Nothing makes you feel more welcome in a country than to be invited into someone’s home, however humble. And language is no barrier to connecting with a friendly hostess and her curious children.
As we drove through India’s Thar Desert on our way to Jaisalmer, I asked our driver, Mehar, if it would be possible to stop to photograph some of the small round grass-thatched houses that we saw either side of the road.
I had in mind a few shots from a distance with the zoom, if he felt that would not be resented. But when he spotted a suitable home and stopped the car he suggested that we walk over to it. Would they mind, we asked – not at all, he replied.
So we strolled among the succulents and a few low-growing gourds to be welcomed by two children near the entrance; it was festival time and there was no school.
Their mother came out to join them and when Mehar asked if we could take photos, agreed willingly; and not just of the house, we could photograph her and the children too. An older brother came over to join us, then children from another nearby house came running. We were causing quite a stir!
Mehar explained how the hut outside the wall was for the cows; while inside there was a large sleeping hut, a slightly smaller cooking hut, and two little ones to store grain. The family also own a nearby stone house, which has electricity, but they prefer to use that only when the weather is cold and during the rainy season. The rest of the time these grass-roofed houses are cooler, and they are happy there.
On leaving we offered the mother some rupees in thanks, so she might buy some things for the children perhaps. But she didn’t want to take it, saying she was simply happy that we had visited. Mehar persuaded her though, helped by her small daughter who took the notes willingly!
Most of the children then followed us to the car, insisted on posing for more photos there, and then waved us off. Mehar told us that he had never stopped here before, so this was far from an everyday occurrence for them. It seemed to me that they enjoyed our visit as much as we did, and that made the experience all the more special.
We saw some amazing sights on our tour of Rajasthan that will stay with me forever, but so too will the people we met there, including this welcoming desert family.
I am posting as a contribution to ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes’ challenge to share images of ‘Just One Person From Around the World’.
I visited Rajasthan in 2015