India -chapter two

Drained of energy, we arrived late at the hotel. Inside the small room, away from the uproar, we started to unwind the day. The intensity of colors, smells, murmurs, the perpetual motion, the opulence and the infamous human deconditioning left me perplexed. It was as if heaven and hell mingled, and the people were numb.
The next day, a seven hour trip through Haryana, took us to Mandawa in Rajasthan.
We left Delhi early in the morning on a thick smothering fog. The large overly crowded roads turned into narrow rocky streets and the trucks and cars were replaced by mopeds, bicycles, wagons, dogs, camels, pigs and cows.
We were probing more into the depth of India; we were wanderers and we were not at ease. Tens of villages were developing in front of our eyes; each with its own groups of women walking along other women, men sitting down with other men, and children let free; shriveled shacks, fruit booths, peddlers, improvised barber shops, large woks on stacks of charcoal, diffusing oriental scents; gobs of garbage, large ficuses and gigantic palm trees, colorful unheard-of birds; inside, a mixture of fear, admiration, enthusiasm, disbelief.
In Mandawa, we learnt that each colorful sari tells a story about its wearer; in the havelis, we learnt the hindu symbols and the gods; I was enriched by the knowledge and fascinated by the beautiful wall paintings in full color. We must have roamed around the dusty streets for hours. By sunset, the crowds became more numerous and the colors more intense. The voices were diminished only by the sounds of damrus, tablas and dhaplis. The entire village was alive, and we were part of it for one night. We dined late, with the locals, on a rooftop. The night was dark, but the moon was intense, and so were the sounds. We were in the heart of India. Our trip was just beginning…..

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