Monday, August 24, 2009

Multilingual or linguistically challenged?

Uncharacteristically I have been writing some travel posts on this blog! As everyone who knows/ has been exposed to (yes I am the human equivalent of a virus.. and beware very contagious) would agree I find it very difficult to get serious! All my pictures have these big Cheshire cat grins which not only shows off my yellowing teeth (come on.. they are growing old with chocolates and candies.. and my culinary escapades have left their mark) but also my gum's! If I ever tried a serious expression in a picture I end up looking ridiculous and the picture is object of further hilarity. Like the time my sister-in-law (sil) told me not to grin at least in one picture.. I actually have a huge pout and look about to cry.. maybe now people would believe stories about the tortures of my sil.. As of now, no one believes a word of it and declare rightly so that it must be the other way around!

Back to the point, I have been writing travel posts on this blog (and the reason I keep repeating that statement is) in case you haven't noticed! However I did notice that my readership has gone down drastically.. and I am mourning the loss! Some well meaning critics of mine told me.. my travel posts aren't half as interesting as my regular programming (that is considering that people actually do want to read my blog in the first place and don't have to be prodded/ pushed/ bashed up/ tied down to read it)... While the comments stood silent testimony to the fact that I was getting {yawn} boring (and am still unable to snap out of it.. someone stop me from going on and on and on) I kept at it with the determination that I would put down into words my travel escapades for the sake of posterity (most likely it would be only me reading it.. but why admit to that?)

Back to regular Cheeky programming! Cheeky has been having a blast in India.. he declared to a friend of mine a week ago that he now knows 5 languages officially.. them being Tamil, Spanish, French, Russian and Hindi.. On being reminded the fact that he seemed to know English too for he was talking in that one he declared "Oh yes I can speak 2 accents of English - American and Indian so now I know 7 languages" thank goodness he did not add the different accents in America "Yankee, Californian, Southern.....Confused (like Mommy's!) ..."! Now does he really know all these languages? Oh yes he does!

He can speak a decent Tamil.. except sometimes it ends up sounding like unintelligible English..but most of the time he gets it right and Mommy bears a proud accomplished grin as a result!

Spanish.. if you utter the word Spanish to Cheeky he will talk in length (in English I must add) about how he can speak in Spanish and somewhere along the line you are bound to hear the word "Mayo". Then you know you have encountered the lengths of his knowledge in Spanish. At school they made the mistake of teaching Cheeky the months in Spanish.. and ever since we hear the months all consistently pronounced wrongly at least once a day with the declaration that "I can speak Spanish, you know May in Spanish is Mayo"

Lets now move on to French... I learnt french for a couple of years in school. Let alone the Frenchmen, if a person learning french .. be it Rosetta stone or Alliance francais hears me they would be prompted to either
a. Hang themselves
b. Push me off the edge of a cliff!
For the records, I would prefer the former!
Anyway, back to French; M was planning a trip to Cannes, France a few months back. Having gathered that many people around there don't speak English, I (and all of my linguistically challenged self) took it upon myself to teach M french! So I would translate everything into french for a while. It was a good thing that M ended up not going, for if he had gone, he and his french would have been packed off back to the land of the confused accents (America!!) on the next flight! However as a result of all my toils, Cheeky now claims he knows French.. Ask him to talk and he will reply "Merci" - Thank you!

As for Russian. Cheeky had a friend in school whose parents were natives of Russia. Even though the mom (don't know about the dad) hasn't lived in Russia for many years, I gather she speaks Russian at home. I am not sure if this prompted Cheeky, or just that Russia is a mysteriously charming place for him.. he asked his aunt to "Google up I love you in Russian" ever since he has been telling us every once in a while "Ya tabeya liyo bleu".. whether that's Russian or not.. that's his idea of Russian and as of now (till we prompt a Russian to push us off the cliff) mine too..!

Hindi... when Cheeky was a kid I would turn on some Hindi movies and Cheeky would go stomping mad "mommy make them stop that olaral" (gibberish) he would plead! Since then he has become a lot more accommodating even if his knowledge of Hindi has not improved in the least. And I prefer to keep it that way, we do need some mode of un-cheeky-telligible communication between us adults right? We have progressed from Tamil, to English, to Spelling words to now Hindi! And now I am at the risk of losing that too ... As you have gathered by now, Cheeky loves to talk and is always waiting for yet another person (stranger or otherwise) that he can talk to. So my cousin asked me what Cheeky did in Delhi and the other places we visited.. and I said "Oh he talked".. She looked at me surprised.. I must say that for a little person with such a meager vocabulary of Hindi (His Hindi vocabulary includes his favorite word Nahin - no and a few others Acha - ok, Haan- yes, Teek hein - ok), he managed to keep rambling pretty well.. oh and he also knows Mein and Tu (me and you). So his sentence would sound like this "Auto haan mein haan tu nahin photo teek hein?" And the result.. a picture of him sitting in the driver seat of the auto.. and the auto driver dude standing and looking cheerfully after having relinquished his throne!

Now to English and the accents.. this is something I am really having a tough time coping with. In an attempt to talk Indian English, the Cheeky Imp has been saying "Darive" and "Stareet", "Charuchu" - That's Church in case you are wondering and "tirubbbleu" - trouble! Although no one around him quite speaks in such a terrible accent (leave alone the fact that he mocks even(!!) my accent), Cheeky has taken it upon himself as he describes " to help people in India understand his English". If I correct him I am reprimanded "Amma if I talk in American accent no one will get it" Sigh! I just hope the terribbbleee-u accent-u is not herrre to stayyy!

With that note and the hope that my readership will improve with a Cheeky post.. signing off!
(images: http://www.building-blocks-nursery.co.uk, http://blogs.davenportlibrary.com, http://3.bp.blogspot.com, http://www.louielouie.net)

[EDITED TO ADD: I narrated the story of this post to M this afternoon as he resolutely refused to read my post and I incessantly kept pushing it down his ears.. Cheeky on hearing it declared.. "Amma its not 7 languages, its 6 languages and 2 accents". The exasperated look that accompanied this statement, said the rest! I promised him that I would add a "Edited to Add" section for which he replied "Why Amma, just press backspace and delete it!" Phew why do I never learn ?]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Home bound!

After the debacle at Mathura.. we headed to the railway station to wait for the Taj Express which ended up being more than an hour late.. Tired, hungry, dirty and sweating we waited for the train while Cheeky tried to avoid the dogs and cows (oh yes there were cows too) wandering on the platform!

Finally back at Delhi, we proceeded to do what would undoubtedly remain the highlight of our trip... shopping. After raiding the markets of Karol Bhag and Sarojini Nagar you would except us to be satiated with our loot which required us to get a huge (hiking style) backpack.. however we wanted to go back and buy more of the rs. 50 skirts and Capris, the Rs 75 pants, 100 rupee shirts and 200 rupee jeans! Like a friend said, we would have to wait and see if the sleeve falls off that shirt.. however while it lasts we are sure to enjoy it!

As we sat on the plane to head back home to Chennai.. the past week ran in my mind and the images swarmed my head! After all the excitement it was difficult to shut my eye and relax.. Instead I flipped out a pen and my e-ticket and started to write with fervent ardor!

The Miracle called Taj!

In the labyrinths of a city so warm,
Finally some breeze rises hither;
The colors of brick and mortar left far behind,
The cool green of the trees rushes to welcome!

As we traverse the bushes, down the pebbled path,
The urchins look at us in wonder;
And we at them, for they own this gorgeous place!
Their eyes ask, who are these camera laden nomads,
Trespassing our blissful haven?

And lo behold the miracle in white...
The surroundings have now been forgotten!
There she stands gleaming a creamy hue now..
As the sun gently lights her while it prepares for bed!

My eyes refuse to blink for fear,
lest the vision where to (even momentarily) disappear!
We linger long and cant take our eyes away...
But the night begins to engulf the less trodden paths...

With a sorry heart and a heavy tread..
We slowly turn and leave her there!
For we leave a part of us behind!
But we can rest assured, that when we go back;
she will stand tall and beckon us in her splendor!

The view of Taj from Mehtab Bagh is one that will stay in my mind's eye forever.. it is a must see in Agra.. At dusk this view is so much better and gorgeous than even seeing Taj up close!

Beyond the ages


There they stand unshakable and tall,
Having seen men rise and fall!
Stories told and those untold,
They mutely watched them all unfold!

And after all these eons have passed,
I walk through the same old paths!
I press my ears on the tall red walls,
And peer down the depths of the dark corridors!

I urge them to tell me the forgotten tales,
Of valor, of conspiracy, yet the mystery prevails!
Was that a whisper from centuries beyond?
Was that a wisp of a figure long gone?

As I walk on through the enormous corridors,
The mystery and lore swirl and engulf!
The walls whisper to me their muted secrets,
And the paintings show me a window to the past!

I am torn and let the stories swirl..
I am torn, do I return to today's world?

If you guessed that I am going to bore you with a recap.. you were right!! These poems have been cross posted at Creative Outbursts

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hare Krishna!

After the trek through the desert and the walks through the labyrinths of Rajput and Mughal architecture.. not to mention all the sites we missed due to the incessant heat.. Bharatpur, Fatehpur sikri and Ajmer/Pushkar to name a few... we had planned all these in our itinerary but just couldn't step out of the hotel room during the mid day heat.. so ended up missing all these places.. Anyway after all these escapades we finally had one last stop before heading back to base Delhi.

However unfortunately we had only about 4 hrs in Mathura before we had to head to the railway station and wait for our train to Delhi. And although we thought that was ample time.. it wasnt.. especially because we tend to linger and take our time.. the worst characteristic if you are tourists who want to see loads of places. But I like to think of myself as a leisurely tourist. I have more fun if I am not rushed (just a nice way of saying I am lazy )...

At Mathura we found this guide to take us through Vrndavan. After having avoided the fast talking types like plague.. we uncharacteristically took this guy with us to see Vrndavan. He turned out to be a student of commerce who was doing this as a social service, and did not even want to be paid. We of course paid him with money as well as a glass of cool maakan lassi (buttered yoghurt drink) a speciality of Mathura. I havent had such yummy lassi anywhere ever!

I digress back to Vrndavan, I had imagined Vrndavan to be this huge garden where Krishna comes to play ras-leela (dance with the gopikas) every night. However all that is left of Vrndavan is a small patch of tulsi garden and I was told they hear sounds of the flute and anklets every night emanating from this little garden. The main deity of Vrndavan looks absolutely breathtaking.. however the preist tries to fleece you of money in the name of donation. There were huge groups of widows doing Krishna bajan and I wanted to donate something for the cause. But the preist at Vrndavan actually put me off with his commercial smart mouthed talk! As we left I gave Rs 200 to Cheeky and asked him to put it on the puja plate (apparently this goes to the preist and not the temple!)... so the preist guy gave Nantu a piece of yellow cloth adorned by the residing deity.. The 2000 and more bucks we donated to the cause did not prompt him to give us that.. it was the 200 that went to his kitty that gave him that nudge.

Needless to say I was very disillusioned as I left Vrndavan. One captivating thing about Vrndavan are the monkeys.. they steal your eye glasses and food.. just about anything they can get their hands on! I found them so cute and cheeky and they brought the smile back on my face! Next we went to Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura.. flanked by a mosque which rises just above the prison cell where Krishna is believed to have been born, it is a place of much controversy. The mosque is supposed to have been built by destroying the temple at Vrndavan.. Aurangazeb was supposed to have used the red stones from the Govind Deb temple to built this mosque. While the hindus say this, the muslims claim the mosque existed first! And like every other place in India the controversy continues and casts a shadow on these historic sites! The security as you can imagine is supposed to be tight.. but I am not so sure! The shops inside this temple piqued Cheeky's interest and he was found hoarding on all the inexpensive toys.. a flute here, a shehnai (trumpet) there, a set of drums and what not... he was very excited while we would live to rue this as we were then subjected to loud noises termed music.

To be honest after the trip.. Mathura was a bit of a let down.. I expected to be swayed and moved by the birth place of Krishna.. Krishna after all is our favorite God and I am a strong believer in God.. but the controversies and commercialization dimmed my spirit and I was ready to move on! The temple in my (my husband's) hometown relatively unknown holds me in more awe as it is unblemished by controversy and commercial gains.. and the only thing that stands out is the powerful presence of God. Unfortunately, Mathura the birth place of God dims in comparison! That is very sad indeed!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wah Taj!

Enough of all the talk about struggles with appearances, now back to the greenery of envy!! :) So after the pink city we were off to Agra. Agra hotels seem to have the worst reputation, we couldn't find a single one with good reviews.. after a lot of effort we found one but then I think it was because the hotel (Siris 18) was relatively new and unknown that the reviews weren't so bad! However all the air conditioning in the world seemed to be against us on this day! The car we took from Jaipur to Agra lost its a/c mid way.. and we had to roll down the windows and let the hot hot air in. The room we were given in the hotel had a faulty a/c and we had to change rooms! While that was conceded to with very less resistance, it was the case of the open bottle that had me furious!

The room had a fridge with an open alcohol-less bar. I took out a bottle of mineral water only to find the seal was already broken. However my son insisted on having water and I opened the second bottle and gave it to him! In true 4 yr old spirit he left the bottles near each other and we tackled the next issue of moving rooms. When I asked the obnoxious bell boy who helped us with the move to get the water he brought the wrong bottle. So I told him very nicely that I wanted my bottle and not this one. He argued that it was just the same and turned my nice demenaor into a hopping madness! Finally peace was restored when my bottle was brought back.. but I am not so sure anymore! If you need to stay in Agra, this hotel will work alright but dont eat there.. the food was very bad and salty. Dasaprakash is a good option for vegetarian meals and serves really tasty food amidst a pleasant ambience.

Anyway enough about the food and water.. and now on to Agra.. we could see the view of Taj from our hotel rooftop and even that was splendid. Agra is all about the Taj.. everything else only pales in comparison and I was left wanting to go back again and again to see Taj. I ended up not seeing Fatehpur Sikri due to this obsession with Taj.. but no regrets! We visited Taj early the next morning.. at 8 Am. This apparently is the time with the least crowds.. Taj opens at 7 am and early in the day there is no queue and you get to see Taj without the million heads blocking your view.. still there are a couple of hundreds but that you can live with!

We were at Agra on a full moon night and wanted to see Taj at night. But the guards at Taj advised us against it. Instead that evening we took a ride to Mehtab Bagh.. This is across the yamuna, behind Taj.. The garden was almost empty besides a few urchins who looked us like we had lost our mind! But the view of Taj was just splendid from here.. The light of the setting sun shining on this marvel in marble gave it a creamy hue! We enjoyed our solitude with this awe inspiring sight. I wonder why this place is not popular We hated to leave, but we had an auto guy waiting to take us shopping to the galis of Agra market where tourists seldom venture. Where you get lovely Kundan and other jewellery for a few hundred bucks (the same piece costs a few thousands in the cities) and you get lovely inexpensive earrings that look so pricey! We went crazy ofcourse, and the shop owner loved us! He asked us to go see Dhayal Wag on the next day, he and a few others told us it was a must see in Agra. Wrongly assuming to be a temple of Krishna we went to the Radhasaomi mandir at Dhayal Wag (It is actually a samadhi of Radhasaomi the founder of a cult/ religion by his name). Unfortunately we were very diasppointed.. and except for the fact that we found tender coconut (nariyal paani) just outside this place, we found nothing of interest there!

Another interesting sight in Agra was that of the Baby Taj. The site of Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb is said to have been in Noor Jahan's (Mother of Shah Jahan - who built Taj) family for years. The Baby Taj looked like it was an inspiration for Taj.. or like some write ups say it was a draft for Taj?! We also visited the Agra fort with its rich carvings and marvellous architecture, however we again ended up peering at Taj from the fort as Shah Jahan must have done when he was confined there by his son Aurangazeb! We can imagine why it is very difficult to take your eyes off that marvel. But we had to peel our eyes and selves away from Taj and Agra to head towards Mathura.. the birth place of Lord Krishna!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The perfect heels!

This blog is taking a break from regular programming to say this...

I have been catching up on fellow bloggers lately and I read so many of their honest, sweet posts filled with love and affection for their kids! And I wondered why I cant write like that.. And I decided I would do a post on all the wonderful things about Cheeky.. after all the only facet people know of him is the talkative, naughty little imp! Right? (Now if only I could remember them while he is jumping around me!) Anyway, as I was making up my mind, I read another blog and read a line about high heels there and my mind was unmade again! So now I will write to you an honest and sweet (oh well, I will attempt to make this as sweet as possible with mentions of chocolates and jelabis.. what say?) as possible!

As I was growing up, I was always among the tallest in my class. While Cheeky is so proud about being tall, and dreams of being taller than Daddy some day.. I was not so thirlled about being tall. I wanted to be petite and small built. I wanted to be cute and chubby too.. Instead I was reed thin and tall.. This would haunt me through my teen years, although I am not one that can be easily haunted! So while I bore my tall thin looks with a cheshire cat grin and a cheeky spirit, I continued to fret about it! (I hated looking down on people you see!)

Even when Meenakshi Sheshadri (I am not kidding you, I went to her house once with a friend who was in a dance program with her), commented on my model like height and posture (haha, I know that is way too funny.. to write an honest post about). Well to be honest, even though she commented about that she followed it up with a request for a massage! As you can imagine she was rebuffed and my friend got an earful for taking me to places with all these "I am the queen of the world" types! So anyway, I brushed that comment off with a flick off my shoulder.. however the chip remained!

So when my mom introduced me (via email, hadn't met him yet) to this guy all of 6'2", I thought he would be just a wee bit taller than me. For while I was 5'5" in reality, in my mind I was well over 6 ft. And then reality struck.. I was found running around days before my wedding hunting for the perfect heels.. I had worn flat shoes till then and had no clue how to walk in a stilleto.. so I needed heels that were not stilletos but big enough so I did not look funny standing next to this tall creature! The tall creature who still mocks me about our engagement photos. Let alone the fact that I was looking really weird with the funny hairdo done by relatives (punished for not booking a parlor.. my hair was an experimental piece for all relatives and ended up looking just awful!). Besides that I was standing there shoeless, while the tall dude stood next to me sneakers and all looking taller than ever!

At the wedding reception I finally managed to get some heels and still ended up looking short. And ever since my quest has been to find the perfect heels that will make me look at least a wee bit taller! My dream has finally been answered now and I feel so short all the time.. not to mention with all the love handles .. now I am (way too) chubby too (but we will leave that tale for another day, or we will just stove that story in the closet shall we?) but whoever said that the other side of the grass is green has to be crazy.. I want to feel tall again.. boohoo!! (Images: http://www.carthage.ed, http://webpages.scu.edu, https://www.btowstore.com)

(I will soon be back to complete my long winding, boring, pictersque travel posts)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Pink City!

After Jaisalmer.. the big city was bound to fade in glory.. the hotel guy asked us to "just get a prepaid taxi" when we asked for pick up at the railway station! The city has roads overflowing with traffic, and urchins. It was a very sorry sight, a couple of times we gave away our packed dinner and unopened soda bottles to these kids who seemed to turn up everywhere!

I was ready to be disappointed.. the hotel was next to a Mc D.. so at least Cheeky finally would have a good meal.. (whats it with these kids and happy meals?) Finding a ride seemed to be herculean! We had to haggle with a bunch of taxi operators till we found a guy who would take us around for what seemed like a reasonable rate.. come the car we found the reason .. it was a non a/c mini van! Ouch! However we let ourselves be convinced that everything was so close together in Jaipur that the car hardly mattered! But trust me it does.. the heat was absolutely awful!

So with this rocky start, we headed off to old Jaipur.. the pink city! And now I know why Rajasthan is known to have the richest architecture in Asia if not the world. For there within the walls of the old city, Jaipur retains its ancient charm! The markets are so quaint and colorful.. the palaces are so rich in heritage and well preserved. It is hard to believe that Hawa Mahal is just a facade! Jantar Mantar with its fourteen huge geometric devices is awe inspiring. So much that despite the heat beating down on us, we stood around and found it hard to leave. Ofcourse, part of the reason was that Cheeky kept climbing up the steps of each device and calling it his royal throne!

At Birla mandir, this mom and son took pictures dressed in Rajastani clothes. The guy refused to give me soft copies, and also refused to let me take a picture. I managed to take one of Cheeky though after putting up a fight and gathering a group of onlookers! Following that we made some very bad deals in the stores just outside Birla Mandir and headed off! After the sweltering heat we decided to cool off with some shopping and that was good fun ofcourse!

The next day had us heading for the Amber fort, and although Rough guide says that Amber is not as beautiful as the City Palace or Albert Hall (with its victorian-rajput architecture, which is lovely but fails to compare to Amber), I thought Amber was the best piece of architecture I saw on this trip, perhaps next only to Taj. The gayily colored elephants carrying the hoardes of tourists and the drummers in colorful costumes only add to the charm of the place. For the rest, I will let the pictures speak for themselves!

The verdict.. even if it has been hit by mordernisation and is densely populated! The traffic and the poverty might strive to put you off, however the pink city is a charm in itself, and although the pollution adds to the sweltering heat, I would suggest you put up with it and explore this city, for it does not disappoint!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Golden City...

The golden sands, the sandstone lined walls and homes, the glistening sun bouncing off the lake, the glowing fort walls as the night sets in... Jaisalmer does live up to its name "The Golden City"! The rustic charm of Jaisalmer left us wanting more of it! Considering it is in the middle of the desert, there is a lovely breeze greeting you through the day that almost dissipates the heat (almost but not quite). The evenings and early mornings are actually very cool and our sojourns at these times (we reserved the mid afternoon for languishing in our air conditioned rooms) were absolutely wonderful. The people are so warm and hospitable.. as you can probably gather, I fell in love with this quaint little place!

We stayed at this charming hotel called "Shahi Palace" that has a great view of the fort from its very inviting roof garden! Owned by 5 siblings/cousins, it feels so much like home! Their warm hospitality and yummy home cooked meals, helped us to fall in love with Jaislamer.. and when we had to leave, it was with the resolve that we would come back and stay longer! They were really sweet, on the first night as we hung around on the roof top, one of the brothers kept us company, relegating tales and imitating accents from around the world. Another, cooked up some desert mushrooms (he had picked just that day) and gave it to us for a taste. It was almost like the way your mom/ grandmom tells you.. taste this,this is so yum! If you do go to Jaisalmer, this is a good place to stay!

While the fort and the numerous havelis with their intricate craftsmanship holds a unique charm that only those ancient relics can hold! And the glistening lake where we pedaled a boat was simply a wonderful find in the desert, the highlight of our visit was the desert safari! But before we go down that lane, I must stop to talk about the lake. We were very excited about the prospect of getting on the lake.. and with child like delight naively looked forward to exercising our legs! However as we endeavored to get some pictures of birds flocked on the banks we hit something and could not move!

We were a good 20 feet from the banks, and so we were really bewildered! Trying not to panic we called out to a guy rowing a oat nearby with a dozen passengers! He quickly reached us and took off his footwear, rolled up his sleeves and I had visions of him diving under the boat and laboriously extricating us from whatever tangle we had got ourselves in! Instead the guy got off the boat into ankle deep water and pushed our boat off from where we had struck land! As you can imagine, all of us, including the passengers of the other boat had a good laugh!!

The next day saw us pottering about in the wee hours of the morning as we prepared for a early start to the deep deserts! We drove off to witness the sunrise among the sand dunes.. but we fell short by a few minutes.. so had to watch the sunrise well before our rides arrived.. still it was an awesome sight!! And then we saw them at a distance.. our majestic rides... as we straddled the camels and rode off into the dawn a thrill went down my spine! We had a breakfast of toast and tea in the wilderness... sitting on a colorful mat.. on the glistening dunes, camels chewing off the desert plants on one side! It was absolutely exhilarating! And at this time of the day it was nice and cool! We were joined by a group of European tourists who had spent the night under the stars in the middle of the desert! Wish I could have done that!! Except I would have not had a wink of sleep... the images of dung beetles (they feast on the camel dung.. hence the name) a la matrix style kept interrupting the pleasant images of solitude on the Desert!

After a trek on the sand dunes.. did you know that Jaisalmer was once a sea? They have fossil stones of sea creatures! And here is what we found in the middle of the arid desert .. yes shells! Anyway after a trek on the dunes, we hopped on our rides to head back to the village! The nice camel caretaker, invited us to see his home and village. We bid goodbye to our fellow tourists and headed back (oh yes this was a special privilege he said.. because we were the only Indians he had seen in months... that was surprising!). Although our camel "Tola" insisted on brushing against every shrub and thorn bush along the way.. not to mention backs of other camels, this was an experience we will carry with us for the rest of our lives! Cheeky was sad to leave his friend "Tola" behind.. and promised to come back soon with Daddy!

We left Tola in good company though. The gaily dressed village folks in their cool sandstone homes, celebrate everyday with music and dance! They take good care of the camels. The village children skip school and hang around the village. A few of them followed us around and even took some pictures with us! As we left we handed out our stash of Candy and Cookies.. they only wanted more!! Growing up in a land surrounded for miles by arid desert must be hard! I was told the kids don't even get to see candy and cookies for months! The land had not seen rain in 3 years and even food was hard to come by! So luxuries were unheard of! Their only snack is husk from the grains.. We wished we had known.. we could have taken more goodies for the cheerful, smiling little friends we made!

After taking a stroll in the fort, seeing the palaces and the city views.. not to mention shopping for souvenirs it was time to leave! And we hoped we had planned to stay longer! I am sure the pictures speak for themselves and my ramblings in this post are superfluous! Jaisalmer with its rustic appeal is a must see.. As we left I promised myself, I will be back to stay for a week or two and experience the rustic charm yet again! But for now we were off to the Pink City!