This is a journal entry, unedited. I rarely take my camera out other than at events and functions. My journal helps me capture experiences.
If I could record this moment, I would. It’s perfect.
I’m waiting for the bus. It’s 10.30am. I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes, and I’m late to a Special Olympics event in Ajmer. But I’m not in a rush. I’m not impatient.
I’ve just said good-bye to some of the children who weren’t able to come. Manish, one of the smaller – tiny – children I live with, was in tears. His sobbing was broken by moments of silence where he’d point and ponder, accompanied by incoherent babble, his trademark behaviour. If I could pick favorites, he’d be up there.
The air is still cold on the skin, and I’m wearing a shawl to protect from the wind. But the sun – low in the clear blue sky – is perfect, perhaps even too hot. And it’s still early. The aridity of the Thar Desert suffers from incredible weather extremes.
It’s quiet. Well. Almost. the generator is bleating in the background. But it’s peaceful. The road too is quiet, apart from the occasional camel and cart. The camels are massive, lumbering beasts, passing in groups of two or three. Their short, thick hair is etched with Rajasthani designs. Beyond the road, the view is flawless. The fields and trees have started to brown in the absence of water, as the area begins to return to a desert landscape. The horizon is lined with mountains, far enough to be faded but close enough to be dark and imposing.
There is no one around other than Kaushik-Ramji, the elderly gatekeeper. He comes to talk to me in Hindi, and we have a longer conversation than normal. The same topics come up, how much do I earn, why am I here, what is the box on the side of my shaven head – more prominent than usual. I make some headway in explaining myself, but I don’t think I’ve quite convinced him yet.
After a short while, long enough to write this far, an auto-rickshaw comes by. I’m glad, it’s empty, has cushioned seats and it’ll charge the same as a crowded, mosquito-ridden bus. It also gives me the chance to admire the mountains as we trundle the sixteen kilometers down into Ajmer. The breeze – and sunlight – brush my skin intermittently. It feels perfect.