Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankful in India :: Eye to Eye with Large Animals

One of the things that amazed me about India were all the animals. Animals seem to share the streets freely with people, cars, scooters, camels, buses ... and of course the many wayward cows. I do have to say that I am so glad that we decided against renting a car and hired a driver. The cost was a bit more, but it certainly was so preferred to trying to navigate the streets of India on our own. While there were traffic lights, there were no clearly marked lanes. Driving 'rules' seemed to be more of a suggestion.

On our way out of Dehli, we pulled up next to a brigade of camels who were taking over several lanes of the road. A group of 100+ camels all mounted by the Indian Army Camel Corps --- truly amazing looking and majestic. But a bit of a traffic obstacle. Again, so glad we were not driving.

Our driver, Sharma, recounted a story of hitting a farmer's chicken. There was a negotiation afterwards in which the agreement was that Sharma would pay the cost of the chicken 30x over. The rationale was that not only had the farmer lost this one chicken, but all the chickens that might have come from this chicken (assuming the eggs weren't scrambled for breakfast!). I remember thinking how crazy this rationale was, but Sharma assured us that this really was a fair exchange.

We arrived in Pushkar, a beautiful city along the shore of a lake and so picturesque. It has one of my favorite local bazaars for shopping where we wondered in and out of the shops along the water. I was lost in thought in a tapestry shop when I heard my husband say "I think there is something going on." He wasn't sure exactly what it was, but the locals were running in all directions … in complete chaos. We quickly realized that we had better take cover with everyone else.We jumped into a door frame that was just large enough to hold the two of us and held our breath. The next thing we saw was a brahma bull snorting and swinging its head just 2-3 feet away from us. A few people who were still in the street were screaming and running off into whatever corner they could find. We stood still waiting for the bull to pass. I guess this was India’s version of the ‘running of the bulls’ and thankfully no one was hurt – at least not from what we witness. 

In another city, Udipur, we were drifting through the main bazaar of town. Yes, I love to shop. I felt what I can only describe as a presence behind me. There wasn't a shadow as it was high noon, so I had no idea what I might find when I turned around. As I did I nearly jumped out of my shoes. Standing less than 2 feet away was a large elephant looking me straight in the eye. The old girl was actually sweet. But that's not the point! I mean, who expects an elephant to be peering over your shoulder?

So one of the many things I am thankful for while traveling in India was when I was eye to eye with one of the larger animals ... she was quite gentle. 

15 comments:

Katherine at Terra Beadworks said...

Sounds very interesting indeed. My favorite animal has to be the elephant. I am quite intrigued by them. Would love to visit India too. Enjoy your time and don't buy too many trinkets!

Plami said...

I love elephants... it's a dream to stand so close to one :)

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Jacquelineand.... said...

Oh to be able to travel to India! I'm glad you didn't have a closer encounter with the bull and that you were able to have such a close encounter with Miss Elephant.

New End Studio said...

The painting on the elephants is lively and beautiful, I hope the elephant enjoys it. Your story just drew me in, exciting adventures! It must not be dull living with all of these animals so close by.

Christine Altmiller said...

India must possess some sort of magic. It sounds beautiful and unique and a bit surreal. Enjoyed the animal photos and your memories of them.

Melissa Meman said...

Wow, how wonderful to have gotten to travel there and have those experiences! Look at that gorgeous elephant!

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Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Hahaha...indeed...who expects an elephant to be looking over your shoulder! What an amazing trip. I would so love to visit there one day. It is such a unique and rich culture.

Bobbie said...

Oh my gosh, what a story! Not sure I know anyone else who can say they've come face to face with both an elephant and a brigade of camels!

Bobbie said...

Oh my gosh, what a story! Not sure I know anyone else who can say they've come face to face with both an elephant and a brigade of camels!

A Half-Baked Notion said...

I'm enjoying this virtual visit to India, Cynthia. Much easier on my old bones and my pocketbook, and you are a wonderful storyteller indeed!

m.e. said...

Many ,many thanks for sharing your travel adventures.
Through your eyes I'm able to visit places I'll never see in person.
Interesting how beads have been the catalyst the brought the world to my desk top !
m.e. :)

Miss Val's Creations said...

I love your stories since India has always been on my list of places to visit. It must have been so fascinating to witness this chaos first hand!!! The chicken story is quite funny but I imagine to a farmer, each animal is worth so much. Very cool about this beautifully adored elephant!

Caron Michelle said...

Fabulous pics - love the accompanying story! :)

BeadedTail said...

Sounds like an amazing trip! I can't imagine seeing all those animals everywhere! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

Marcela Gmd said...

Wonderful experience!!!
Besos, Marcela♥

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