Christmas morning, December 25, 2006
opportunity for a trip to
Fast forward about a dozen years.
Tyagi is a neighbor and friend of my friend and fellow
Of course we said yes.
realized there was a problem. With the wedding in
Even the invitation was beautiful (pictures don’t show its luster). As for the wedding… The magnificent three-day wedding deserves a page of its own.
Jaipur (where the wedding took place),
I just love
The following is excerpted from an online chat with Adam:
12:44 PM me: I'm having trouble writing some of what I want to
say. In particular, I'm curious whether I'm the only one that felt that
12:46 PM Adam: I don't think you're the only person who felt that way, but other than noting it, you may have to give up on conveying it. The feel of a place is a very hard thing to capture.
This happened more than once: We visited a location (a temple or the shrine to Gandhi) that is toured more by Indian people than by Westerners. We were almost the only pale faces present. So someone shyly comes up to us to say hello and welcome. The person speaks no English. We speak no Hindi. Another person in their party has a few words of English, and somehow the meaning is conveyed. We all say where we are from. We all smile warmly and wish each other well. We, the guests, have been well and truly welcomed.
Despite huge volumes of traffic, there is little evidence of road rage. People are tolerant of one another. Everyone yields a little and life goes on. After a while even the American passengers begin to see all this as normal, even enjoyable. After a while, even driving on the left-hand side of the road feels fine.
By "traffic", by the way, what I mean is: an impossibly large number of cars, almost never with only one passenger; camels pulling carts filled with logs; highly decorated trucks overbulging with huge sacks of cotton; busses loaded all over with people, including the tops and hanging out the doors (occasionally unloading passengers in the middle of the street without fully stopping); three-wheeled taxis known as “rickshaws” if run by bicycle or “autorickshaws” if run by motorcycle; bicycles; painted elephants carrying workers or tourists (elephants seemed to be mostly passenger vehicles); donkeys, also carrying loads; oxcarts; horseback riders; motorcycles carrying families of four; women walking with waterjugs on their heads; cows doing whatever they please whenever and wherever they please; and many more things, sometimes incomprehensible. And one eight-passenger vehicle containing five perpetually astonished Americans and their non-English-speaking driver.
Single-occupancy vehicles and
Multiple-species high-occupancy vehicle
Single-species Star-Wars-outfitted high-occupancy vehicle
Vehicle utilizing some kind of Indian Glue Magic
The side of
the road is an endless source of wonder. So much of life takes place right by
the road in
Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu (Going up? Falling down? Or always been this way, always will?)
Is someone living in the booth?
Sometimes they’re obvious, but sometimes it takes a moment to put 2+2 together.
Family with guide in front of pharmacy & Kinko’s of sorts
Pot shop & temple offering shop
Laundromat & bicycle repair shop
Tire shop, maybe, with grocery store in background
This is not
the conclusion. Let’s face it: We have
to go back to