On a way to the most western part of¬ Rajasthan I stopped in some larger city named Jodhpur. I agreed with Ravi to meet me at the train station. In a meanwhile, as I was waiting for him, the usual attacks by taxi and rickshaw drivers followed. To defend myself, I would give each one of them a death stare. The killing stare. In one moment, one of them came to me from my back and grabbed my shoulder. I turned around and gave him my deadliest stare so far. I thought that the hand that touched me was a hand of one of the taxi drivers but actually it was my new host’s hand. Ravi’s. Our very first contact started with my death stare and we are still laughing about this today. We sat on a motorbike and went towards his home.
An hour before we met, Ravi already hosted a girl from Vietnam that will stay at his place for a couple of days. Ravi is one of the best and most honest people I have ever met in my life. The true kindness shines from his eyes. A type of kindness that you don’t get to witness often. Even today, every morning I get texts from him containing a motivational and spiritual sentence.
After two days of sightseeing, the time came for me to continue my voyage to the most western point of Rajasthan. Lucy joined me in that mission of mine so we continued to travel together. We took a night train and started our trip to one desert city situated on the very edge of India. This small town is situated around 100 kilometres from the Pakistani border deep in the Thar desert. It is also a fortress-town and the name of this mysterious place is Jaisalmer.
With a morning call of a new day, the train arrived to Jaisalmer. On our way out of the train, a little boy with a speech impediment started to follow us. However, it didn’t stop him from communicating with us. Barefoot, with torn clothes and dirty, the boy was leading us towards the city centre. During our common journey, the boy was greeting everyone around him and was greeted by everyone likewise. As far as we could understand, he has no parents and he is left to himself. But only happiness and a joy of a child shined out from his eyes while the toughness of his life still
Actually, I think he never got a chance to learn how to speak properly because he spent the most of his life without parents. A lot of children in India are left to themselves since their early childhoods. The other big fact is that some kids that do have parents have to follow their orders and beg on the streets. It is exactly for that comely and innocent look in their eyes that children have more chance to get some money than the adults. A really sad story but that is all India for you. Those kinds of things are so normal here that I don’t even notice them anymore.
Once in the city, we stayed at the new couchsurfer, of course. Our new host is again an owner of a half-bankrupted hostel that is just about to be shut down. Just like in the previous blog, the same story all over again. Again, I’m staying with the host that manages his bankrupted hostel and that hosts me in it. Oh-oh, this doesn’t seem right again.
Already the second day my new host Gyan and his friend invited us for a desert safari. Lucy and I were very sceptical about that safari because we didn’t know will they charge us for it at the end or not. A very tricky situation. To get out of it, I explained my point of view to them regarding safaris and similar activities. This is true, at the end. For my ethical reasons that resulted with my age-long vegetarianism, I don’t like that kind treatment of animals. I don’t like animals being exploited just for a human pleasure, just for a human fun. Not to mention the money that those innocent animals bring to their owners. That was my big argument for the explanation about why I don’t want to ride any camels in desert. Lucy also declared she doesn’t want to go riding. I can’t remember what her reason wasanymore. Gyan and a friend insisted to go to desert, without camels. ”OK, there won’t be any camels. I respect your decisions”, replied Gyan. He and his friend have two motorbikes – each of them his own, so we went towards the desert. I sat on Gyan’s bike and Lucy on his friend’s bike. I really forgot the friend’s name.
The desert is around 40 kilometres away from the city so we had an hour drive ahead of us. One hour of Indian ride without helmets and without rules. Priceless. On our way to the desert we picked up some new friend of Gyan that was also heading there. He jumped on the motorbike so three of us continued towards our destination. I don’t know, bud suddenly everybody goes to that desert. That cannot be good.
Thirty minutes later…
We were stopped by a police. ¬¬¬Two police cars intercepted this empty road and stopped everything suspicious passing by. Look, there’re three of us on one bike. We went off it and the interrogation begun. At one moment, the guy we picked up on or way to the desert set on the bike and ran away. The policeman is explaining to me that the motorbike is not registered, there aren’t any papers for it and that is not even a Gyan’s property. He asked me where I met them. “Watch out, those people are thieves and scammers.”
In the background, Gyan is talking to someone on a phone and soon enough the same guy from the “other side” of a phone call comes to the scene. In a meanwhile, our friend, Django Unchained that ran away and stole the bike, comes back on it. It cannot be that he already registered it…
After a few minutes of discussion between all the suspects and after the dominance of this man that Gyan called, everything somehow resolved and policemen let us go. Awww, now I don’t know anymore if is it smarter to stay with the police here or go to the desert with the “criminals”. Still, I decided for the criminals so all three of us set on the motorbike in front of the policemen and went down the road to abyss. Ah, that India.
Ten minutes later…
We arrived to the desert. Guess what was waiting for us in the middle of the desert? A camel!! A motionless camel with its old and also motionless¬¬ owner. Let me explain this newly created drama to you now. Gyan’s fiend, not the Django unchained one that ran away with the bike, but the other one that Lucy was riding with, rented a camel and paid for the one hour of riding. None of them gets how you can say no to something like that and the once completely still old man suddenly came to life and started to yell. Lucy and me sat on the floor and listened to the ten minutes long argument between Gyan’s friend and the old men. At the end, somehow everything sorted out, the old men squeezed out some money for his effort of coming to desert. The friend paid him something, the old man went quiet and we moved on.
Five minutes later.
We finally reached the destination. Contrary of what was expected, there was actually a very relaxing and benign atmosphere. Everything that happened before was swiftly forgotten.
We waited for the sunset to walk out this unordinary day. After the sunset, we spent a bit more time in the desert watching how the full moon steals our view of stars.
After the midnight became seriously close, it was time to go back to the city. Just like on our way to the desert, I sat on Gyan’s bike and Lucy on a friend’s bike. After an hour of again unforgettable ride, we came to the hostel but Lucy and Gyan’s friend were nowhere to be found. Aw, what happened to her now?
Half an hour later, she finally arrived. High on adrenaline, she ran to our room’s door and started to explain what happened. On a way back to the hostel, in the pitch dark and in the middle of an empty road, Gyan’s friend stopped the bike and tried to kiss Lucy. He started to beg her for only one kiss and to flatter her that she’s everything he has in life. It took her some time to convince him that that kiss is not going to happen. At the end, our friend accepted a failure and let go. I can only imagine how it like was for her, alone and stuck in a dark desert with this decent guy. Argh.
For all these weird situations that happened that day, Lucy decided to leave town and to continue her journey to Nepal.
Despite everything, I decided to stay for a few more days.
I was in Jaisalmer for the Holi Festival of festival of colours began. With this festival Indians celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It takes place every year on the first day of spring. In order to mark the awakening of nature, the tradition is throwing colours. Throwing them on everything that moves. At the moment, the whole India impatiently anticipates it because there’s only one day left till the beginning of the festival. Powder colours, water colours, water guns, multicolour water balloons… all of it will fly up in the air tomorrow. And me? Why am I sitting on the edge of balcony? Because I’m looking for the perfect spot for tomorrow’s jumping into the epicentre.
With the down, the early morning buzz started on the city streets. After two or three hours of doubt that has arisen in me, I decided I should join the celebration. I covered my camera with transparent foils so it doesn’t break in this madness. I went for a short walk down the street to see what is going on here. As soon as I left the house, the first thing that happened was that I got hit in head by some kid covered in colours sitting on a motorbike. I continued walking as if nothing had happened but at the end of the street I ran into a gang that waited only for me. When they saw me, they stopped their conversation and focused on me. Only a few seconds later, a big multicoloured cloud formed above my head. Ten seconds later, I simply disappeared… in the colourfulness.
Only two minutes after I left my safe zone in a hostel room, I was fully covered in colours. Once that happened, it didn’t matter to me anymore. Together with my camera, I stared to enter “the most critical” colourful areas.
Do you know that paradox feeling when the more time you spend with someone, the less and less you know them? That’s what’s going on with Gyan and I’m staying at his place for alreadysixth day. With every day, some things make less sense to me.
Today I really don’t even knowif is he a couchsurfer at all, or if he owns the place, or if he’s a manager of this hostel or only a worker, is this a hostel at all, am I here for free or I’ll have to pay something at the end? In short, everything here became suspicious. Doubtful thoughts gathered in my head all day long and at the end I concluded that I’m imagining it all. However, something happened that brought back doubt to my mind. A couple of hours ago, his best friend, a new person, walked into my room and simply and shamelessly asked me: “Are you up for sex?” I should thank him for that because this exact question speeded up my doubt about buying the train tickets to leave this suspicious desert area.
It is a time for me to disappear from here!
Lucy, wait, you were right!!!
Because I’m currently on a journey that represents whole my life in a way, I’m not going to say how unpredictable this life is, but I will say how this trip is unpredictable. I’ve been on a road for already half a year and I admit… I’m dead tired. To finally rest from it, I took a little, month-long break where I will spend the first 10 days on a strict meditation and meditate all day long and not say a word in 10 days. For the other 20 days I arranged a volunteering in north of India, under Himalayas, in order to try to go into some kind of routine and charge my batteries.
BUT, again that big and unpredictable BUT. A couple of days ago I found out that a Bollywood film is being shot here in Rajasthan and that they’re looking for extras. I applied and entered a crew. Again… the shooting will last for 4 days and I’ll learn around 800 HRK (200 per a day). For the Croatian standard, that would be an equivalent of around 3000 HRK.
So I postponed the meditation and volunteering but I have to go around the city for a week and wait for the shooting to begin. So, again, no rest…I’m moving forward. I’m only afraid of one thing and that is that I postponed a meditation because of money. Because of material things, I postponed working on a spiritual life. No, that’s not a good sign indeed!
But, what can I do when Bollywood loves me 😀
Jaipur is the capital and the biggest city of Rajasthan. The other name of it is “The Pink City”. The city centre is full of pink fortresses, houses and buildings, and that resulted in this city’s nickname. The city’s landmarks are definitely elephants, attracting every foreigner’s attention. And this is the city where I found my perfect couchsurfer. My new host is the owner of the elephants’ farm situated around 15 kilometres from the city. The big house with even bigger courtyard will be my home for the next ten days. The word is that he hosted more than a couple of thousand people so far! That is the fact that puts him within the world’s leading couch surfers.
The elephants’ farm owner is a tough guy, gentleman, a real charmer…but above all, a really nice guy! Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the one and only Pushpender!!
The same as riding camels does, riding elephants opposes my beliefs too. At this farm, I was only an observer. Several people work at the estate. The one that came closest to my heart was an old man that was cooking Indian tea all day old and served it to everyone around. I think I drank a hectolitre of Indian tea during those few days. Every morning, while having a tea, I was sitting and observing the elephants. Every morning hordes of tourists filled with enthusiasm and hope that they will reach a deep nirvana would come to ride those elephants.
It was very interesting for me to watch such a humongous animal that lives in fear of one tiny little man, despite its great strength hidden within and despite the fact that it can destroy everything around it in a couple of seconds. Fear. Fear is the biggest enemy of humans and the largest human weapon at the same time. Just as same, the men taking care of elephants are constantly yelling and threatening them with bats. In elephants’ eyes you could see the sensation of giving up on and a simple obedience of the owner’s orders. And I? I could be only an observer in that game that took place every morning. The observer from a background. I had two options: to leave this place or to take the best out of it. I chose the second and that is the reason why I spent every morning with elephants.
The shooting of Bollywood movie finally began on the fifth day of my stay here. But India wouldn’t be India if everything went as scheduled. From the initially planned four days of shooting, only two remained. The other two just disappeared. The reason beyond is unknown to everyone and it will never be discovered by anyone. Just like for the last one, white people playing enthusiastic and somewhat stupid tourists in the background were sought for this film.
I found out during the filming that it isn’t a Bollywood but Chinese movie made in cooperation with Bollywood. It is called “Lost in India” and it’s a humorous story about a lost Chinese in India. And yes, watch this… the person also working on this film is no more no less but the one and only JACKIE CHAN!!! The rumour is that he’s in the city these days and that he will show up on set.
Oh well, this journey becomes more and more crazy.