Jodhpur was nice. Not my favourite Indian city so far but it came close. It lacked the excitement and variety of Varanasi but provided an enjoyable almost relaxing stop. A strange occurrence in an Indian city.
I think that its niceness came from its ability to be as inoffensive and unintrusive as it could possibly be. Rickshaws crawled past but said nothing. Shop oweners chatted about their goods without trying the hard sell. In the old part of the city you didn’t continuously fear of being crushed or stampeded to death.
And with that niceness essentially came an uneventful stop. The fort dominated the horizon and was good to walk around but aren’t they always? The old city was a manageable hive of activity but nothing extraordinary. The people were lovely and helpful. Despite my mundane write up it is a place that I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting and would recommend it as an essential stop in Rajasthan. Fundamentally it was so refreshing to find a place that is well…nice!
To leave Jodhpur I went to the bus station . It’s always a hectic way to end your stay in a place as people scramble for tickets or seats. I navigated my way to ticket counter number one which incredibly only had one person in line. It was there that I cracked. I’m normally very tolerant when it comes to getting tickets and can hold my own when I need to but I just couldn’t bothered with elbows out. Instead as a middle aged man decided to push past and shout over everyone to buy a ticket I promptly informed him of the queue he had somehow not noticed. Confused, I showed him where to stand and what to do. Encouragingly he followed and filed in behind me. Ten seconds later he repeatedly tapped me on the shoulder and showed me the outstretched palm demonstrating unfairness. He mumbled in self pity. Two other men had pushed past and were barking out demands for tickets. Understanding the need for consistency I showed them too how to queue and returned to my place in the line. After a minute or so I turned around to see others joining a perfectly formed queue. Everyone was smiling, thoroughly chuffed with our accomplishments.
Finally it was my turn at the counter. It was at that point that I remembered that getting to it was only half of the problem:
“I’d like to buy a ticket to Bundi please”
“But this is the ticket counter for buses in Rajasthan!”
“Yes but not for Bundi, you need that counter” (waves hand in an obscure and unhelpful way)
I looked around at the scrummages forming at the other counters and decided to find my own way onto the bus.
When finally departing we drove past an army base. There was a roundabout outside. In its center was a downed Pakistani plane. The more I am in India the more confused I am of their relationship. The triumphalism of this site was a little scary.