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Pushkar

November 20, 2010
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I have found that India is quite obsessed with “registers”.
The hotel I stayed at during the Jaipur trip has one that keeps track of all foreign visitors, their nationalities, addresses, etc. Our office also has a set of registers:  local employees attendance and visitors attendance among others. For some time in the past, we had to fill in a register before having our breakfast at the office. The boarding gates at the airport also keep registers where they marked the passengers that have passed through the gate. I don’t know what it is for but probably to see if any passengers are not yet boarded.

On the third day we went to Pushkar, 2 hours away from Jaipur by train. The train stations at Jaipur and Pushkar were crowded and smelly, but good thing the train was quite comfortable.

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The little garden at Cacha's guest house

The little garden at Cacha's guest house, where we stayed

Cacha, the host of the guest house we were staying at, picked us up from the train station and neatly arranged a taxi for us. It was big enough for the four of us, but a little short for Sam, who is 6.4″. After 30-min ride in the taxi, we arrived at his house. It was a very cute homey little house with a sand garden in the middle. Surroundings were the guest rooms. The picture was taken from my room. He had a little boy and two turtles who played around the garden all the time.

We, tourists, are weird people, at least some of us. We don’t mind having good food for hundreds of Rupees, sometimes thousands. But we haggle–sometimes to the point of arguing with the other party–for much lower costs. For example:

  • Rickshaws:  a Rs 40-ride offered for Rs 100-150. If you think about it, that is only US$ 1-2 extra.
  • Clothes from the street shops:  Rs 100-pants offered for Rs 300. That is about US$ 4.5 extra.
  • People asking for donations, e.g. the Brahmins at the Pushkar Lake.

After all, each one of these people is just trying to make a living. I respect them for being courageous to offer higher costs to the customers. Even though I do not respect them for being unfair or dishonest to me, I want to bargain with gentleness and courtesy. I often feel guilty of this. Guilty of being selfish and for treating myself with shopping and good food, while sparing a little for those who need them more.

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The produce market by the lake

The produce market by the lake

The quality of life is average in Pushkar. It is a village indeed, a touristy one. Many of the local villagers walk around barefooted. Sometimes I came across kids who were completely unmaintained: dirty jumbled hair, dusty face and body, with minimum clothing. They definitely have not bathed in a week, probably more. Some approached the tourists asking for money while saying “Chapati, chapati,” with their fingers gathered right on their lips. It is a sad reality to see.

A view on one of the aisles at the village

A view on one of the aisles at the village. See the cow dungs that are in front of each door?

There were cow dungs in about every 10 meters, and almost in front of every house, often with flowers or puja on it. Cows are considered holy and revered in India, especially in Hindu belief. Cow dungs are thus considered pure; additionally they are good as fertilizers and are proven to be a disinfectant. Read more about it here.

Brother and sister!

Brother and sister!

In the morning, as I strolled along the village aisle, two kids who were going to school stopped me and asked for a picture. Aww, they were so adorable. Though I could not share this picture with them, I would share it with the world.

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