Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jaipur is crazy. Crazily amazing. A maniacal traffic to begin with. Camels, elephants, horses, motorcycles, cycles, bus, cars- everything is a part of the traffic. And for the first time in my life I saw semi-permeable traffic. "Only small vehicles please, big vehicles and animals need to wait longer." So at a point of time I frustratingly ask the auto if we are ever going to reach Diggi Palace and then when he says "kya karu?" I insist, "Traffic police ke upar se chala lo?" Then we travel through the narrowest impenetrable dingy lanes of Jaipur. Quaint red-sandstone houses with a lot of urine and the nauseating stench. The auto went right between two cows that had been fondly licking each other. The best part about the layout of the city is that there are rectangular blocks, so technically every lane is connected to the main road. So you may have to travel through heaps of dung or hay or tear two animal lovers apart but you reach the destination anyway. It's not my first time in Jaipur and is definitely not going to be the last but it's rather the only time that I have used the cheapest ways of commuting ever.

All the foreign tourists probably turn hysterical to find animals and vehicles together in a traffic jam but the other people found it perfectly normal to find an animal hault at a red light and then stomp about when the red signal turns green. But I'm not complaining. I like the traffic there, it's bizarre, it's colourful and then we have shabby buildings on either side-building built according to the Mughal architecture or Rajput and sometimes a combination of both. Colourful doors and walls and really small windows for the women of the zenana. I tried looking through one such tiny window through which the queens used to watch the procession. I found it less grand to be trapped in quarters with black screen and small windows, dressing up only to have nobody to tell you how beautiful you look. A queen ought to stomp around the city flamboyantly, wearing the best silk and the prettiest jewellery, not be tucked inside a room where only a king or her eunuch friends should see her.

After dinner, I strolled about in the lawn absorbed in utmost satisfaction, and from there I could see the still lake around the Jal Mahal, glimmering with the silver rays of the moon- such an enticing sight. I have seen lakes and moons before, and I felt the romance running up my body but this was a royal-romance-this particular lake and moon. That is the charm about Jaipur that the most normal structures, activities, scenes somehow turn royal. That being said, I'm half in mind to go there again next month.