City Slickers India: Walking Through the Rural Villages


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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Pali
November 14th 2018
Published: November 19th 2018
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If you ever want to shock an Indian village member, we know the perfect formula. We have perfected it, in fact.

First you gather up 50 some camels that need to get to the Pushkar fair and agree to move them in a caravan. Then you plan your route to Pushkar to include moving the caravan through small, remote villages in rural India. This isn’t hard as the route to Pushkar can include all the terrain you can imagine, including bustling villages.

This combination alone will get stares of amazement. It will get people to run out of their homes just to catch a glimpse. It will entice children to giggle uncontrollably. And it will make all regular daily activity come to a screeching halt.

But if you REALLY want to send people’s disbelief over the edge, you just need to add two white people to the end of the caravan. And don’t stop there. Make those two white people actually do work to move the camels. Have them use the proper commands and carry a camel stick. Tell them to make sure the camels don’t get lost or in trouble. Tell them to do whatever it takes to keep the caravan moving including directing traffic, asking people to move and running after rogue camels.

This will, without a doubt, make village members eyes widen and their mouths to drop open. It will leave them speechless and frozen in their tracks. It will make motorcyclists and truck drivers slam on their brakes, swerve off the road and literally stop traffic.

I probably don’t even need to tell you, that this combination will also make people, once they have gathered their senses, beg for selfies and photos. And then they will ask for more selfies and photographs.

This is the perfect equation for how to shock Indian village residents.

I am not even sure how to describe the reaction that results when you follow the described formula and then add one unique component...make one of those white people a woman.

It is probably no surprise that women in India do not handle the camels. They have many other responsibilities and are great contributors to the community, but the camel management is not part of the women’s role.

So seeing me manage camels on a caravan with a camel stick, the skills to give the camels the proper signals and the respect of the Raika cameleers was almost overwhelming to the spectators.

I literally saw someone with saucer-sized eyes and gaping mouth drop the bag he was holding in his hand when he spotted us come around the corner behind the camel caravan. It was like it had been scripted for a silly sitcom. The moment was priceless and I hope I never forget that telling moment.


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