We wake up tired and hung over after a big night with the film producers. It’s 5 am, we’ve had almost 4 hours sleep and our train to Jaipur in Rajasthan leaves in an hour.
We sort our bill at the guest house, $28 for four nights. Paharganj is a dive. Loaded with tourists, stalls selling the usual junk, all the buildings are at least four stories high and there’s not a single tree in sight. But it’s cheap and close to Delhi’s main train station and at this time of day it’s actually quite peaceful as there’s nobody around.
After being told our train has been cancelled due to forest fires we ask around a bit and find our train waiting as usual ready to leave. Phew!
Jaipur is known as the Pink City. Most of Rajasthan’s cities have a color theme and it really hits you when you enter the walls of the old city. Every building is painted the same colour as far as the eye can see. And it’s the same every corner you turn. I wouldn’t say it’s quite pink though, in fact it’s almost identical to Rottnest orange, for those familiar with the island off Perth’s coast. Maybe the British who colonised the former prison island of Rotto had previously been posted in Jaipur.
After finding a guest house we grab a bite to eat an have a little rest before catching a tuktuk to the cricket stadium. We find a seat as the players are finding their positions on field. We are the only white people that we can see in the general admission area and Jill is one of three females in sight.
The Rajasthan Royals are hosting the Pune Indian Warriors in the Twenty Twenty Indian Premier League. Ever since we stepped foot in India we have seen this two month competition on TV’s in bars, restaurants and houses every single night. It’s the second religion here, they love it, and we have come to love it too. Mostly because we often connect with the locals when watching a game. It helps that there is at least one well known Australian player in every team.
There’s a considerable amount of dancing required at a match here. Every time the home team hits a boundary or gets another player out everyone jumps up throwing their hands in the air and shaking their hips around in celebration. The crowd is very vocal too, although mostly in support, only rarely criticizing. And whenever the away team takes a wicket or hits a boundary you hear a strong applause by the local supporters.
At the game we are somewhat a novelty and once again we feel like celebrities as people ask for photos with us while most sneakily take our picture. When Matt went to get drinks Jill finally gives in to the boys who have been ‘discretely’ taking her photo all game and invite one of them to sit next to her to have a photo. Next thing there is a line up of eager boys having their photo taken. Then looking up on the big screens around the stadium “Gorgeous Hit” appears and the stadium is full of cheers.
Matt makes friends with a 34 year old teacher who came from a small village out of Delhi for a weekend away with the boys. We discussed the similarities and differences between our countries. Rajender had a lot of questions as he is curious also for his students. The primary school he’s at teaches grade 1 to 5 but he has the same kids for 5 years increasing a grade every year with the kids.
After the match is over we are thoroughly exhausted after a big day and little sleep we crash out.
The next day we wander around the quaint Old City Palace which harbors the largest solid silver items in the world. Two giant silver jugs used to carry the holy Ganges water to England when the king of Jaipur travelled as he could not spend a day without it and no ordinary container would do.
Jaipur is best known for its polo playing skills. They have been playing here for thousands of years and from the 1930’s they won all international polo tournaments for 30 consecutive years.
We had a peek at the Hawa Mahal, a 5- story pink building built in 1799 by the king for the royal ladies to watch over the city. It is an open plan building with small windows everywhere! Some discreet that you wouldn’t even know a lovely lady was spying on you.
In the early afternoon we head again to the trail station for a 17 hour ride to Mumbai. We take a 2AC sleeper, meaning it has aircon with 2 bunk sleeper on a side, with 4 in a cabin. We are with 2 Indians whom are about my age. Their marriage was arranged by their families, which all started from an Internet dating site. They said they are going to give their children the freedom to choose their own partners.