An Eastward Journey

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This blog post was written by Kate Fisher, Co-owner/Creative Director of Synergy. She is currently visiting India and Nepal, working with our manufacturers and checking in on our factories.

 

It was very sweet to be back in Pushkar after 7 years. It felt like a pilgrimage for me, back to a place I know so well, where I spent so much time growing up and into myself as a devotee of life and of the sacred, and learning to lay the foundation of my business. It was my training ground in business , buying in the markets, working with tailors, and learning how to design clothing, a business school and fashion design school all rolled into a beautiful gypsy village in the desert of Rajasthan. It captivated my young adventurous freedom loving spirit. There I learned the art of international commerce and about a sacred and simple life that exists in the quiet beauty of the village of Pushkar, with the holy waters of the lake as the crown jewel of the desert, where I went for my daily morning oblations and prayers, and brought fresh flower garlands and ghee to my favorite deities. It is the kind of place where when you return everyone stops you on the street and greets you and welcomes you in for chai and remembers exactly how long it has been since you were there last. It is a village I came to every year for 15 years, where I formed deep friendships and connections to the people, the culture, the deities, and spirits of the lake and village. " Sometimes we visit your country and live in your home..."

Going back there this time, was like looking at a reflection of myself in the lake. I could see and feel the parts of myself that were exactly the same as when I first arrived at age 21, and I could see how much courage it took for me to travel to India year after year in my twenties and thirties. I could now see the parts of myself that have changed and grown, and I could feel how so much of my dharma now is about being a mama to my beautiful sweet children and a wife and partner to my amazing husband Henry Schwab who is at home holding down the home front. It is taking a lot of stamina and endurance for both of us to be doing what we are doing now, and I am so grateful that we chose this path, that this path chose us, and that we chose each other. With my pilgrimage back to Pushkar complete , I am now ready to go back to work in Delhi and soon on to Kathmandu to keep the wheels of Synergy rolling. ‪#‎confessionsofawanderlustjunkygypsymama
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KATE'S FAMOUS CHAI

photo     One of my favorite ways to start my day is with making a nice cup of chai. It is a part of my morning ritual that follows my morning meditation and yoga practice. I love the ritual of preparing chai,  enjoying it, and sharing it with my husband.  I like to make mine with the sweeter spices: cinnamon and cardamom and often with a touch of ginger which is good for digestion and warming. I leave out the pepper corns and cloves that are often in chai and in chai mixes, unless I am in the mood for a spicier chai.   My love of chai began in India over 20 years ago on my first trip to India. Drinking chai is deeply rooted in Indian culture. All over India you see chai "wallahs ” making and selling chai on the streets and people sitting and drinking chai watching Indian street culture go down and taking a pause over some sweet Indian tea. One of my first introductions to the prevalence and popularity of chai in India was when i traveled the entire coastline of India by train on a great solo adventure.   Chai wallahs would ride the trains at all times of day and night  toting large pots of chai for sale calling out " Chai" in high pitched voices. It used to be poured into single use clay cups that would disintegrate back into the Earth when done.   As I returned to India over the years, my favorite chai wallah was at the main market bazaar in Pushkar Rajasthan. The chai stall was always clean and a beautiful place to sit and watch the day unfold with women selling freshly harvested fruits and vegetables and flowers in the market in front, Brahmin priests and pilgrims beginning their day of spiritual offerings, and many international travelers and hippies in the mix. In short it was a very colorful scene in a beautiful magical town.  It was my way of starting my day while in India over a nice cup of chai. In India  chai can be made simply as just black tea, milk and sugar or as masala chai (my favorite kind) which is prepared with varying proportions of spices in addition to the milk and tea.   There is another beautiful cultural tradition in India of chai that always stands out to me of being offered chai and tea when in a shop. I used to buy a lot of textiles in India and make a lot of our  clothing for Synergy in India , and drank many a chai with my friends and business contacts there while working on my designs. It was always a welcome break from work to sit and chat over a cup of chai.   Now I love to bring the ritual of enjoying chai into my home space and day and to make a healthier version as in India it is usually prepared very sweet with a lot of sugar and milk. Have a beautiful day starting it with a nice cup of chai and see how your day unfolds, and if a little bit of magic from India comes through in the spices and into your day.   Namaste, Kate chai RECIPE: (Makes 2- 3 large mugs) I always just sprinkle all of my ingredients into my chai pot based on my intuition but these are some guidelines to go by:
  •  4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of organic English breakfast tea
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger cut into a few pieces
  • 1 cup of vanilla soy milk or almond milk
Bring the water to a boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Boil all together for about 5- 7 minutes or longer to get more flavor from the spices. Strain. Add a little honey to taste Enjoy! [caption id="attachment_323" align="alignnone" width="600"] Kate is the co-owner + creative director of Synergy. Here she is on an adventure with her husband and co-owner, Henry.[/caption]