Bebeji Jagdish Kaur, my mother-in-law and mentor, epitomized for me the Punjabi spirit! Believe it or not, I felt that I knew her even before we had met because I felt the love and care she poured into her work. I saw it in the embroidery! Hardworking, dominant, and fun-loving, she embodied the creative talent Punjabi women use through the work of their hands.

She had sent me, not only a diaphanous, delicately embroidered shawl called a phulkari (flower work), but also a precious bagh (garden )-- several pieces of red-dyed, coarse homespun cotton completely covered in gorgeous, satin-stitched embroidery made by her own hand. It is a riot of colors, rarely if ever found in the West. This one was deep orange with hot pink, white, pale celery and navy blue accents in stripes and with geometric borders of squares and triangles. It is worthy of a museum. I wore the phulkari over my western-style wedding dress when my husband, Parmpal Singh, and I were married (the first time) in the USA. I felt like the most privileged of brides!

The bagh that is wrapped around me on our wedding day is the backdrop for a beautiful photo of signature Punjabi veggies--mustard greens fenugreek leaves (methi), and radishes snapped by Meghan Dhaliwal, Bebeji’s grandniece, that combine the beauty of fresh Punjabi ingredients with gorgeous signature Punjabi textiles.