Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breakfast in Bharatpur

On the cool morning of Day 9, I decided to take a little walk (again) around the hotel in Bharatpur. I began talking to a little boy and his father, sitting around the fire, and suddenly a handful number of children and adults gathered around me. I asked them whether it would be okay for me to walk around their neighborhood, and got their approval. Usual dogs, goats and cows were around, doing their own business. Since I came to India, they were increasingly looking like just one of us—eat, work, sleep, and wonder around. It has become part of the 'normal' landscape to me. I remember David saying, “why isn’t it like that in other countries?” I don’t know, but that’s probably what many Indian people would think when they visit other countries.

Back in the neighborhood, there was also a small crop field by the houses, although it was not in use during the winter. I would have been very curious to know what they grew there. Eventually, I was invited to one of the houses and had a nice breakfast at their courtyard. The fresh nan had goat curd/butter on it, and it was delicious. They were video-capturing me eating food, using their cell phones; I was clearly their study subject (which is fine). After the meal, a boy poured warm water on my fingers for washing. Warm hospitality indeed.
We walked around some more and took a few more pictures of each other. By 9:30 or so, children were getting ready to go to school, and it was time for me to return to the hotel.


  1. This is such an amazing story, with amazing pictures. You talk so casually about being invited for breakfast: "Eventually I was invited..." Can you elaborate a bit more? I know I'm not the kind of person to go off the beaten path like you did. Is this your normal way of exploring?

  2. Thanks for your comments! You may not be reading this post again, but here is my response to your comment. I don’t really consider myself an adventure-loving traveller, and felt actually a bit timid in the first couple of days during our India trip. Nevertheless, I do generally enjoy meeting with people and get to know what the life is like in that place. So, after the first few days, I began trying to talk to people whom I meet. Those included a gate keeper at our hotel, the owner of a photo-print shop, and people at temples. Then, the day before I had this breakfast, I had a successful encounter with local college students (I wrote about it in the previous post, Pottering - Jaipur Style), and felt even more comfortable talking to the people whom I came across. In fact, perhaps half way through the trip, I was starting to feel less comfortable in quintessential tourist sites (especially with aggressive street vendors; I’m a terrible shopper anyway), and to feel more confident wandering around off the main streets.

    Anyway, that day I was really just walking around the neighborhood with a handful children and some adults, asking them questions such as “is this your house?” and “is he your brother?.” Then, one of the boys pointed a house and asked me if I wanted to eat something. I did not write in the post, but a boy showed me his room, where he showed me his school notebook for an English class. One of his beautiful handwritings said, “Her name is Helen Keller,” I recall.

    I should be mindful that some of these successful encounters were in part a result of my gender, and maybe also because of my Asian-look and of the the fact that both of us did not speak English as the first language. Or, maybe I was just lucky.

  3. Thank you for your comment. The Pottering posts and this post made you sound like a fearless adventurer. But it sounds more like you were able to see a different side of India. Thank you for sharing it.