|David the only one who braves the early hours to scale the hill to the fort. Our silent friend goes as his guide. Quite steep and deemed not good for me. Takes him 1 ½ hours and is back in time for breakfast.
Midmorning we take a tour of the village. We get a lesson on caste, discrimination and religion. As much as the government tries to eliminate the caste system they have had little success. Certain areas of the village, and water pumps, are for people of different casts and heaven help anyone who tries to get water from a pump belonging to a different caste. As Ranny put it, he would not leave the street alive.
Originally your caste was decided by what type of work you did however that has changed and it is now decided by birth.
Old habits and beliefs are difficult to change. The government is now offering free education to girls, has a program to try and get the ‘untouchables’ into different occupations and education – this is proving very difficult as the other castes will still not accept them.
The government is also trying to improve the lot of widows – these woman remain the property of the husbands family but, unless they are financially well off, are ostracised even not being allowed to eat with the rest of the family. Efforts from the government to encourage men to marry widows are proving fruitless.
There is a debate here at the moment as to whether to include questions about caste in the upcoming Indian census.
The ladies of the tour ask to have some henna work done so a young lass from the village arrives and free-hands some lovely patterns on our calves, feet and hands. Meanwhile Ranny gives us an exhibition on how to put on a turban. David is the victim and, I have to admit, really looks the part.
Mid afternoon we farewell our village and drive through the dust to Jaipur. At least the dust storm has lowered the temperature – a little.
A very hectic drive through the ‘suburbs’, we are greeted by our hotel with a welcoming red dot on our foreheads, together with a grain of rice, and a lei of flowers. Our rooms are roomy, there is hot water and an air cooler and fans.
We were to dine to a floor show of Indian dancers, however deemed too hot for them. We fully concur. Still we have a nice meal and toddle off to our beds. Our meals usually quite late so by the time we have finished we are well and truly looking forward to sleep.