Among the Rajputs

 

The scene is set in Shekhawati, towards the end of the month of July. On the occasion of an excursion with the kids of the Tushita Foundation of Amer, we set out to visit the native region of the great Rajputs – the Indian legendary military men. The monsoon is late this year; rain hasn’t yet showered Northwestern India. It will in August, dramatically, damaging houses, roads, infrastructures, and eventually kill people, across Rajasthan.

India is a land of roughness.

Today’s heat proves it. The Thar desert starts here, between the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar. The children are very excited. This afternoon, we will be gazing at the magnificent frescos of different havelis, including the famous Podar Museum. A trip through history, organized by Veenajee and her husband Gajjubana. He’s a Rajput, and comes from Shekhawati. As everyone is cheering in the bus, Gajju sits quietly in the front, aware of his responsibility, proud to welcome people in the region of his origins, and as calm as I can imagine a brave Rajput would be before a battle.

India is a land of pride.

It’s difficult to get fresh air, or even walk in the shade. We reach our destination at noon, and enjoy the early XIXth century’s craftsmanship on display. The magic of Hindu gods and goddesses reaches us. The kids dwell in awe in this environment, radically different from what they are used to, in Amer.

India is a land of discoveries.

Later on, we have lunch in a magnificent hotel on the road back to Amer. Nearly one hundred children lick their fingers with various dishes; they taste noodles, eat with appetite and go outside to play for a while in the heat. Gajjubana, Veenajee, as well as the teachers of the Foundation are today’s guardians of the little ones’ joy. At this moment, our hosts’ eyes convey their happiness, the same feeling that drives them to devote themselves to the children day after day. In fact, they give as much as they receive from them.

India is a land of generosity, a generosity that now accompanies me everywhere I go, along with fond memories of India.

 

 

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