Puja's Adventures

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Outta mumbai into rajastan

PHOTOS: are from inside the stunning Old palace in Udaipur.

I was feeling very claustrophobic and intense by the end of mumbai. I really like this city it is captivating but at the same time the most disgusting display of human greed and selfishness, how can the disparity between rich and poor be so extreme???? I met a small crying orphan kitten and I know the entire continent is full of these animals and there is nothing you can do about it but this one was tiny and yapping I couldnt keep away from it for 2 hours i was so in love with it. I tried feeding it milk from a passing chai wallah but of course kittens drink cat milk not cow milk. It was cold so I ripped the bottom of my skirt to give it a little 'house' and i sat with it trying to think of immigration and quarentine laws about brining animals back. It was a pointless and emotional endevour I really felt like crap leaving that tiny vulnerable animal and i cried all the way back to my hotel. I must have looked a sight as i had been sitting on the pavement so dirt was on my legs, a ripped skirt and tears rolling down my eyes, I had a police man follow me home and insist to take me to the door of the hotel as he was certain I was lying when I said I was in no danger just sitting with a kitten for a couple of hours... he really didn't take my story.
So I flew to Udaipur in Rajastan and being able to instantaneously get out of Mumbai in an hour and a half was worth every ruppee. This is a different type of India, more fat red turbaned and mirrored glittery saris. Went for a stroll in the evening and saw the most scrumtous wedding with fountains and laid out fake grass and portable chandeleirs and live music even fireworks!
The Old Palace is stunning, with tiny narrow lanes going both up and down stairs, left and right so intruders get purposefully dissorientated and can not make their way out. Also so the Indian guards can sword fight them from both angles and they couldn't escape. think Prince of Persia (member that computer game) and you get the point.
Met a local and went to the government run animal hospital...which was a farce. Lots of people working there filling in files but not so many animals. There were stables and cages for at least 100 animals but only one cow and one bull with broken legs. Aparently it is free for the helpless animals of India and the streets are full of pussy eyed infected dying dogs and cats but cows are the lucky sacred beasts of society. I think the animal man (who is apparently an animal rights activist) sensed my 'dissapointment' at his meagre display of sick animals and asked me if I wanted to see an elephant. I said sure why not, so he said he can organise me an elephant ride!!! I was like NO! I think this is cruel and he said no no I didn't mean that, I meant there is an elephant with a sore ear and pussy eye. Excuse me lord of divine animal rights can you make sure this man doesn't puss up this circus beast for the tourist 2morow.... can you imagine?
He then asked me if I want to go to an orphange which to him is just another variation of tourist interest. Checklist:
+ Old Palace
+ Lake
+ Animal hospital
- Orphanage
I know once you visit these places you can dissapoint children so easily without returning and I don't think a one off visit is very productive but he was eager for me to go. Turns out the kids were really excited and even a short visit made their day. This place holds 1500 (not a mistake one thousand five hundred) young girls who apparently were left in the temple steps and have no mother or father. Not sure how true it is. Seems Ok, there is a school on site but a little dodgy when talking to them. He pointed out a large prayer hall and I asked which religions they catered for, if they encouraged Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. He said we are all skin and god is in many forms so you can pray to anything you like all gods and religions..... but these children have no mother or father we do not know what religion they are so mostly Indians are Hindus. Right.
When the children are old enough to leave at 18 they are introduced to boys from another 'orphanage' to get married. I said what if they meet and are unhappy and they said normally all are happy and there is no pressure. Yeah right!
I asked what happedns when they are 18 they said they can go out to work or go to College or university and they will provide for them to stay here for sleeping and eating until they are 40 years old if they like. They are all welcome and support is here. The orphange is 80 years old so must have gone through many people and I asked how old is the oldest orphan currently here...17 years..!
Then I asked about adoption if it ever happens. They said they do not charge and if a foreigner comes and is serious and fills out paper and is trustworthy they give the child for free and all is good. So I asked how often this happens and they said none so far.
After stories from Nepal there is no way I would give money to an orphanage I was just 'shown' without prior connections and even food I imagine they will just sell back to the shop once I left. He suggested I could buy a large bag of rice or grains but I just don't trust them. I want to do something but there are too many kids to buy pencils and books for so I said I will get some sport equiptment, I asked if they like cricket. India is cricket M.A.D.! The girls all said yes. So through an interpreter I said I will return with some cricket bats and balls and he is like, 'Only boys play this sport and it is not useful for girls better you buy a carrom board or volleyball because they like to watch cricket but they can not play'. Exactly! They can't play because they've never had the chance and with people like you they never will have the chance. GRR! I'd like to use that cricket bat to do something else with namely smack it over your head!


  • At 7:11 PM, Blogger Raj Shrestha said…

    OH Puja have a fun there i am also a volunteer from PA nepal,Nice journal and keep it on when do u return to australia

  • At 2:01 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    not sure when i go back to Oz, the world is too big and I want to still go to Pris, Tokyo and indonesia so mybe not for a while, though my bank account is defn becconing me home to a job to refuel the cash.


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