Strangers of Jaipur

Feb 7, 2005

Walking down the streets of Jaipur, we decided to check out the famous "Hawah Mahal" (Palace of the Winds). Not knowing where to go, and being in a premier tourist-rip-off place, we asked a policeman how to get there.

He proceeds to cross the street and drop us off all the way to the bus! Guri and I were both wondering what he might've wanted from us, but no, he was just sincerely helping us.

Then, we boarded the crowded bus and asked the guy next to me, in our broken Hindi, what stop to get off at. He turns around, with his bright big eyes, and says, "Bada chowk". Coincidentally, he was getting off at the same stop. On the 20 minute bus ride, I talked with this gentleman and learned that he had lived in Gujarat -- where I was born -- for 25 years.

We arrive at our destination stop and he insists on going out of his way to drop us off at the front of the palace. On the way, he hands me a card -- a little surprised, I thought, this guy is way too radiant to be pulling a sell on me. Turns out, the card is of the shop he used to work for in Surat which made "varakh" (the silver stuff on top of Indian sweets). He told me I could keep the card.

What am I going to be with this card? It doesn't even have a name of person on it. But I considered it his blessing and took the card. Maybe I'll even visit the shop someday.

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