A NIGHT AT THE ROOFTOP PROVES WORTHY IN THE MORNING WHEN I GET TO ENJOY THE SUNRISE from the comforts of my bed (not very comfortable actually). Sun rays on the sand dunes feel different in the morning, the golden flickers play games with your eyes, perhaps a mirage-like experience. The homestays’ family rose early for their daily chores and camels were brought to nearby grazing grasslands for their breakfast.
Our own breakfast consists of parantha (flat stuffed bread), toast and mung bean porridge. The party of ten left early and I was left alone again with the family. The chatty youngest son, Omar and I became close friends and we went on taking photos of Manjhu, the sister’s baby daughter. After hanging around a bit, I was up on camel Moti’s back once again and we continued our journey.
Being on a camel feels superior. Sitting tall above all beings, but the saddles get to your butts and inner thighs quickly. My two-hour ride to a nearby Bishnoi village was pleasantly scenic but not pleasant on my behind. Moti probably suffered more because his owner kept steering him away from the green yummy grass. I swore I saw disappointment tears in his eyes.
Everyone gathered around for breakfast on the ground
My private roof top bed, with an old pillow and a smelly blanket
The group spent their night out in the open
The desert is a very hot place to be, the sun is so bright it hurts your eyes
A goodbye shot with my favorite camel, Moti
THE BISHNOI PEOPLE ARE STRICT VEGETARIANS AND IS ALL ABOUT THE PRESERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT. Traditionally, they make good pots and are well-known for their craftsmanship. My visit to this village was short, but I got to meet the family of 16 children and their pots. The huts are made from clay, and its hay rooftop needs changing every year. The women still crush the millets into flour using stone and the kitchen fire fuels on cow dung. When I asked for a toilet, the woman pointed to the fields, again emphasizing their natural ways of living.
Two days in rural India is an unusual eye-opening experience. It is very laid back, and people here are honest and considerate. However, my most important lesson is that the countryside is a good vacation for me, but never enough for a lifestyle. I enjoy doing nothing once in a while, but to convert me into a countryman would need more than a stay with the Bishnoi’s and a ride on Moti.