Ch: Exhaustion on Our Nerves.
Jodhpur, the blue city, famous for its cultural heritage and historical places, is in the Rajasthan state of India. The journey by train has tired us, we haven’t slept, we haven’t bathed and we are hungry but we are in India, this fact soothes all our exhaustion.
Our Indian visa is limited to few cities. As we do not have Jodhpur’s visa, we must leave for our next destination today. In train, Mr Halai had tried to convince everyone to call a rented car from Ahmedabad to Jodhpur station but no one agreed. After little argument it is decided that women and children will go to waiting room with luggage while men will either rent a car or will buy bus tickets to Ahmedabad, our next stop.
The waiting room is small but tiled and clean. At 9.00 a.m., we start our breakfast consisting of leftover and, butter and jam. The kids are unwilling to eat but as soon as I thrust sandwiches in Nafisa’s, Ibrahim’s and Yusuf’s hands, others also surrender. Murtaza, my younger boy, very naughty and emulous, is encouraged to beat Nafisa by finishing his sandwich first.
Now, we women do breakfast. Kids are playing wildly, pushing each other, sliding on the floor, dragging each other, running around, their jackets and socks are mucky and muddy; and their faces are sooty. The pandemonium comes to a haltlwhen one of them throws a whole cup of tea on mat.
Our men returned, Mr Halai disagrees that we should take 12.00p.m bus so we reach early in the night. But everyone wants to visit historical places so he is again refuted. This time I can see deep lines on Mr Halai’s forehead. He is angry, he is tired for he couldn’t sleep. We leave the station to find a hotel. The exhaustion of the hectic journey has made us intolerant . We leave in four rickshaws. The manager of hotel agrees to give rooms after a lot of argument on condition of handing our passport to him. The reception of hotel has idol of Ganapati, the elephant-headed Hindu god with mustard yellow flowers in front of it. This place is scented with incense. Mrs Ghatila whispers, “Here are idols as well!” The idols fascinates me and I’m watching everything closely, I have never seen idols before in real. Mr Halai is again scornful and remarks, “That’s why I am against moving in a hotel and I want to go straight to Ahmedabad. Now bear it. This is expected in a Hindu hotel.”
Actually rural India, being oldest civilization is often supposed as a place where black magic and other black arts are common. Where stepping on lemon and red chilies could put you in the immortal hands of supernatural. We are advised in Pakistan to walk cautiously on roads and not to step on any garbage. We must not dress our children in bright colors, we must avoid direct eye contact with Sadhus or any suspiciously wierd person. None of us is a staunch believer of this except Mr Halai but all of us want to avoid trouble. India might not be charged for this but such superstitions do prevail. We try to keep our kids close to us but they continue playing boisterously. At 11.30, we all are ready to have a tour of the city and specially Mehrangarh fort. Mr Halai, insist to stay in hotel and rest. We feel that because of being refuted twice, he is annoyed but he assures that he is just tired.