Varanasi: “Breaking news”

We broke for the Indian border on the 28th of December with a feeling of relief, sadness, and excitement to see new places and get away from ones that suddenly didn’t feel so safe.

Varanasi: “Welcome to Varanasi.”

People waded into the Ganges to bathe, bent to wash clothes, stood beside the water to place floating lights on its surface, fished about in the depths for errant cricket balls, and in some cases took a quick healing drink (I didn’t join them on that one).

Orchha: “Hello Auntie!”

It is the place where I finished my first ever sock. In a restaurant where rats ran in and out of the kitchen, jumping off shelves and around jars, causing a French woman to feed her dinner to a passing street dog and say to the owner “You should beeee ashaaaaaamed of your restauran’, eeet eeeez full of rats!” before storming out.

Agra (Taj Mahal): “A teardrop on the face of eternity”

The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal “A teardrop on the face of eternity” according to my trusty Lonely Planet. Which leaves me feeling that nothing I say can really better that. Still I’ll give it a go…

Jaisalmer (Thar Desert): “In the morning we go to meet your camel.”

I was first introduced to my camel as Michael Jackson (the camel’s name, not mine), but I later found out that his real name was Rallu. A much more camel-sounding name if you ask me.

Jaisalmer: “Oh… It go ice.”

It is clear to me that the waiter has the power to freeze water at will, and that sometimes, maybe when he has spilled birayani down a customer who would have been a big tipper, or a cow gouged at him on the way to work because he looked at it funny, he loses control of his power and ends up showing it to us mere mortals in the form of sudden soft drink freezing.

Udaipur: “Are you jamisponding me?”

There is really only one thing about Udaipur that people go there for as far as I can tell. A shaken but not stirred thing that is regularly viewed with golden eyes and pointed out with gold fingers, and… oh hell, I cannot be bothered with anymore James Bond hints. You get the idea.

Bundi: “The work of cobbling rather than men.”

Fort Monkeys, breakfast monkeys, “Your monkey stick doesn’t scare me” monkeys. A whole monkey army of which sat around us as we climbed to the fort, perched on every wall and window, eerily following us with dark monkey eyes…

Pushkar: “The animals are arriving already!”

Off in the distance camels stretch into as far as the eye can see. Single humped, double humped, dark furred and light, rough haired, and two toed. Chewing with lower teeth jutting out from the split in their floppy camel lips. Adorned with cascades of all-coloured pompoms, plaits, and beaded trinkets, looking proud and silly all at once.

Pushkar: “Two hundred and thirty four years, and now change!”

Posted by on Nov 13, 2008 in India, People, Purl Interrupted, Travel | One Comment

A Pushkar newpaper seller celebrates Barack Obama’s election victory. He shakes M by the hand, after posing for a photo with his newspaper-displaying bicycle. “Two hundred and thirty four years,” he tells us excitedly, “and now change!”