India – the land of unique mixture of colors, spices and human diversity
I always saw India as an interesting destination to travel to, at some point during my lifetime. It was the diversity that India offered that drew me there, the amazing blend of colors and smells that left no one indifferent. I was truly fascinated with the human diversity, spirituality, landscapes, spices, music, and food that always brought me joy.
As a bonsai artist who has seen bonsai all over the world, I was very interested to see the raw materials and bonsai trees in India. I wanted to understand how they cultivate, think and design bonsai trees there.
There is no coincidence
Then came the invitation from Sujata Bhatt on behalf of the Bonsai Study Group of the Indo-Japanese Association in Mumbai, run by Jyoti & Nikunj Parekh
In early March 2020, I was invited to deliver demos and workshops in 3 cities: Mumbai Kulhapur and Chennai, celebrating the association’s 40th year
My relationship with India started 3 years ago at the BCI Conference in Taiwan, where I first met Sujata, Jyoti and Nikunj. I met Sujata by chance (though I don’t really believe in coincidence ..) when she volunteered to take my picture near the Israeli flag (my flag).
I was very excited and accepted the invitation.
What we didn’t know back then was that the Corona pandemic would soon spread all over the world.
In the weeks before I boarded the plane to India, the Corona virus had already spread in China and other countries.
In India, there were only 3 cases registered at that time and in Israel there was one. I left my country with mixed feelings. I felt excited along with deliberation and apprehension.
The warm welcome and the indulgent treatment I received started at the time of my arrival to India and every place I visited left a tremendous impact on me.
In the workshops I led, the audience was mainly women. This was fascinating to me and very different from what I was used to in Israel, where most bonsai enthusiasts are men.
I met bonsai students thirsty for knowledge, speaking a very good English, willing to listen, being curious, pleasant, welcoming, warm and loving. Ideal learners. Their enthusiasm and curiosity swept me away, and enabled me to convey my insights, way of thinking, vision and perception of bonsai design from the early stage of raw material to the bonsai tree.
In looking at how raw material was selected, it was important for me to clarify that the crucial considerations in making a choice should be: Navari, stem thickness, stem maturity, branch distribution, and raw material health.
I was impressed by the variety of existing species, some of which I knew and worked on like ficus, juniper, bogonbilea, surinam cherry (pitango), morea and some that were new to me like Parmena, Brazilian Rhine Fresh, Aritia and other tropical varieties.
Moments in life are opportunities to develop
In summary – every moment in life is an opportunity to create something new, and experience events in a whole new journey.
A journey of countless choices that began with thoughts and desires, countless opportunities to say yes, to experiment, to grow and develop. In India, I learned much about people, landscapes, ancient cultures and human love.
I have always appreciated simplicity and enjoyed the simple daily things like a good conversation and delicious food, and for me, India stands for exactly that, along with simple acceptance and love.