My one month stay in Jaipur finished already. Where did it go?
Progress arrives in fits and starts here. The first sign being the new electric lawn mower at the hotel, gone was the slightly painful experience of watching a sweating tiny man pushing and heaving the old rotary style contraption up and down the lawn while us guests sat on the terrace trying not to notice. Enter the new electric one complete with an adapter plug on the still wet lawn (being the end of the rainy season) and trailing cable that now requires two men to mow – one to direct the mower the other to walk behind him carrying the cable. You couldn’t make it up. Coupled with the lack of internet connection regularly reducing me to frustrated fits of Basil Fawlty style paroxyms, it took two weeks but now we’re firing on gas and I can upload this post. I’ve yet to persuade the hotel that it makes good business sense to fill up the swimming pool but hey maybe next year..
There’s progress on a much grander scale too, Cyclone Phailin, bigger than the size of France hit India two days ago, incredibly so far the death toll has been 23 people due to the massive evacuation programme. In 1999 the death toll was a staggering 10,ooo in a similar cyclone.
To mark the end of my trip my rickshaw driver Abbu and his family took me on a trip to their village, Diggi, 50 kilometres outside of Jaipur to visit their temple and treat me to a Rajasthani Sunday road trip. As far as Abbu is concerned it was high time to visit with the family and take me to the 5600 year old Kalyanji temple ‘to make for prayer to the heart to God for good ‘High Biscuit’ business (that’s Hibiscus) and to find good husband’ and why not?
Buying our offerings for the temple and leaving our shoes behind, walking through the village hand in hand with Abbu’s brother’s children, pretty Saloni, 7 years and the naughty Babu, 2 years.
Having said my prayers to Lord Krishna (above) feeling very relaxed in the knowledge that he might make a success of my affairs we moved onto the Diggi fortress, now abandoned and dilapidated, apart from a beautiful temple, where we wandered around having the entire place to ourselves. Room after room of what once would have been beautifully painted murals, courtyards, naive versions those immaculately kept at the stunning Samode Place.
The gruesome ‘outside jail’ is still intact on the roof for come rain or shine imprisonment as is the ‘execution area’ behind a brick wall overlooking the roof tops of Diggi village.
On to another temple in a cave in the rocky mountainside, I was led by the hand of little Saloni into a suffocatingly incenced filled pitch black space bare foot, bent over double by the extremely low damp rock ceiling, where I offered my prayer, bag of flowers and coconut pieces in return for a blank stare and an extra 10 rupees. Whatever it takes..
Finally we headed to Khatun’s (Abbu’s sister in laws) house to feast on delicious chicken and chapatis after a walk to the village lake, teeming with fish and lotus flowers after the end of the rainy season.
Take note Tom Dixon, here’s a v stylish village style water cooler.
Babu takes a cooling shower.