Always interested in exploring the fluid relationship between art, literature and travel, we were instantly drawn to the aesthetics and writings of Cereal. After exchanging a few emails about the story, we found ourselves talking to Rosa Park, the editor of the magazine, about organising Cereal’s first ever journey to India. It turned out that both Rosa and Rich Stapleton (the creative director of the magazine) had always harboured a deep curiosity to explore the country but just never got around to it till now. Over the next few months, numerous Skype conversations ensued with Rosa and Rich regarding their travel preferences and the style of content to be produced from the collaboration. Keeping in mind their personalities, the visual style of Cereal and their interest in architecture and art, we zeroed in on the regions to visit, the activities to undertake, and the schedule of travel.
The entire journey was made up of many memorable vignettes and experiences. For instance, at Gokarna, the Cereal team attended an art therapy workshop led by our creative director Rosenda Arcioni Meer while at Mihirgarh, they spent a day with a magnificent stable of Marwari horses. In Jodhpur, the sunset and sunrise often became our allies to get the perfect architectural shots of the blue city. The spectacular Mehrangarh Fort played host to us multiple times as we captured its minute architectural details and took in the views under different hues of light. In Jaipur, like the “pink” city that stood in opposition to the “blue” city of Jodhpur, we spent early mornings exploring the sandstone covered walls and monuments of the old city. Jantar Mantar, with its intricate geometry of shadows, was an alluring subject in itself while the Nahargarh Fort gave way to various expansive views of the city from a vantage point.
While our focal point in Agra was the inimitable Taj Mahal, Delhi gave us the perfect backdrop to explore the diverse traditional and contemporary sides of India. Our itinerary for the capital city included a few handpicked heritage sites like Qutub Minar and many contemporary cultural spaces. At the behest of an indie filmmaker at Lodhi Gardens – one of our last stops– Rich posed like a yogi for a few minutes, while the rest of us enjoyed a good laugh.
In retrospect, everything about the journey turned out to be what we had envisioned together. It was a journey where different streams of writing, photography, art, architecture and travel converged like a dream. For now, this particular journey has culminated in the most recent issue of Cereal magazine which has a section dedicated to Rajasthan, India.
As Virginia Woolf said in To the Lighthouse, “It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole…”