A bit of Chennai

   The peace and calm of the Ashram was wonderful for a week, but it is now time to work, so yesterday morning I left the Ashram, heading toward Kerala
 where I will meet my partner, Mathew, and work on our "ayurvedic" collection.     En route to Kerala, I stopped in the city of Chennai to change planes.
I deliberately chose a flight connection that would give me the longest time  possible  in Chennai so that I would have time to go into town from the airport.        There is a  shop in Chennai called "Amethyst", which I love! I went there a few years ago and was curious to see it in its new incarnation; they moved and expanded recently.
       Amethyst is a "concept store"--it has a variety of well chosen "lifestyle" products from all over India, many of them handmade...everything ranging from clothing and accessories to home furnishings.  Amethyst also has a cafe on a veranda  overlooking a lovely garden with lotus ponds. It is very evocative of life in the former Chennai,  when it was known as "Madras" during the heyday of the English East India company.
       I have noticed that  in some of the new and most stylish "concept" shops that are opening in India,  there is often a  "flower shop" section.
      When I first came to India 3 years ago, I don't remember ever seeing a "flower shop" at all--only a few people selling flowers on the side of the road every great once in a while.
       It makes me realize how the whole concept of  a flower shop is such a luxury in general-- i.e., a shop where you  can go and purchase something as
 un-necessary as fabulous flowers.  Also,  I realize  that having  a flower shop  is probably a status symbol to the Indians-- it demonstrates that are now part of the monied world where there enough people able to enjoy such luxuries, and  who can patronize such a shop.
     At Amethyst, there is a very prominent sign on the veranda proudly pointing you in the way of their new flower shop section. I was curious and decided to check it out. Not surprisingly, the style and ingenuity I found could only be in India.

the veranda at Amethyst

the flower shop at Amethyst
inside the flower shop