Visiting the wonderful Devshree, a new firm favourite in Rajasthan and the scene of many a fabulous Christmas well spent, I decided to venture out into the local village unaccompanied. I am, afterall, a veteran of India solo travel, I’d been here before, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, here I am with the oldest man in Deogarh village (aged 100) and his youngest son (aged 61). Having invited me to have a photograph with them both, to which I willing agreed, he proceeded to follow me up the street. I stopped to try and figure out why such interest in me and it transpired he wanted to show me around his house, it was, he told me, one of the oldest havelis in the village. Naturally I was intrigued and therfore I politely accepted, as I do. Some people, namely me, just never learn.
I managed to smile and say”Oh, how lovely,” at his courtyard, his bedroom (!), his balcony and its view of the street below. On exiting his bedroom I did a customary, if slightly awkward, “namaste” to his wife, what else could one do as I was taken to see the relatively modern kitchen, nodding somewhat overappreciatively at his wife as she had now decided to join us. I have to admit to my smile slightly waning upon being shown his piece de la resistance, the shared bathroom!
Surely now I was done? But no…… He then proudly announced “Son’s room, just married,” and without so much as a knock, he pushed me through the door. There, under the blanket, like a rabbit caught in the head lights, cowered his son (fortunately alone). Before I could even begin to think how to react, Dad placed a plastic chair at the foot of the bed, virtually forced me into it and insisted his son handed me a biscuit from the packet at the side of the bed. He grabbed the packet and nervously proferred one to me. I took it, they were Good Day’s afterall, my favourite Indian biscuit brand. I thanked him for his hospitality and figured I really did need to get out of there when mum arrived with chai. Dad stood grinning like the cat that’s got the cream, saying, “Yes yes, good good, now talk – he speak English.’
To this day, I am not sure who was more mortified!