Land of contrasts – part 4 (and the last one!)

15 – Looking for the trousers

Already after a one hour walk in the streets of Jaipur I was tired. I wanted to buy the trousers and the blouse suitable for indian weather, as the majority of clothes I had were good for trekking, but not really for city life. I decided to do a quick shopping and to look for a place in which I could hide from the sun. Unfortunately, it was not so easy as I thought. The moment I gazed on any trousers in the stalls the dozen of shopkeepers hurried towards me with their offers! „ Cheap! Cheap! Really cheap! Where are you from? Poland? Dzień dobry! Come, come! I will show you something! Buy, please! Cheap!” I was fed up after one hour. All those speeches were more discouraging rather than tempting… I was tired, fed up and bit irritated.

Suddenly, I saw a stall with really nice clothes in one of the gates. There was this beautiful dress on a hanger. It was just perfect! I was obviously looking for the trousers, but when you find such a beauty you just buy it. „I think I will cope even with the most irritating seller” – I thought and headed to the shop. But there was no one around. I entered… „How can I help you?” – the handsome, young man asked me politely. Wow! Such a courtesy! No „cheap, cheap, buy, buy!” – immediately I just loved him. I asked him to show me the dress and I risked questioning him about the trousers too.

„You look tired. Maybe you would like to sit for a second? I know that the shopping on indian bazar might be challenging”. He was so nice, so emphatic. I was just over the moon. When I decided on the particular model of the trousers, blouse and I paid for the dress, he proposed to show me the city around. „Since you are interested in photography…”. Why not? I thought and we went to the districts that specialized in murmur sculptures – the speciality of Jaipur.

We were strolling down the workshops when my new friend confessed that he also works as a tourist guide and if I wanted his services he would be more then happy to offer his help. Well.. I knew something was wrong… He was just too polite, too kind for me.

I thanked him and leaving him a bit disappointed I went for chilled rose lassi. Nevertheless, I do not regret this adventure – the sculpture workshops were really interesting. Unfortunately both the trousers and the blouse just got rotten after a week of wearing. Well, nothing is endless, especially when it was bought on an indian bazar.

16 – Jain

„Maybe we enter the temple on our left hand side?” – I asked my friend. He was obviously not pleased with the idea, however he did not protest either. „If you want…” – he responded. I was not sure how to interpret his reluctance, so I confirmed with him that I am actually allowed to enter and I went. The interior was clean and tidy – white walls were covered with paintings. I did not have enough time to look at them closely as the elderly man approached and asked what I knew about that temple. Of course I knew nothing… He was more then happy to explain me everything. I was less happy, but still I patiently listened.

It was a jain temple. As it occurred from his explanations, supported by millions of paintings, diagrams, pictures of naked (!) men in their sixties, jain was one of the religions popular in India. Apparently the most engaged followers do not wear clothes, eat only once a day, jump from brick to brick to avoid spoiling the grass with the weight of their bodies etc. The religion if full of do’s and don’ts and I got confused already after half an hour.

I decided to run but it was not so easy. The guy was the type of the person reminding me of my uncle during the family parties – when he started speaking no one could interrupt him, unless the light went off or the cake arrived on the table. After some time my jain master got distracted and I used opportunity to „go to the toilet” – never returned.

„How was it..?” – my friend asked me.

„Eee… Good” – I was not sure what to say

„Did he tell you a story about the peacock?”

„No…” – and seriously I was not coming back to her what was it about.

17 – The male voice

„Let’s go to the bar” – Rakesh suggested. We agreed although we were pretty tired. The problem was we did not know where was any bar still opened in this district and at this particular hour. We did not want to go to the city center – next day we had a lot of plans and we were pretty exhausted anyway. We asked people passing by and we finally ended up drinking bear in… local karaoke bar. Luckily there was not a karaoke tonight, only „profession singers” were performing.

The music was too loud so we needed to scream to communicate between each other. As such I just started observing people… I soon realized that apart from me and my friend there were no other women in the bar. Only the performing girls but that did not really counted. I asked Rakesh if indian women go to the bars. „Well, they do. But not to this kind of bars…” – he replied. I did not actually knew how to understand his conclusion…

All man surrounding us where looking at the singer with greedy eyes. Every song she finished they applauded loudly and sand her some extra money. Apart from the girl there was also this guy singing. To be honest he was much better than she was, however he never got any tip because of his gender… No man would pay other man to sing for him, obviously. So we did! Last song before we left the pub we send him some money. He was so happy and surprised as well!

18 – Hand

„Give me your hand please”

„Why?”

„I just want to check something out… Oh! You will have two kids and you will marry the foreigner!” – said my hindu companion looking deeply into my Polish eyes.

„How can you tell that?” – I asked

„Everything is written in your palms. You just need to know how to read it! There is one wrinkle over there… Here is the other. Two kids! No doubts.”

I smiled and nodded but to be honest I did not believed it for a second. We did not trigger this topic for next couple of hours and we just strolled around the city, however after some time my friend started asking me questions: Do I have a husband? Do I want to have kids? Do I like cooking? Do I actually consider to marry foreign guy?

Och! Someone took my prophecy really seriously. I soon was informed that Hindu people are usually a perfect match! How lucky I was! Moreover, my friend was not such a conservative person, so if I was interested in marrying him I would not be forced to convert to hinduism. I might still be christian! Obviously I was over the moon and we agreed on the wedding date…

And seriously? All those future telling. You must be joking!

Author: Joanna Zubkow

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