Recently we’ve been ranting and raving about all the negative encounters we’ve had with Indian people. Our friends and family are wondering why we are still here, and our friend Anne left a comment on the blog saying, “I am sorry to say that, despite the beauty that you have written about, I don’t think I want to go to India.” Yet, we are still here. Why? Because there are the few experiences that make it all worth it.
After we had almost given up on Indians, a wonderful homestay with a Rajasthani family before and after our camel safari gave us a fresh boost. It certainly helped me open up again to new personal experiences.
Badal Singh, an incredibly welcoming and well-spoken Rajasthani man, and his family opened their home to us and shared their meals with Tony and me. Badal’s wife was an amazing cook and she whipped up lip-smacking dishes of vegetable curries, lentil and yogurt soup, chutney, home-made goat-milk yogurt, rice, lassis, and chapatis. While we were sitting around the table on the front porch stuffing our faces, camels were trotting by, holy cows were jealously eyeing us, and the family’s cat was strolling around our legs purring. I just loved it! Though this was their business, they knew how to make us feel like guests rather than customers.
The added bonus of staying in Badal’s house was the piece and quiet (except from 5 to 6 AM daily when a local guru forced his prayers on the whole village by blasting them over a very powerful sound system. Fortunately for us, the winds were mostly in our favor and carried the “noise” away from us). We definitely needed the rest after returning from our camel safari completely bow-legged and sore. Tony was still in quite a bit of pain after his not-so-elegant camel stunt. Needless to say, we spent most of our days resting under the ceiling fan while we watched the family go about their business.
From what we could see, a lot of time was spent in the kitchen preparing meals, the kids were helping their mother wash vegetables, clean the house and milk the goats. What really struck me was how gentle Badal and his family were with their animals.There was no kicking, yelling or throwing rocks (something you see a lot in third world countries) but only honest care for them. Just seeing the family interact with each other, with us, and with their animals and pets restored my faith that there are good people out there. I’m happy we didn’t just leave after the ugly Holi incident in Pushkar but gave India another chance to have this experience.