India- chapter three

At midnight, leaving behind the laughter, the shouts and the music, as well as the damping lights of gas lamps, we returned to our hotel. The large construction was situated in the open fields, a couple of miles from the heart of the village. The silence was monstrous and enhanced by an immense sky with heaps of stars and a fierce moon. We sat down to watch and listen, whispering to each other, as if we were afraid not to disturb the night.
Intoxicated by the silence of the Indian night, we then woke up slower than usual. We took time to follow the rising sun.
Our next journey took us to Jaipur.
We were back on the road, one shared again with goats, cows, bicycles, monkeys and so forth. Villages, solitary trees, isolated temples, odd shrines were scattered all over in no order. We were envisioning the maharajas, the blue peacocks, the precious stones, the marble balconies. We were recalling fables and tales of the Arabian nights. By late afternoon, we were entering Jaipur. Agglomerated streets, with hundreds of rickshaws, cars, people, wagons, made the wait more tensed. Then, suddenly, one of the gates to the old city, stood majestically in front of us. The architecture was unprecedented, and the streets, houses and balconies were mysterious and uncanny. We were watching the crowds of people, more numerous than in Delhi, the colors of the saris and the fields of fresh flowers sold by peddlers. The poor, the diseased and the crippled, were begging for a handful of rice. Large sacks of oriental spices, silk and cotton fabrics, silver and stone jewelry, fruit, aluminium pots, incense, wood carvings of hindu gods, were all on display on the narrow side streets; the muezzin, from the top of a Minaret, reciting the call to prayer; up on the hill, way in the distance, sights of the fort and its stairs and massive walls translated the opulence and wealth of the lost emperors. The palaces, houses, terraces, balconies, were all painted orange, and the colors became deeper at sunset. That very day, thousands of kites of various shapes and colors, soared the sky, as the kite festival got underway. Flocks of birds and pigeons were obliged to share the horizons. The skies were just as busy as the world beneath. It was almost unbreathable. That night was effervescent, and so were we, loaded with energy and restlessness.

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