This One Time, in India…


At Ovae we love to travel and we’ve been lucky to spend time in lots of interesting places. Jackie and I got together over a few wines and the conversation turned to India travel stories. We thought this could make a great blog, so we poured more wine, and got chatting…


India. A country of contradictions, extremes and hardships, but also one of generosity, spirituality and beauty. One step onto the hot, noisy, colourful, and energetic streets of India, and you’ll be punched in the face by everything life has to offer – both the good and the bad. In a day you can go from laughing hysterically to bawling and back again. You will never forget an Indian adventure. 

Here are some stories from our travels that made us smile.  

I’m famous!:

“As I was walking down the street a breathless woman approached me. She was making a film and she just HAD to have me in it. I was EXACTLY what she was looking for. So much so that upon seeing me, she had jumped off her passing bus and run across the freeway to talk to me. I declined, but she begged me to think about it. Her flattery must have got to me because I thought ‘why not’ and I emailed her. But she never responded... I guess I wasn’t what she was looking for…”

-- Kez, 2004


“When I visited the Taj Mahal, I kept getting approached to pose for photos with couples and families. Not just a quick phone selfie, but full professional photos with a paid photographer directing “stand here, gaze there etc”.

I often laugh thinking that there is a picture of me on someone’s mantle piece. A beautiful romantic couple in their best sari and suit, and me beet-red, sweating, lazy-eye, in a pair of old Thai fisherman pants.”

-- Kez, 2004


The facilities:

“I was on an overnight sleeper bus. At a toilet stop we were told that they didn’t do headcounts and it was our responsibility to get back on the bus. I took one look at the toilet and walked out. I mean this was a really bad one… By the time I found a toilet that was bearable (and by this I mean a quiet bush… Sidenote, always wear a maxi skirt!), the bus started driving off – with all of my bags still strapped to the roof! I had to chase after it and throw rocks at it until it stopped.”

-- Jackie, 2008


“Using public squat toilets is always a juggling act. You need to be able to get your pants down without letting them touch the ground, while trying to get toilet paper out of your bag (always BYO!), without dropping your bag, all while trying not to fall in that suspicious puddle on the floor. And if your thigh muscles aren’t up to all that squatting, you may as well stay home.”

-- Kez, 2004


 “When I used to travel to remote places, I was so scared of using the toilets at night that I would deliberately dehydrate myself so I wouldn’t have to go. Sure, I had a constant headache and blurred vision, but it was worth it.”

-- Jackie, 2002


Exotic delights:

“Food is a real connector in India. Often when I was travelling alone people would share their meal with me. You’d be on a train and they would pull out a feast of curries, rices, breads, and chutneys. We rarely spoke the same language, so there was lots of pointing, nodding and smiling.”

-- Kez, 2004


“Picture this: Middle in Delhi (the closest ocean is over 1000km away). 46 degrees heat. A deep-fried bowl of whole prawns that had been left to go cold. And a sweet little Indian family watching on to ensure I enjoyed them. I knew they must have researched what Australian’s like to eat and gone to a lot of expense and trouble to get these for me. So I chomped through them – my fear of offending them outweighed my fear of hospitalisation. And… I didn’t get food poisoning!”

-- Jackie, 2010


“I tried to buy beer in Calcutta. You would have thought I was buying guns. It was like a black market operation with closed doors, hushed discussions, exchanges of money, and secret deliveries... And the beer was warm.”

-- Kez, 2004



“Once I was staying at a farm and I was shocked to find a mouse in my room. It was eating my bra – literally holding it up with two hands and nibbling like cartoon mouse eating a block of cheese.”

-- Jackie, 2003


“In India cows are holy. Cows are always asleep in the middle of the road and the traffic just waits for them to wake up and move on. We have had numerous shipments delayed because of sleeping cows. And if you ever come across a five-legged cow – even more holy – there will be so many worshippers visiting it for good luck that you may as well cancel the rest of your day.”

-- Jackie, 2008


Bodily functions:

“I was in a meeting with some Indian suppliers. We were sitting on the floor cross-legged discussing fabrics and our production. Without batting an eyelid the gentleman beside me would rock onto one side, raise his bottom and leg, and fart. Right in my direction! He would then softly say, “Excuse me.” There was no embarrassment or concern, but big smells! I was doing everything I could not to laugh or gag!

-- Jackie, 2009


Cleansing of soul:

“I was on a river boat trip on the Ganges, one the most sacred places in the world for Hindus, and I swear I saw a dolphin swimming in the river… Nobody believes me as you wouldn’t think anything could possibly survive the amount of raw sewage, rubbish, bodies and industrial waste that is pumped into it daily…. In fact, on this boat trip, a fellow traveller decided that he needed to cleanse his soul and he swam across the river… He spent the rest of his trip in hospital.”

-- Jackie, 2006


“One day after several months in India, I was admiring my tan. But then I started to give it a rub, and it came off in my hands! Turns out daily showers were not match for Calcutta’s pollution.”

-- Kez, 2004




If you ever get the opportunity, go to India. It will challenge you, change you, and fill your soul.


And if you can’t go just yet but still want a little piece, check out our latest range of leather bags. We are excited to be producing in India again, and about our new partnership with a local family-run business that have been working in the leather industry for over 30 years. Jackie spent some time with them earlier in the year and you will love what they have created.

Love Kez

Ovae’s Resident Blogger



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