MY CAMEL, TEN-YEAR-OLD MOTI, IS A SMART ONE, HE REMEMBERS HIS WAY HOME, but is constantly distracted by delicious green plants. With the monsoon bringing a lot of rain this year, the desert now blossoms with millet fields and tall grass, yum yum for Moti.
The two-day camel safari started on a jeep where the homestay’s elder brother, Nansook brought me 6 km away from the Osian bus stand. Then Moti and second brother, Mapel lifted me on a ride for the remaining 6 km to the village. The desert is different, there are sand dunes and trees that are not common to our climate (most with thorns), but is, as I said before, greener than expected. Rain to the deserters are blessing from heaven, because crops will now grow and there will be food for their livestocks. However, it would be a boo-hoo for me because it will be hard finding a perfect spot where the land is barren enough for a typical ‘I am in a desert’ photo.
Peacocks and small antelopes roam free in the desert and the camels trot high above them all. The camels are intelligent creatures who responds obediently to their owners’ orders. The Marwari camels found here are especially sturdy and strong, good for long journeys.
My first day in the desert was an unusual one. I spent most of my time sitting under a shade with all the other villagers, listening to them chat in Hindi. One of the old man kept inspecting my jeans saying that the fabric was one of the toughest he had ever seen. At first it seemed relaxing, but after four or five hours of doing nothing, I had to refrain myself from using the iPod. I wished I brought a book, at least reading would serve as a temporary cure for my boredom.
Moti the camel, and his camel owner
My long siesta on a rattan chair under the tree
No water goes to waste as the water from all the washing feeds the tree
IT STARTS GETTING INTERESTING IN THE EVENING, when I tagged along with Nansook, my guide, for buying beers and bringing the dancers to the homestay for tonight’s event. So, a group of ten volunteers mostly from the States or UK will be here tonight. We will be having dinner together while enjoying traditional Rajasthani performances. The moon shone brightly in the desert and the night was filled with music. We all joined the dancers, trying to imitate their complicated hand poses, having loads of fun even if we looked silly.
By the end of the night, I was told that I get to sleep on the rooftop which I do not know if it is a good thing. I got to stare at the stars but was constantly bombarded by mosquitoes. Compared to the others, I felt lucky because I heard someone complaining that she missed having walls and was sleeping 50m away from the goats and their feces. All the discomfort finally gave in to exhaustion because I fell soundly asleep, on the rooftop in the middle of a green desert.
Me and the foreigners group hike up the sand dunes for the sunset
Taking time to wait for the sun to set
Professional performers doing what they do best