Jodhpur : Sand and Crackers
You get off a rickety Indian Airlines aircraft that is supposedly as old as your younger brother and walk into a quaint Jodhpur Airport that looks nothing bigger than a small-ish hotel.
You wait endlessly by the luggage belt as the IA handlers properly mis-handle your luggage and you cannot do anything as a pane of glass separates you. You could definitely go back through the entry but you may be easily mistaken for a terrorist.
You go out into the heat and find the pleasantness of the car you rented for the day. As you go towards the hotel you pass by various parts of the city. The new city, grand hotels, stone quarries, old city, barracks and then you finally reach your hotel, an oasis of green in the midst of a stone city, the majestic Bal Samand Lake Palace.
You feel almost royal; knowing that you would be the only guests during your entire stay. Yay to proper royal treatment, heck you can even treat it like your own palace. After a short afternoon siesta you head out to the gardens to absorb the abundant greenery surrounding the place. Peacocks roam around a few feet away from you, unperturbed.
Then you climb a steep set of stairs to the porch (If you can call it that. Seems more like a roof.) and the glistening reflection of the setting sun catches your eye. You’re face to face with a beautiful lake. Hills all around, not a single soul in sight, almost like your own personal lake. You order a pot of masala tea and sit down to look at the beauty whilst a flock of pigeons coo on the parapets.
Slowly the sun sets and you feel a little distant, you feel isolated from the world. The thought of being the only people in a huge castle is kind of haunting but you always find ways to cope. A little running on the treadmill and video games never hurt anyone.
The next day you head out to explore the surroundings, Mehrangarh Fort is your first stop. It almost looms over you like figurative image of mount Olympus the home of the Greek gods. You climb up all the way and through its various museums. You pick up a lot of garbled knowledge from the guide, a few overpriced souvenirs and get out of there. The next item on your itinerary is a long drive to Khimsar Fort amidst the bloody heat.
While at Khimsar you have a quiet and peaceful lunch and afterwards you head out to see deer in open jeeps, your absolutely messy long hair slapping your face. You finally reach the areas of the deer and see Neelgai, Black Bucks and the odd Chinkara. You begin to wonder how people could ever kill such wonderful animals. The camera goes click-clickkity-click-click faster than you can see them. Suddenly you look up and realize that the sun is quite low and if you don’t hurry you would miss the sunset over the Khimsar Sand Dunes.
You reach just in time but the climb to the top is akin to climbing a high peak; contribution of the horrible diet you have and your amazingly high centre of gravity. Yet you finally are up and click a beautiful sunset over a few cups of tea. Today was Diwali and you miss not being around your girlfriend, She’s back in your town and you’re in no town. Just to cheer your brother up though, you buy a few local fire crackers and explode them back at the hotel. Diwali seems joyful again, the gloomy feeling is gone.
The next morning you’re up and ready to go back home. This time around you get a better aircraft from Indian Airlines and as you land in Delhi you can see the pollution from miles high in the sky. What a wonderful way the city welcomes you back.