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Published: November 12th 2019
Sometimes, when we least expect it, the universe gives us gifts we know we probably don’t deserve, but we take them anyway and hope we can someday repay the gesture or gift. That is truly the only way to describe what happened one afternoon at the sand dunes affectionately and informally known as Camel Hill at the Pushkar Camel Festival.
People often ask what I do when I am at Pushkar and how I occupy my time for so many days. I even had one friend ask what my ”intention” was while I was in India. Well, the honest truth is a lot of nothing. I spend a great deal of time walking around, especially where the camels hang out, and just being. It doesn’t sound exciting or glamorous, but the time sure flies by when I am in these moments. I am completely in the moment and my mind never wanders to other parts of my life or other parts of the world. I walk among the camels. I sit and stare at them. I take photos. I snuggle the willing ones. I learn from observing the Raika.
And I have moments where I
want to pinch myself. Many years ago I saw the Pushkar Camel Fair featured in a National Geographic article and now here I am just leisurely soaking up the phenomenon. I spend my days at Camel Hill just feeling lucky.
One afternoon, I was doing my thing existing among the camels when a photographer approached me. He said he had noticed me the last few days and that he had been noticing me today. (Yes, every red flag is up and I am in total ice queen mode at this point, but hold on, it gets even creepier sounding.) He tells me he has been shooting me all afternoon.
What??!? (You can only imagine the thoughts going through my head at this point.)
Then he starts in on what felt like some random Indian scam. He said he noticed me because of how I interact with the camels. He said it seemed like I was talking to the camels (well, doesn’t everyone talk to the camels?) Then he said, it seemed like the camels talked back to me. He said it seemed like there was a connection between me and the
camels. He said he found the connection so strong he had to photograph it.
You have to know at this point I am still in total ice queen mode. My face was full of skepticism with a dash of “could you hurry this up Mister?” I am acting so uninterested, he must have thought I was awful.
At that point, he pulls up his camera and started showing me the images he captured. Initially I barely looked, but then I played along. They were intriguing and good. I loved them, but my jaded self was still waiting for the catch.
He asked to go for coffee, I made up some weak excuse and then he said we could just go to the little makeshift cafe at Camel Hill. By cafe, I mean a tarp propped up with a few sticks and a cooler positioned under the tarp. He said he had his computer there and he could simply AirDrop the photos to me. Seriously, no proposal for a creepy hotel meet up or complicated What’s App exchange that results in confusion and frustration or the awkward “can we go on a
date?”conversation that results in me setting serious boundaries? He wasn’t even asking for monetary payment, which would not have been unreasonable.
No. None of that. Shame on you, Cynical American Girl! It was simply sharing a Sprite under the tarp, I mean at the cafe, while he gathered and AirDropped about 40 photos of me and Pushkar camels in my phone. That was it. Just an unexpected gift from this generous photographer.
What was even more unexpected and generous? He happened to be shooting me while I shopped for and purchased Baby June. I know, I could not have scripted better timing. Thank you universe. Thank you kind photographer. I am so happy I was able to accept this unexpected gift.
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