Friday Photographs – Pushkar

Pushkar is a holy town in Rajasthan, India, built around a sacred lake. I spent a fair bit of time there while backpacking, going back a second time to meet up with friends in the hopes of having a small Hottest 100 party, but ended up spending three days in bed/destroying the guesthouse bathroom. Below are some notes I made in my journal from the first, far more pleasant, visit.

Lactic acid burn in my legs riding a broken bike uphill, dogs barking in the middle of the night, dust in my hair, cracked skin and pawpaw lips, stone underfoot on the ghats, 30 rupee thali, a stranger’s arm over my shoulder as Indian tourists take holiday snaps of foreigners (to show their mothers), breakfast on a swing chair, “Hello-my-friend-some-chai”, a cold hand on the small on my back, rapidfire Spanish with a Catalonian lisp, grass and tortoiseshells on a rooftop, the never-materialising sound of a German playing didgeridoo, smoke in my throat, special chapati at Honeydew cafe, saab kutch mi lega, a secret kiss on my shoulder, green eyes and brown curls, “rupees rupees!” from children collecting firewood by the road, wind in my ears as we flew back down the hill into town, Rajasthani sun on the back of my neck, “meeooww, come out pussycat” from the horribly misinformed Indian men on our sleeper bus (who think Western women will respond accordingly when quoted lines from a porn flick), purple thread of a bracelet used to tie up my broken bike pedal, thorns in a blanket, dull ache in arms held aloft with a book, boys kitefighting from opposite rooftops, bruises on my knees from the handlebars on a too-small bike, “schoolpenschoolpenschoolpen!” as a child steals J’s favourite ink pen after leading us through a thornbush gate, handwritten notes on doors, silence of the desert, forbidden Kingfisher beers on the rooftop of the Pink Floyd Hotel, sunsets made brilliant by dust, the crack of my knees against a metal pole as Tona doubled me on the back of his bike, J protesting as every animal we came across attempted to maim her, gypsy women calling out to goats on the hillside, hot, sweet chai brewed over a tiny roadside fire, explaining the concept of folk song lyrics bingo,  makhania lassi, birthday cake, sunrise and mist over a circular town wrapped around a lake, red cloth tied around limbs, a floral jumpsuit on the floor, fallen kites littering the town like confetti, whirls of colour after a ‘special chai’ knocked me quietly, secretly sideways one halycon afternoon.

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