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Divine Simplicity – Message #7 – Leaving Jodhpur – Thursday, September 15, 2005

on March 23, 2013

I am NOT addicted to e-mail. Just had to get that out. I was supposed to be on my way to Osiyan for my camel ride by 2:00 this afternoon but it was pushed back until 4:00 so I have one and a half hours to kill. I’ve already checked out of my hotel room (which I keep forgetting to mention. I am staying at the Ajit Bhawan, a heritage hotel that used to be a palace. A prince continues to live in one half of the property. So, I have now added to my India experience sleeping in a palace and feeling like I am part of royalty. I already know many of you refer to me as Princess Narmin (as I also refer to myself in jest) so this was quite fitting.) and it’s raining out and too hot to sit in the garden…so here I am, sitting in a subtly lit room, e-mailing away.

 

Today has been a rainy, humid, hot day and I am asking myself if I am crazy to be travelling 90 minutes to Osiyan to go experience camel riding in the desert…can I really handle any more heat? At least I get to travel in an air-conditioned vehicle. And I suppose I won’t have another opportunity to ride a camel in the desert in the near future…

 

My revelation of this week…I truly am a people person. I can hear many of you saying “DUH” but I was all excited about venturing out on my own this past week. However, after four days without much interpersonal communication (other than with my guides and drivers whom I did get to know fairly well, Narayan in Udaipur/Ranakpur moreso than Vikram the past two days in Jodphur due to language barriers – Narayan had an amazing command of the English language and I doubt I will meet another guide who is so fluent…although India has constantly surprised me so maybe I’m wrong on this assumption…) anyway…lack of interpersonal communication…yeah, I really do need people around me…sometimes not even to actually interact with them…just to have them around. The company/companionship…yeah. Important to me. Big surprise, once again. I don’t know if solo travel is for me…and I think the only reason it took me four days to come to this realization was the fact that I understand the local language/culture/way of life…I probably would have been in a tougher position in another country…so, yeah, good lesson learned.

 

This morning I went to visit the Bishnoi Village. The Bishnoi are a rural people who live very simple lives, protect wildlife, are complete vegetarians and who survive more or less on what is provided through nature. The first stop at the Village was at a Muslim family’s home (they are not Bishnoi; Bishnois are Hindu and the name Bishnoi means “29” alluding to the 29 rules followed by this caste). Anyway, the Muslim family living in this Village have a pottery business and I learned all about clay, how different things are made and then had a chance to try out the pottery wheel. The pottery is done by the man of the house and he was quite impressed with my first attempt at making a clay bowl…he said it was better than most first attempts. I found it quite challenging; especially since the demonstration made pottery look quite easy.

 

Making pottery in a Bishnoi Village

 

Second stop was at a home where I was offered Opium…I declined and although the man who offered it said it was fine that I declined he kept asking if I was sure I didn’t want to try it. He ended up having his share and mine too.

 

Next stop was at a Dhurry co-op. Dhurry’s are woven carpets and the one I visited is the home of a well-known Dhurrist (? don’t know if that is what they are called). The family has been making Dhurrys for 500 years and are VERY good at the art.

 

At all three stops, I was so impressed with the housing…felt like I was in a National Geographic story rather than observing reality…it is amazing how creative the village people are and can be. And also, for me it was quite an eye-opening experience to see how simple life can be and how the “modern world” is full of a lot of “extras” that really aren’t necessary. Doesn’t mean I am giving up all my material possessions but it is nice to see what is “necessary” vs what is luxury. I am sure my parents will be most pleased to read this.

 

Final stop was an antelope park…but it had started pouring just as we left the Dhurry so I did not see many animals. We were also travelling in a jeep and while it was nice to have the breeze, the rain was plentiful and we all got wet. We dried pretty quickly, though, too. I have to give MEC a plug here…all my quick dry travel clothing is awesome – very durable, cleans easily and dries quickly! Yay MEC!

 

The kids in the village – awesome! They are super friendly, adorable and sweet. They do not see many “foreigners” so they are super-hyped when they see someone new and follow behind the jeep, come up and say “hi”, ask for pens, etc, etc. I wish I had thought to bring some school supplies…much as I love my Canada flag pins, I know they are not useful to the kids…even though they are excited to get something, anything from a foreigner. I ended up giving the families we visited some money to thank them for letting me visit their home and for their hospitality.

 

My only weird experience today was having an older lady shout at me and shake her stick at me as we drove past her farm. I asked Vikram about that since I couldn’t understand what the heck she was shouting…he said she was admonishing me for my western dress and telling me a proper lady covers her face. Good to know. (In my defence, I was wearing long pants, socks, hiking shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and a bandana on my head…pretty well covered for a North American in a hot, humid country!)

 

On that note, this western girl must sign off…another tourist banging on the door to use the computer…hmm, this sharing business…interesting concept for me.

 

Narmin

 

Camel ride in Osiyan
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One response to “Divine Simplicity – Message #7 – Leaving Jodhpur – Thursday, September 15, 2005

  1. website says:

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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