Many of the details of our journeys can, over time, get washed together. The colours run, and it all becomes a bit of a blur.
But there are certain travel moments – perhaps the most visceral of them, that strike a chord emotionally – that stick with us.
My morning at Mumbai’s Dadar flower market was one of them.
At exactly this time last year, when the sky was still inky and star-flecked, my husband Pete and I headed out to Mumbai’s biggest flower market.
As the day began to brighten, we wove through the already heaving alleyways of the market, filled with 720 kaleidoscopically-coloured stalls.
Each was jammed with woven baskets overflowing with bright orange marigolds, roses, jasmine, hibiscus and soft pink lotus flowers. The temples and hotels buy them for their shrines and decorations; the locals use them for ceremonies, rituals and protection.
Chunks of that trip have, already, melted away, despite my attempts to photograph and write it into my eternal memory.
But this intoxicating experience, perhaps simply by virtue of it being the embodiment of the colours of India, I recall as vividly as I did 365 days ago.
The honking of the horns and the babbling of Hindi. The crunchy green smell of the freshly cut stalks and the bright floral burst of the blooms. The stall owners pointing and laughing at us silly firanges (the Hindi word for foreigners), as they offered us flowers to tuck behind our ears, poke into our pockets, and drape around our necks.
Has my mind simply cut away the periods of boredom, to leave more room for these more vibrant and embellished experiences? Or was I simply more present on this particular morning than many of the others on this trip?
I’m still not sure. But whatever the reason, I’m so grateful that this morning is still there, bright and in full bloom in my mind.
Dadar Flower Market is on Senapati Bapat Marg, Dadar West, not far from the Dadar train station. The best to visit is 4-9am.