We stopped at a red light as our taxi driver gave in to a dramatic yawn. “Sleepy?” Mario asked. “No, no bath today,” the taxi driver replied. He then spent the next minute trying to explain how he did not have time to shower as he was working since daybreak. To my right were two grown men in a rusty scooter and with them, a lamb who seemed to have just visited the veterinarian.
It was a warm morning in Jaipur, a charming city abounding in culture and tradition, a city I have long dreamt of setting foot on. My mind, fervently taking records of everything around me. So much to see in what seemed to be too less of a time! Lost in the whirlwind of my thoughts, I could do nothing but smile and take it all in–– the serene feeling of being on the road again, of seeing new things, hearing new sounds, and once again, embracing my love for travel.
To my dismay, however, and amusement, the city, was not much of a pink rather, a brick orange.
“On your left, starts the Pink City,” the taxi driver announced. My heart did a little joyful dance upon driving through her gates. “Finally,” I thought to myself. I had heard so much about Jaipur before I visited the city. I heard tales of kings and queens, or romance and bravery, and the beautiful pink walls. To my dismay, however, and amusement, the city, was not much of a pink rather, a brick orange. Occasionally, we would drive through pink-coloured structures or walls, which Mario was quick to point out. Following a conversation about the colours of the city, a couple of chuckles, some elephants, and camels, we arrived at the striking Amer Fort.
As we walked up the fort, we were greeted by elephants, tour guides, and more tourists— all of us braving the heat in solidarity. Our hearts went to the elephants though, not only was the temperature burning, the road was scorching hot too. In addition to that, they were carrying at least three people, along with heavy equipment, to make the ride more comfortable. We were very clear from the beginning that we were not going to partake in the experience of “riding like kings and queens” at the expense of the elephants. And as we entered the fort, I realized that I have never seen anything more beautiful and more intricate that the walls of this palace.
Our hearts went to the elephants though, not only was the temperature burning, the road was scorching hot too… We were very clear from the beginning that we were not going to partake in the experience of “riding like kings and queens” at the expense of the elephants.
Not long after, we were approached by a group of local tourists, they wanted a picture with the oriental looking girl and the tall, blue-eyed German. We politely declined— I wasn’t too comfortable with having my picture at a random guy’s phone. We weren’t prepared for the attention we would be receiving from the locals. However, to be honest, it felt like a compliment in the weirdest and the most suspicious way. I soon found out that this is a normal thing in India, and though I still refuse to have my picture taken by a stranger, I’ve learned to be more understanding of their curiosity.
There is something about crowded, unfamiliar, or familiar, places that make me feel anxious and lost, but not today. Today, I am at ease in every sense possible. Maybe it is the company, or maybe it is the old city, as I always seem to find comfort in something antiquated or in ruins, or perhaps the combination of both? Whichever it is, I wanted to see everything possible, experience every emotion this fort and city had to offer, and remember all of them until I could come back to experience it all again.Spontaneity is a gift and a curse. Your choices are often questioned and never taken seriously. You are called a drifter, a feather in the wind, and unrealistic. But as I stood overlooking the beautiful Amer Fort from the walls of Jaigarh Fort, I knew it was spontaneity that led me here. My ‘reckless guts’ as it has been called, so far, has led me to inspiring places. It has taught me to be braver than I usually am, to stop expecting the worst from people, and to appreciate the Indian culture more.
Spontaneity is a gift and a curse. Your choices are often questioned and never taken seriously. You are called a drifter, a feather in the wind, and unrealistic. But as I stood overlooking the beautiful Amer Fort from the walls of Jaigarh Fort, I knew it was spontaneity that led me here.
This was an unplanned weekend trip. We had no idea what to expect or how long we would need to explore Jaipur. “I wish we weren’t leaving so soon,” I told Mario, as we sat for a late lunch at Niros, before making our way to the Birla Temple and eventually the airport. We were both exhausted, from the heat and all the walking and frankly, eager to be in the comfort of our own beds. Nevertheless, I felt like I had more to see in Jaipur. Maybe, just maybe, when this is all over, I’ll find my way back to the orange city we like calling the Pink City. And this time, maybe you’d like to join?