The entrance was draped in sheer burgundy organza, embroidered with patterns in golden thread. A trio of glass pendants hung above the doorway, slightly swaying in the breeze and guarding their flickering candles. Incense burned along the walkway, scenting the night and curling into the darkness.
Within the house, the living room glowed with warm light. A pillow encrusted with metallic sequins and beading showed the design of an Indian elephant.
More candlelight fluttered within, illuminating a comfy couch overflowing with pillows, and an ivory chaise with a blanket so soft it seemed made of silken fur. Feathery ferns lined the bay window, while the delicate fronds of a Norfolk Island pine radiated on an intricately carved stand.
Everything here was designed to stimulate and enrich the senses – the scents, the light, the textures – and everything quelled the worries of what was outside. In here, there would be peace. In here, there would be laughter. In here, there would be love and friendship and the reminder of all the good that was left in the world.
On a tray, the Amber Jewel was dispersed among several martini glasses. A rich golden-hued cocktail, it came garnished with star-anise seed pods, each lending a smoky seductive drawl to the saffron green tea base and ginger vodka accents. From deeper within the home came the pungent aroma of intermingling Indian spices – cumin, turmeric, coriander, Garam masala, and curry – for dinner the next night. For now though, there was company, and the invigorating first flush of happy familiarity and long-time friends.
So began our Indian Birthday Weekend Celebration with the Cape Crew, with a cadence of clinks and the promise of good times…