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Monday, 19 April 2010

A brief visit to the Serai's local village

Impressions of India: 16
I’m currently travelling for 3 months in India, through Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan, with a pretty hot and hectic schedule of boutique hotel reviews. The galleries below are my online photojournalist diary of scenes caught, people met and things found along the way. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did and am still.

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I managed to pop in here, with Karan the Serai's ranger, and Hookumsingh their driver (what a great name) on the morning I was due to leave the Serai. The chief, below, couldn't have been more welcoming or charming and, after we'd done a little Pied Piper tour of the village (to very excited chants of 'gori, gori, gori' - 'female foreigner ' x 3), he invited us into his house for a quick cup of chai. 

There was a clear mixing of old and new.
The children were all on a breaktime from their on-site school, having started early.
and this youngster was so mad keen to have her picture taken, umpteen times, that I nicknamed her Little Miss Bollywood.
The central girl in the last shot of the last post, and this girl below, both remind me of the Afghan girl in Steve McCurry's super-famous rust and green shot - the intensity in their eyes is striking. 
This mobile air-cooler in the chief's pink-and-green home has a character all of its own - a Rajasthani R2D2.
Beds and chairs are stacked neatly against the wall during the day, leaving a calm, cool living space.
When I asked the chief, via Karan, how life was in the village these days he said, while enjoying the novelty of one of my rollies and smiling benignly, 'Life is very peaceful here, far away from the busy world. We live very simply and we have what we need.'
It's habitual for Rajasthani men to wear decorative jewellery, like Hookumsingh's pair of (imitation?) diamond-and ruby stud earrings,
and the chief's pair of green-and-gold rings.
This wonderful old gentleman is apparently 80 years old and well over 6 feet tall - though his skinniness probably exaggerates the effect. He's also a muslim, as shown by his white turban, and must sit below the chief, literally, in deference. 

Posts still to come before we're up-to-date: 
Jeep-sharing and 2 Stone Age-style villages in the Thar Desert
Magical Jaisalmer Fort
Jodhpur to Jaipur

1 comment:

  1. You can feel the heat in the photographs, the sky bleached almost white by it. Fascinating!