"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pushkar

Wrote this a couple of nights ago...

I thought Varanasi would be like this. Maybe it will be, just on an enormously massive scale. Varanasi has a population of one million something. Pushkar stands at a paltry 15,000. It has to be different.

Pushkar is famous for a couple of things. The first, well known event is the camel fair at the start of winter which attracts the masses from the world over. The second, less well known, is for its Brahma temple, one of only a handful around.

This is the place, though, for the laid back hippy, wanting to take things easy for a few days. The shops mainly cater for this kind of tourist but also for the main stream Lonely Planet tourist, selling incense sticks and holders, metal bracelets, bangles, necklaces, hats, kurtas, bindis, swords, paintings, t-shirts, camera rolls, memory cards, temporary tattoos, cds, books, nutella, snickers, toilet paper and the list goes on and on. And there are internet cafes at every corner, right next to restaurants serving 'home sick' meals such as pancakes, pizza and felafals (i must confess breakfast for the past two mornings has been chocolate pancakes, while I've also been quite tempted to pick up a jar of nutella for the onward journey). And this is the off-peak season. Around the time of the fair, hotel prices increase nine or ten-fold, so one can only imagine what else maybe available in luxury 'Swiss' tents.

Actually it was only after coming here did I realise the difference in backpacker tourists. To add some relativity, I thought I was roughing it out: cheap accommodation, cheap meals, no real short-term time limits, traveling by government bus, the next destination decided on a whim, not knowing the language and all with the aid of my Lonely Planet (which incidentally, is looking quite shabby and full of character!). I also border on the paranoid and don't trust anyone or anything.

But there are many white people who don't speak or read a shread of English (many of these backpackers, apart fron the English-speaking ones, come from the Asian countries, Israel, Spain, France, Germany and so on), trusting the internet cafÁé guy with his mp3 player, or eating of some dingy shack of the street. And they live a free unencumbered life. For some, Pushkar is a home away from home.

So then why do I worry? Why do I make up an alias? Why do I struggle speaking a Hindi which is so transparent as to mark out clearly that I don't live in India at all? Why?

I think at the heart of this lies the issue of identity. What am I? A foreigner or an Indian? As quick as a flash I tell every hotelier or the attendants at tourist attraction i'm an Indian, but seeing the vast number of sights in a wholly un-Indian way, clicking away with a camera not available locally. There are mixed convictions and reconciling both is slightly difficult.

Anyway, tomorrow I carry on to Jodhpur, the (believe it or not!) second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur.

7 comments:

swati said...

hey hrishiworth,
my my you are quite a hemingway in the making! glad to see you have kept up with your writing! i'm impressed you're keeping us up to date! having said that i'm sure that there will now be a long absence in your blog causing us all to wonder where you are, and think: "has he finally decided to pack it all in and wander into the rajasthan desert with his old spice and foreign camera?"

Abhishek said...

hey u need to activate ur RSS feed.
Go to settings and do that.
That way people don't need to come often and see if u've written anyhting new. We get the intimation once something new is up.

Hrishi said...

Swati, you know me too well...haven't written anything since and haven't been in the mood. Just landed in Jaipur, so I'll see what I can do.

- H

PS I was on the back of a camel in the middle of the Thar, after which I indulged in another shave...

Hrishi said...

Abhi - will try and change it. Otherwise will ask you to do it for me. Also want to get that blogpatrol thing happening. Will let you know...

Abhishek said...

hey here are a few useful blogs to see, esp once you get back home and want to stay in touch.

indiauncut.blogspot.com
greatbong.blogspot.com
opinion.paifamily.com

also we can work out ur blogstats issues and RSS feed issues, you can email me.

Smallman said...

I skim a lot of blogs, and so far yours is in the Top 3 of my list of favorites. I'm going to dive in and try my hand at it, so wish me luck.

I've got a site you might be interested in (mine is about tongue ring ) I know, it sounds strange, but it's like anything, once you learn more about it, it's pretty cool. It's mostly about tongue ring related articles and subjects.

belly ring said...

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Alot of interesting comments on this blog, I was searching for belly ring related info and some how came across this site. I found it pretty cool, so I bookmarked. I'll really theme, that got my attention.