A warm bamboo scarf hug after the collective intimate silent sunrise on the desert sand dunes our last morning in Jaisalmer. The moment was magic, “golden”. Donna sings a line. Tears slide down my face, falling to the thirsty sand. I feel oneness that transcends any discomfort.
Waiting for our warm masala chai delivery we spoke about how to make the foods we have learned about yesterday. We had been welcomed into a local family home and taught to cook, hands on experience with local ladies/. Masala Chai tea, rice, pakoras, aloo gobi. It was magical. It was experience of India and shared with locals in their kitchen, in their space, with careful watchful eye of other men and women in their family and community.
The tea arrives. We are talking now about our experience of night sounds, while sipping …. camel snorting, dogs barking, motorcycle engine sounds cutting through the absolute silence that exists in the desert far from the city activity.
We talked about last night with dancing with a local gypsy woman, having a chance to talk with her. Hearing her story, dancing with her on the stage, drums keeping rhythm with her movements and an ancient and deeply moving movement of grace, beauty, and skill, bringing forth her ancestors to dance with us.
We talk more, about our interpretation of the Mysteries of India. Desolate. Is it beauty? It’s not the surroundings. It’s the passion in people. Their family ties and how passionate they are about it. We want to be adopted into the family, sense of belonging is so strong and we crave that. Communal eating. Beaming love. Look what they have! They don’t have the longing of the western world. We reflect on the two family activities we have been so generously invited to with our guide Lalu.
The first, was a celebration of life for his father. In the past year the father in this lovely family has passed on. Once a month or so they all get together in a small family home, they have a communal space within the fort and they eat together, talk together, and spend a few days wrapped in the love for each other. We, the 6 women of Canada, are part of that family now. We shared this evening. Under the stars, in the fort on the top patio overlooking the city, we are entertained and cared for, fed by and so generously welcomed by Lalu’s friends. Many of these men we have met earlier in the week – now they come out at his request to meet with us, serve us and include us in their festivities. I will forever be moved by what fun that was to be treated like royalty and celebrities on that roof top terrace. Fireworks can be heard behind us. Activities in the street below, we are wrapped in the love of this community. So very gracious.
The second was the following day after. Touring the fort, the exquisite Jain temples, the tunnel that saved the lives of the fort’s peoples so long ago while under siege, the shop keepers, the roof top restaurant / cafe where we are now regulars and we enjoy wine, and some tasty foods, a clean WC and the attention of the lovely men that work and own this establishment. They urge us to return again, anytime. After all this we go to Lalu’s home for a proper introduction with his intimate family, his wife, his two lovely children, Dev and Sri and his mama, the madame, the matriarch in this home. We share our gifts that we had gathered and brought to India. Backpacks full of fun treasures for the kids, games for the family to share, purses and contents, scarves, hats and gloves for the ladies, and winter hats and scarves, gloves and more for Lalu. We thank them for letting us have his attention for this week tour that is so precious to us. It is so fantastic to be part of this day and this interaction. I think for me, as I hug the women and children, and we share a group photo, that this is is why I came to India. I feel one with this family now. Namaste.
Reflections of the day spent at the Fort in Jaisalmer. Door to the east. Sit in the square, how the energy works. Jain temple. Pride in Dev’s young face as he brought us to the sacred place in the neighbourhood. Ensuring we were all together and arrived. Announcing to the attendant that we were Lalu’s friends – that Lalu was our guide.
We talked about our family of origin experiences. Comparing our stories, and feeling the love and connection of this place. Sibling order and constellation matters. Gentle caring questions that bring out our stories. It’s safe within this circle. We resonate with the family. We are creating our sense of connectedness here in this small intimate tour group, by choice. Here in the desert dunes of India, here in February 2017. We mingle our stories with those of the ancestors in this place.
Masala omelet arrived. Masala tea refills. The feast of India continues.