A sick travel buddy, whilst not entirely conducive to travel, is conducive to almost catching up on 2 month’s worth of email correspondence (still getting there, don’t fear!), resting off 2 months of 4.30 am starts and updating the blog more frequently than of late.
I imagine some of you are a little curious to hear more about Bundi, and those that aren’t need not read on.
Bundi to me is suffering from a weird traveller’a malaise. Not of the kind caught from moping round your room whilst your sick travel buddy sleeps or shuffling around the town to keep yourself occupied. It’s the kind caught when travellers descend on your quiet (for India), self-contained town and leave behind their customs and mannerisms and upset the natural order of things.
The Prime Directive of star fleet is to leave no trace, of non-interference, to observe without changing the indigenous community. Yet day trippers descend on Bundi, in shoulder-less tops, distributing pens & sweets to the children as if they’re bestowing Mother Theresa’s grace, sticking their long lenses into the faces of curiosities without exacting permissions and drinking beer on roof top restaurants. Now instead of Namaste, a respectful greeting, saluting the greatness/divinity of the other person; kids & adults shout hello at you and demand 1 pen, 1 chocolate, 1 rupee… building expectation that all white people will give these things and possibly eventually leading to aggression when people refuse (it’s been witnessed in other areas).
Indian men think it’s appropriate to shout “Hello Baby” at you, shake your hand and in some cases try and hug you, when they wouldn’t dream of even saying hello to an Indian woman who wasn’t related to them.
The beautiful sky blue paint seems to plaster over the cracks of Bundi’s personality disorder. The beautiful paintings celebrating a history it’s keen to leave behind for designer denim and sunglasses. Border towns of the wild west were rough, dusty affairs where only the dangerous minded or desperate would chose to live; whilst Bundi has it’s fair share of dust & desperation, of pigs wallowing in the town shit stream; it’s not a place you feel dangerous, it’s not on the border of civilisation, but on the border of an identity crisis. The men of the town in their abundance stave off their boredom and belittle it’s charms, by hanging out together and staring at the people going by; whilst the women, conspicuous in the inbalance of numbers, are assumedly at home cooking, cleaning & caring for children.
Travellers come here to escape the intensity of the North Indian traveller scene, to rest their senses and from what I can discern, hang out in their room in their guesthouse sleeping, or not doing much at all. To be fair I’m not one to comment, but I do have said sick friend to look after.
Speaking of which, Melanie seems to be getting a little better. Her temperature is stabilising at 97 degrees after 5 days of running fevers in the 99’s. We’ve cancelled her flight to Berlin and bought her a new one and got some AC seats on a sleeper train to get her back to Delhi for it.
Then I give in the call of Rishikesh, after umming and ahhing as to whether I should go and visit I surrender and have scheduled myself into the shatabadi express on the 3rd April after dropping Melanie at the airport for home. For 500 rupees I will be in Haridwar in just 4.5 hours, quite the princely sum for such a journey, but in AC and with a veg meal provided.
I care not, I look forward to seeing my TTC brothers and sisters who are nurturing their souls in “spiritual disneyland”. I’m going to go and focus on my yoga practice, my reiki, my reading and work on dealing with my biscuit addiction, which still seems to hold me in it’s grip when the going gets tough (like the other night’s auto run to the doctor’s where the ego seeking doctor scared the hell out of melanie by saying she had malaria, without first asking where she’d travelled to or performing any tests. He said we had very little time and wanted her to start taking Malarial treatments immediately, but on insistence we took a test at the lab round the corner and in under 5 mins knew him to be very wrong indeed. On this occasion I ate a whole packet of Hide and Seek chocolate chip cookies in about 2 mins). Could you imagine if I went back to a life in media? Sainsbury’s Streatham would have an abundance of lime doritos and not a bourbon cream in sight…
So my sweet family and friends, hope you had a lovely weekend and feel better for your 4 day week. It’s always difficult the first full week back, wishing you a week with no need for biscuits.
lots of love
Here’s my favourite of the Palace’s paintings to be sure to banish your blues; Lord Krishna dancing with the Gopis in an idyllic setting.