and how the blocks were made, and what colours were available...but that would have to wait until tomorrow as by the time we had finished going through all the designs and samples she had sent over to me prior to us arriving. We were absolutely pooped..
Lesson number Two.. organise and prepare at all times ...
The next few days just seemed to whizz by.. we left early to go to Jaipur, which was a 7 hour drive.. which was the most terrifying trip of my life.. buses coming towards you on the wrong side of the motorway.. Camels crossing the dual carriageway. Cows sleeping in the middle of the dual carriageway.. people hanging of the sides and the back of lorries bombing along at 50 miles an hour.. Horns beeping non stop.. and lorries everywhere.. But eventually we did arrive, and it was just amazng.. We stayed below the Amber Fort, which was enormous..overlooking with the most beautiful empty abandoned palace on the lake.. which was quite sad and eerie.. We were then lucky enough to spend a morning going around the Ahnoki Factory, seeing how the production team worked together, and what a wonderful place to work in.. The women were so brightly dressed, and so happy chatting away and checking, sewing washing cutting and creating the most beautiful clothes for different customers around the world. With a creche and nursery for the younger children, and there own vegetables and salads being grown on site available for the staff as well as serving there local cafe in town, it is a tribute to Rachel and Prateet and John and Faith as to what they have achieved..
Lesson number Three.. try and love the life you live ..