Rajasthani Raga

After a week of go go go through the haze of Delhi, the congestion of Moradabad and the hum of Jaipur, yesterday we landed in placid holy Pushkar, after a bumpy three hour ride in a shockless Ambassador taxi. I find myself with a dread head cold (again), blithely adding my own horking to the ‘honk & hork’ din of India outside bits. Unfortunately, no amount of tulsi tea, nor the sinus horse pills bought from the hole in the cement wall chemist in Jaipur seems to be curing me. So instead of rushing off to our shawl wallah, Joe proposed we have a day of rest (it was Saturday after all).

At the Paramount View guest house, a hovelly, novelly tall thin old repurposed Haveli set back and above the main bazar, we have our own tiny balcony with a view over rooftops towards the ghats. When we arrived, the chipmunks were darting, the birds were chirping and the temple speakers in the bazar were literally wailing. Conjure about a dozen people banging a fast beat on tabla drums while a dozen more bang sticks on metal, while a dozen more screech out a chant in Hindi all amplified through cheap speakers cranked to the max and you’ll have a fair idea of the soundtrack at lunch at our favorite snack spot here, the Rainbow Rooftop.

Fast forward to our anticipated lazy restful night’s sleep after an illegal nip of duty free Glenmorangie (it is illegal to eat meat or drink alcohol in this holy place). Just as we tucked in, the town bells started clanging and didn’t stop for half an hour (conjure several large church bells with a small man dangling from each one vigorously going for it). The clanging bells were followed by more drumming and chanting (as above), then what sounded like a full marching band parade. This three part clamour repeated continuously until 4 am. Seriously?

A raving hippie’s nirvana no doubt. Though I’m not sure even the most devout twirling hippie would appreciate the marching band starting up again at 9:00 am followed by some kind of amplified accordion like noise. Welcome to wedding season in Rajasthan.

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