While Rajasthan was a while ago already, the memories of Rajasthani life - the spices, the aromas, the noises and all the reds and the yellows and the oranges, still remain vividly with me.
But more than anything, it was the people of Rajasthani who left an indelible impression with me that I will forever treasure…
Wherever I travel in the world, I am always struck by the friendliness and the hospitality of the locals - that’s just what one comes to expect because those are the rules of travel.....
And so, I’m always appreciative of the sincerity of my hosts, because I know that being friendly and hospitable to paying guests is a double edged sword. They are providing a service and whether they like us or not, it is difficult to separate the genuine from the purely mercantile. But for reasons I’ve never really understood (but always appreciate), India is somehow different… very different.
Unlike any other place in the world I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting, India seems to exude a welcome that’s truly genuine and that’s wonderfully sincere. The Indian welcome, almost without exception, is always authentic. Like our visit to Rajasthan…
Late one afternoon and looking for a place where we could overnight somewhere in the Pushkar district, we happened to stumble upon what can only be described as something of a serendipitous discovery... a small, unassuming tented camp hidden in the most unlikely of places.
Of all things, we were assigned a “butler” for the night to tend to our every need and our every whim - a gaunt Indian man immaculately turned out in a typical dress with a bright Colgate smile, followed by his wife who didn’t seem to mind trailing
quietly behind him in his shadow, glancing only with furtive smiles every time we tried
to engage with her.
Our welcome to Rajasthan was typical of India… “What is your name”, asked my husband of the ‘butler’ “Dishy Sir” the ‘butler’ replied With a tongue-in-cheek “Hello Dishy Sir”, my husband humourously introduced us in turn. “Oh no” replied the butler with the kind of respect and genuine humility I’ve ever only found in India… “The Sir is the Sir - I’m only the Dishy”
One night turned into several nights, and for the remainder of our stay at camp our ‘butler’ jokingly remained as “Dishy Sir” to us, an eponym which always, without fail,
evoked loud laughter from him and a bashful smile from his wife who,
we eventually discovered, knew not a word of English.
But her husband enjoyed the joke and so did she. We relished our stay with Dishy Sir and his wife, and especially at night when he and his wife would come into our tent with two (very welcome) hot water bottles, insisting that they tuck us each tightly into bed like only a doting mother would do for her children.
Such are things only in India!