Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jaipur: Three Anecdotes

1: Hati-wallah (HW) or the elephant driver who took us up into Amber Fort told the story of a princess who was always escorted by a driver. As would happen in Bollywood movies, the princess fell in love with the driver, got married, and then moved into the city. Love 1, Royalty 0.

2: The auto-rickshaw wallah's ancestors came from Sindh (Pakistan). During Partition he was 10 years old. His father was a jeweler. The move to India had cost them financially.

Auto-rickshaw wallah (ARW): Sixteen people live off a single stove in my family (with a smile).

Me: That must be fun.

ARW: Sixteen people – how can it not be?

I find it fascinating how people still talk about Partition and the misfortune it brought to their families; how life before Partition was prosperous. And yet, he seemed sincere when he said Main  bohat khush hoon (I am very happy) with a huge smile that made him squint his eyes.

David McCabe wanted to give him an extra Rs. 100 to keep his eyes on the road.


3: Jai Singh's 500 concubines and 12 queens lived in Hawa Mahal, our guide told us. All the windows have concrete screens to maintain purdah – the women could look outside, but no one could see them through the screens. There were, however, small windows which they used to throw baskets down into the market below to do their shopping. Were they used for shopping purposes only, Eliza and I wondered. We couldn't help recall the movie Antarmahal which showed the numerous interactions 'wives' had with different people, including priests and holy men.  


  1. Loving your posts, Navine! Keep us posted with those detailed stories. Really enjoying this entire blog. Everyone has a different way of story telling that are all lively and compelling in their own ways.

    Can't wait to hear more when you all are back!