Spain, Romania, Australia, Switzerland, Turkey, Argentina and the US are all driving down the Jaipur-Agra highway. The crackling speakers pour forth a Lata Mangeshkar song…something about life and love sautéed or skewered in tragedy. Normal.
Shortly after starting we are in a hit-and-run accident. This time we are the hitters-and-runners! The victim a poor cow who’s parents didn’t teach it to look both ways before it crossed the street. It was a matter of fact hit-and-run. The ‘hit’ borne out of haste and the ‘run’ out of necessity. Not much excitement, adrenaline rushes, instant justice or redemption. No drama.
The highway rest stop is an entrepreneurial tourist trapping enterprise. It wasn’t out of sympathy for our bladders but more out of the expectation of promised ‘gifts’ (to those who would assist in trapping unknowing tourists) that our driver decides to pause our journey here. We flee the trap quickly, but not before gathering our Oreos, Chips-Ahoys and Cokes.
What India have we seen thus far? Let me tell you – fields of grain,, camels swaggering down the highway, women balancing pots on their heads nonchalantly– “look no hands. Mom!”, blazing red Bougainvilleas, the newly invented six-pack speed-bumps , a live cow that maybe in the ICU now, wonderful roadsides littered with handicrafts, men on cell phones, women thatching roofs, women on cell phones, men drinking tea, mud huts, temples, smoke stacks and dhabas (roadside cafes).
This is the wonderful India that the United Nations in this bus are witnessing today. What more could we want as we ride in this air-conditioned space capsule. Well…just maybe the Taj Mahal!