My CNG (tuktuk) was making its way through the crooked and narrow streets of Jodhpur, the picturesque Rajasthani “blue” city. There was cattle making their way, and there were a couple of camels passing by us. My “driver” – a guy I fought so hard to ignore the day before (he kept changing his rates, and I hate dealing with such people) – signaled that we had to wait for an oncoming human traffic to pass by. A groom-to-be, riding what seemed like a donkey (“No, it’s a horse,” quipped my driver), was being paraded around the city streets, his head, his face completely covered with flowers on a string. There was a marching band, with huge trombones leading the pack. This was a wedding ritual that I’ve actually encountered several times during my Indian sojourn. And this groom-to-be was expected to reach the bride’s house after a festive going-around ceremony.
We stopped by the dusty corner of the road. Then with my interest getting the better of me, I started snapping. Soon thereafter, a cute little boy stood in front of me, encouraging me to “Pik-chur me… pik-chur me…”, without any reluctance. His excitable glee was infectious. I looked around and somewhere in the parading throng was an elderly who said, “Take his photo.” With such encouragement, I snapped away as my CNG hummed back to life. We were leaving the city center to visit a palace!
Some of the most delightful moments during my Indian trip had been encounters with children. They are such welcoming souls. In the last decade or so, I have had a gradual change of heart towards children. I now adore their curious spirit, and when they smile, boy! You just know that you’re looking at some of the sincerest of smiles that an adult like me will ever encounter during my lifetime. Kids are little angels. Whenever I see them smiling at me during such trips, they calm my nerves. And if these encounters give a false sense of security during backpacking trips, I am nevertheless grateful of such hospitality. God bless them.
This is the Eye in the Sky.
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