Carmel Magazine

Summer/Fall 2020

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Page 146 of 171

C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 2 0 145 E ight women paused at the door to the private home, wear- ing the saris of India and the masks that have become a uni- versal symbol and reminder of life in the time of coronavirus. Their temperatures were taken, and questions of health were asked and answered, before each stepped inside and exchanged her mask for a satin veil, adorned with sequins, gold braid and coins. In a vibrant back garden draped with colorful fabrics, the women sat silently, in turn, while a young henna artist adorned their hands. Only one of them was born in India. Some had visited; others had not. But all had gathered on that gentle spring evening to partake of the cul- ture and discuss a book whose pages had taken them to 1950s Jaipur. Through vivid descriptions and the kind of storytelling that allows the reader to disappear unto herself, each had visited the world unfolding in her mind's eye. These were the members of a local book club who had come together to taste four courses of an Indian meal catered by Aabha Indian Cuisine in Carmel, and to share their experiences of the novel they had read but not finished, as they felt the need to explore it further with the author. "The Henna Artist" was picked by Reese Witherspoon's book club, run by her media company Hello Sunshine. Holding the Hands That Feed Her Alka Joshi's "The Henna Ar tist" is a Tale of Redemption and Respect B Y L I S A C R A W F O R D W AT S O N

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