Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Not riding the camel

Our younger daughter accompanied us on a road trip to Rajasthan last winter. She was also the co-driver, so we spent some good times together in the front seats, while the RE relaxed in the back seat.
The spouse and I fulfilled a long cherished dream of visiting the Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti, the beloved Ajmer waale Khwaja. Our daughter had visited it earlier, so was somewhat familiar with the place. One night in Ajmer, one night in Pushkar, then off to Bikaner. Which is the locale of this post.


The spouse had been studying routes and booking hotels and planning most of the trip. He discovered what seemed like an interesting activity, a camel safari, which was followed by a folk dance performance and dinner in the sand dunes somewhere near Bikaner. 
(I had last sat on a camel in Puri, nearly eight years ago. 
That was some eight years younger. 
That was a mere 20-30 minute ride on a beach). 

This safari was a different kettle of fish entirely.

My camel didn't seem to like me. It also seemed much wider than the only other camel I had ever ridden! Sitting astride the camel seemed to be pulling apart all my thigh and pelvic muscles. It was jerky, kept diving forward ( making me hang on for dear life, clenching all relevant muscles even more), kept trying to sniff the hind quarters of whichever camel happened to be in front of it, and sometimes terrifying me even more by breaking into a trot. The desert was beautiful, the view of the setting sun with another camel safari in silhouette was breathtaking, but the ride seemed endless and my discomfort was intense. Dismounting, after what seemed like hours (but was probably not more than an hour and a half) was an immense relief. We explored the camp, enjoyed some tea, biscuits and namkeen, and chatted with our fellow adventurers. The arrangements were adequate, but the camp dinner got delayed, and I was irritable and exhausted by the time we got back to our hotel. 

However, this camel safari has had its uses. It is my personal benchmark for physical discomfort (quite apart from medical/surgical situations which have entirely different standards of discomfort). 
It can be hours of being stuck in traffic, endless waiting at airports, long flights, very long car rides:
(all highly privileged discomforts, I know) all of which I endure with reasonable fortitude, and thank my stars that at least I'm not riding that camel!

No comments: