Rambagh Palace, Jaipur July 16, 2012 Mon 10:26 PM
Nothing could have made the long 4 hour drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur, along bumpy roads more pleasing than this welcome cake in my Hotel room by the management ..
And since I have stopped eating cake, the message at the bottom could not have been more appropriate ! I have succeeded in saving it from being deliciously devoured !! Ha ha !!
But really such a wonderful, caring and sweet gesture - pun unintended ! Thank you !
On arrival at the resort where we were to hold the Tigerthon, one of the activities was to go and meet the villagers that had been re located from tiger terrain. The tiger needed more space and the villagers that had been in the jungle for generations, were asked to move out and a compensated other location within close range from where their original village was given to them. Most of them had happily volunteered, simply because they understood the importance of the cause, but they were shifted out to locations where basic facilities were not available - electricity, water and proper roads. They expressed this to me when I met them, and though they were happy to have now got facilities of a hospital nearby and schools for the education of their young daughters, who never went out for fear of the animal in the jungle in the earlier location, they wanted that their matter be referred to the State Government through me, in order that these basic needs could be met. They had one other request. They wanted me to visit them at their village; their present place of residence. I promised them I would after my work was over. This morning as we drove off, the first place I asked to be taken to was this village. And this below is where the re location has taken place. The people were so excited and full of enthusiasm that they confessed that now that I had come, they could do without the water and the electricity and the roads they were demanding. They were overwhelmed with the fact that I had kept my promise - an act that in these parts of the country, particularly among the Rajputs, is considered most sacred and worthy of great honor.
For centuries the Rajputs that inhabit Rajasthan - the place of the Raja’s, and a region that touches the borders of the country - have been the protectors of the land. They are warriors that have extremely strong sentiments. The turban, pagdi or saafa, the sword, the word of promise and their mustache, which has been symbolic of their manliness, has been the most important elements in their society. The women, no less strong in character, have always presented themselves in the ghungat, which has partially covered their face. Tradition, culture and its ethics have great meaning in their daily lives and to protect it, they shall readily fight and give up their lives for it !
So having given word, I visited them and assured them that I shall carry their voice to the authorities. They are still buying their tanker of water for the daily chores and one single hand pump of a bore well that functions if there is sufficient rain - an illusion in these parts - is what they survive on. Their servility is embarrassing, their needs simple, their hearts larger than the largest anywhere.
Dressing the guest with the traditional turban is customary - this one was perhaps too large for my small head - and the garland and the tika on the forehead with vermilion and rice is the gesture of welcome. The swastik on the thali is a religious symbol of purity and prayer. The name and its twisted form was designed by the Nazi’s as their symbol - an anomaly of drastic and evil proportion ! The vermilion on the forehead is of course a well known gesture for those that have visited India. It is to pay obeisance to the mythical third eye on the human body. Google ‘third eye’. It would be an interesting read !!
… the road to the village and …
… this spanking new structure, symbolizing the developing India, and below a portion of the Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur, now a splendid Hotel where I spend some hours !!
the Great Gatsby hoodie sent to me by the production in Sydney of Baz Luhrman, with stitched message quote from F Scott Fritzgerald and signed off by Leonardo di Caprio and Tobey Mcguire on the sleeve which you cannot see unfortunately !
a welcome by ‘him’ outside my window .. thanks mister … our national bird !
thats the back of the front you just saw .. equally attractive, which is quite extraordinary !
meeting the villagers re located from inside the forest to another location, where I visit them later ..
that is the vehicle that we provide for the forest guards .. last year we donated 40 of these and spread them all over the country in the game parks .. the forest guards used to travel on foot with sticks, to protect the tiger from poachers - the main villains in the destruction of the animal, who move about with sophisticated weaponry. This vehicle with a great amount of equipment is a real boon for the forests ..
the gentleman on the picture second from left, between the guy with the camera and the guy with a peak cap, face barely visible, his dark mustache in place is the guard 27 years ago that was with us when I last came here. Spot me in the picture, he still has. He was the one that taught Abhishek how to drive a jeep on the barren spaces in the forest, then. We got Abhishek on the Tigerthon and put the guard on Tv too and they exchanged some pleasantries ! This was before my favorite leather jacket that I donated for the cause went up for auction. Abhishek and I also donated 11 lakhs each for the benefit of the Save Our Tiger program ! Good feel !!
No !! That is not a mine detector that I operate ! Its a self camera, which one operates on his own … dramatic results at times ..
Need I introduce them ? The langoor which followed us most sincerely wherever we went, its strong and long tail following at some distance …
My little thatch hutted accommodation .. if you look carefully to the right you can spot the shower head jutting out of the construction …. out in the open, for ‘raw’ pursuits !!
the stage set up for the Telethon … a few inches away and behind us a small pond housing large leafed lotus … and … two crocodiles, which we are told walked several kilometers to get into this water hole ! Why ? I have no idea ..!! ya … crocs do walk !!
This has been an enormous gallery of pictures, I just realize …
Time to say the good nights and sweet dreams, provided of course if you miss the audio ..
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