Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Exotic Marigolds

Exotic Marigolds

My love of Scotland, and Britain in general, is such that whenever I board a plane with my passport in my pocket, it is usually headed in that direction.  Delightfully, my general appearance - pale skin, blonde hair, light eyes - grants me passage as a local most of the time, at least until I open my mouth, thus allowing the escape of a faint hint of a southern accent, an accent that I myself am totally unaware of but which, apparently, others can detect at twenty paces.  Even then, when my accent reveals me as an outsider, Edinburgh cab drivers still ask me over for tea upon finding out my mother was a MacDonald.  I’ve been stopped on a London street by lost tourists inquiring the best route to the British Museum and was once, during the presidency of George Bush Jr., included in an amusing “can you believe these Americans” conversation with an elderly gentleman one rainy afternoon outside Holyrood Castle. 
Nothing is sweeter than disappearing into the everyday life of another country.  It’s truly the best way to experience travel, at least for me.  However, after spending two hours in India on Saturday, that may be about to change. I had such a wonderful trip.  Of course it would have been, for I had some charming traveling companions.  Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith.  Yes, I went to see the new movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and now I want to go again.  I also think I want to go to India, even though I would most certainly not fit in as I seem to do in Britain.  Locals would pick me out in a nanosecond.  The heat might cause me to swoon and I would, no doubt, get woozy riding backwards in a tuk tuk.  
But, still.
  I want to go.
I want to see the colours of India.  Yellows and oranges unlike any on the colour wheels of my experience.
  I want to stroll down a dusty road alongside a grey elephant. 
 I want to see camels waiting curbside like taxis.
 I want to stand knee deep in marigolds the colour of fire.
 I want to hear unusual sounds, stare into smiling black eyes, drink strange tea.
  I want to wear a blue sari.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a wise little film.  In eloquent fashion, it tells us that life, though indeed short, never loses its capacity for adventure but that we can, by living a life of negativity and fear, lose our own.  And what a sad state that is.  If we turn away from beauty often enough, we soon cease to see it at all.  If we plod through our days with our ideas chiseled in stone - eyes shut, ears closed - our lives slowly evaporate down into something hard, something cold.  Life is, at least to my eyes, so full of beauty and serendipity my only worry is how to stretch my arms wide enough to contain it all.  
So yes, now I want to go to India. 
 And if Bill Nighy, or you, want to come along.... more’s the better for me.
Here’s the guidebook I’m buying!


  1. Oh yes, I want to see it too. It just arrived here on Friday - I think it will be a pre-wedding outing/escape for the MacDonald 'girls' - me and my two sisters.

  2. Hello Pamela:
    Oh yes, we too often dream of travel to India for so many of the reasons you cite here. And, with having a parent who had been born in India at the time of the British Raj, the connections seem closer still.

    But, we worry at the poverty that is all too apparent there and the conspicuously deep ravines that separate the rich from the poor.

    We have had the opportunity to see the film 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' for some time now but have been put off by reports from friends. Bill Nighy, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are, of course, so very talented. But, perhaps, there is too rich a mixture of acting talent here?

  3. I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie - who could resist such a cast? I heard an interview with Bill Nighy about his role and, yes, he would be good company!

  4. I am glad to read about the "Exotic Marigold Hotel". I now know I must see it. I wish I could share your adventures in Scotland. My mother was a Campbell but I don't think my coloring would pass for a native.

  5. Ah, yes! I've been reading about the movie and adore Judi Dench -- so your enthusiasm for Exotic Marigolds just makes me all the more impatient to see it. I had a planning professor who spent much time in India. His lectures evoked all the colorful intricacies of the country -- and had all of us eager to visit.

    (Please give Edward and Apple special hugs because we too are heartsick at Wilf's departure.)

    Joan and the Barkalot Boyz

  6. I was speaking to a friend not five minutes ago about this movie...she loved it!

    I am excited to see it myself. I too would love to go to India but as JAne and LAnce said I am a little afraid of the poverty.

    I hope you have a geat day, Elizabeth

  7. It came out here a few weeks ago, and we went to see it en famille, parents, 21 year old son, 18 year old daughter. We all enjoyed it. It got some sniffy reviews in the broadsheet press, for not being intellectual enough. One can have too much intellect and not enough enjoyment. Our son particularly enjoyed it because he will be travelling through India this summer en route to his volunteering job in Nepal. He does realise India will be a touch grubbier than in the film!

    Bill Nighy is always a bonus. Loved that final shot of him and Judi Dench!

  8. How I do enjoy your way with words!! I have added this to my movies to see list.

  9. I saw the movie yesterday and I want to see it again, too! I went to India a few years ago for a month, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I would go again in a heartbeat. Where, oh where is my Bill Nighy??? !

  10. I'm going, I'm going - I need to find friends to take along so we can share the delights. Thanks for a lovely post.

  11. Hello Pamela

    We just came in the door and saw the 4.00 p.m. show. I danced down the aisles of the theatre to the drumming music. I loved it and what a cast of actors. It is definitely worth seeing. I felt transported to India.I loved Tom Wilkinson's role. Despite such busy streets and traffic, there is order. I was reminded of Rohinton Mistry's novel "Such a Long Journey" and "A Fine Balance" where he describes the various religions and customs of Indian.

    Like you, Pamela I have no hesitation in seeing it again.

    Thanks for a great review

    Helen xx

  12. I can hardly wait to see it! I am waiting for my mother to come home from a trip so we can see it together. India has been on my radar for quite awhile, but finances are keeping us from travel for the moment. Savings accounts are in place however!

  13. Oh Pamela I love to hear of your travels; even to the cinema!! very excited to see this film! Thank you!

    Thought you would enjoy...Interview with Leslie of Segreto Finishes and her fabulous Book Giveaway!

    Art by Karena

  14. Enjoyed your post! I too felt exactly the same after I had seen this film that I should immediately book a flight even though I have already had four long trips exploring India.

    The India of the movie is very much Rajastan though...it's amazing and this is where you should head to Jaipur and Jaisalmer.

    Go...you will find it amazing.

  15. Such a good film- really comforting but though provoking in a not earnest way.

    I think you'd fit in just as well as the characters do- which is to say very well- I've just watched an interesting programme with Felicity Kendall about Shakespeare and India- she grew up in India admittedly but she fitted in beautifully- Indians seem so welcoming and also have a great sense of humour- which we Brits do and which you obviously get!

  16. You've inspired me to finally set a Sunday afternoon aside for this movie.
    What I would also like to see is Edward in his best Maharaja's bejewelled turban. I know he has a liberty print ensemble somewhere in his wardrobe!

  17. I saw that wonderful film when I was on holiday in Australia in March. I escaped from the crowd and walked myself down to the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre. It's on my list of things about the holiday to blog about. Not only is it a film theatre but an amazing gift shop - and a bar.

    We went to Goa some years ago, which is Portuguese India and perhaps not the same as other areas. It was lovely and warm and, yes, colourful. Also dusty, hot and crowded. Outside the hotel 'compound' we were constantly accosted by people wishing to sell us things, and a few beggars. I find it difficult to travel to countries where the standard of living for most is so different to the one I enjoy. From my experience, I'd say the film doesn't really portray the true experience...then again, what movie does?

    I hope you go to India one day and experience it for yourself. Travel there and to Africa have irrevocably changed how I view my situation in life.

  18. I'm headed to the theatre tonight. Can't wait. Charlie Rose's interview with Judi Dench and the other stars in this movie was delightful. Do wish you would consider capitalizing the word "Southern"; after all, it is where we live, a well known geographical area on the US map, and, of course, a place dear to your heart and mine.

  19. thank you, Pamela; can't wait to see it and hope all the best bits haven't already been seen in the promo.

  20. well... being an ee cummings fan... i capitalize nothing!
    i absolutely loved this movie. it was not only a moveable feast but a feast for all the senses! i swear i could smell the smells and taste the food and feel the heat. lol.
    i thought the acting superb.
    it's a keeper. i'll own the dvd so i can visit again. my chances of going to india in person are very slim. but do go and regale us with your wonderful insightful writing of it!
    love and cheers,
    tammy j

  21. I loved it too Pamela - it was, as you say, such a wonderful taste of India - they got it just right. It was funny, sad, poignant - all the things which made it such a joy to see. Have you read the book? If not I urge you to leave it - I read it afterwards and it is not at all like the film - hardly anything is the same and in some ways it spoilt it for me.

  22. Pamela, go to www.marthastewart.com/bestexoticindiasweeps and enter to win a seven night stay in the land of spice and marigold dreams. The sweepstakes ends in two days. I would love to win myself, but also take vicarious pleasure in other folks joys.

  23. I've wanted to see this movie, and now I do even more.

  24. I do want to see that film, although put that ensemble cast together in any film and I'd know I'm in for a treat.

    I've never been to India. I know it would be what I call a Big Holiday - ones that are life-affirming and inspirational, but also eye-opening and expensive. I need to create more time in my life for Big Holidays!

  25. I'm going to see it this weekend. Bill Nighy is fab.

  26. That is a star studded cast! I've heard such good things about this movie.

  27. Make sure you come in the winter months, everyone.:)

  28. Oh Pamela, I am so glad you reviewed this movie! It will be the one I see this weekend. It sounds wonderful and I loved your description of its theme. Can't wait!

  29. Indeed, a bucket list addition for me!

  30. I am wishing to see the film.

    And I recommend you a book that I'm translating into Spanish. It's not a very "summery" reading, but it is beautiful: "No One Is Here, Except Ourselves", by Ramona Ausubel.

  31. Oh I can't wait !
    We are going to see the film tomorrow afternoon.
    My husband lived in India for a while, he will no doubt enjoy this very much.
    besos !


  33. Butch and I went to see this last week; lovely movie...yes. I adore Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, of course...I'd like to go with THEM.
    The whirlwind of color and sound, especially...so Other, and intriguing! Life lived on the street. A Big constant Procession.

    Christopher, Our songwriter, lived in Nagpur for a year, loved it; he's hoping to get back to record worship music in Hindi, Marathi. Did you see any of the Trilogy of movies Earth, Water, Fire by Deepa Mehta? I saw only Water...h
    ard but beautiful movie.


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!