After several months on varied trails I took some time out the last few months to visit my India, the country of my birth and the country on my passport. After a few weeks in the hills I stumbled up to this small town in Rajasthan that has an annual camel fair. It is here at Pushkar I realised that I got the smell, taste and feel of the India. A proud nation holding it’s head high and happy to flaunt it’s rural root’s. I eat in the local shop’s three times a day and I forgot often to take back change often more than a hundred rupees each time. Every time I forget the waiter or the shopkeeper rushes behind me to return my money. I was amazed and overwhelmed with the honesty of these people. They were not as educated or rich or well versed with the way’s of the modern world, but they were honest people and took pride in the fact .
The urban Indian existence has gotten too corrupted with the razzmatazz of material thing’s driving people’s desires and actions. Killing people for financial gain seems now to be a all too common thing in urban offices and homes. In that strident march to get ahead and show off their latest gadgets, cars, girlfriends and material goods, we do not mind hurting one another. But out here in the middle of the desert a different sense of India is thriving in all it’s glory. There may be material poverty here, yet there is a wealth of spiritually from inside. Cost of living is not high either and they know how to have as much fun as we do in our urban den’s. No pubs, discos, foreign liquor or denim jean’s here. They take pride in made in India things. Folk’s here enjoy a jalebi and lassi with kachori and dal like it were caviar perhaps. They smoke their hookah’s in the evening instead of fancy cigar’s and you could not tell if they wish it otherwise!
The women dance with their flowing ghagras and sing folk song’s. No luxury sedan’s here and they enjoy the camel ride and take pride in their horses. I walked into the camel fair in the afternoon and was told their was a horse called Bhura whose selling price was more then one crore (just a shade less than $200,000). So much for the latest BMW 7 series. All dressed up in his green orange and red head gear Surat the horse trader told me about the intricacies of buying a horse “ This one is for 10 lakh’s (about $15000) , he is white and has ear’s that are open , his face is long which mean’s he is very good looking , of course he is from Punjab.” . he said with pride patting the nose of the horse. “ This one is 25 lakh’s (about $38,000), he has slim long leg’s and large hoof’s , his upper body is more muscular then the rest . He is a race horse and thus command’s such a high price.” It is all genetics then in the horse trade I thought as I strolled around the stable and saw the horses enjoying their dinner of grain and straw.
Ambling around as the day led to dusk I walked upto the Pushkar Sarovar, a holy lake and a place of peace and tranquility with bright Diwali light’s glittering it’s bank’s in the evening. I walked down to the Pepal tree and prayed beside the Tulsi Tree. On the bank’s of the lake sat sadhu’s feasting on the Bhandara (free feast as far as I could tell) that was arranged. I asked one sadhu who was wearing a very fancy and colourful headgear if I could photograph him “ No way give me five hundred rupees then only will I let you photograph me.” I was amused and remarked in Hindi (my mother tongue) “Baba ho car paise ki batein .” A sadhu (someone who has renounced) and yet you ask for money? He glared at me angrily “ Kyon baba ko bhook nahi lagti, paise ke bina khana kaise khayen ge. why? don’t sadhus get hungry, without money where will we find food” Homespun wisdom perhaps and a sign of the times, we all need money and I need a monetisation plan the way I am living. The lake side was a site of great peace and I stopped there for a while to soak in the atmosphere and wonder.