Location: Khem Villas, Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore Forest Reserve, Rajasthan
It is Mazel Cohen's birthday tomorrow the 15th of July in the year of the lord 2012 ... and we wish her the very best, not just for the day but in the days and years to come ...may you remain well and in good spirits ... love from all of us here at the TumblerTownEf !! ..... and the frustration and anger and the helplessness of the loss of Blog yesterday night still lingers. I had to be up at 4am to catch the flight for Jaipur and onward by road to Ranthambore, so a rest was essential ... but ... despite that pressure, I labored till 3:15 AM to retrieve it and failed. By the time I laid myself down, it was time to get up and leave. So today I start early, and start with the conscious effort not to lose what I often do on this platform.
Jaipur airport was quiet in the early hours. The flight was comfortable and pleasant for the hour and forty five minutes, enhanced by a most generous and polite crew, who expressed some rather undeserving praise over the manner in which I travelled, something that I could not fathom, but ...
Its a 4 hour drive to the Reserve from the Jaipur airport, now housed in a spanking new and modern structure, recently constructed - a few of the changing landmarks that propel India's advancement in its development ! The road is still a bit spine shattering, but I could see as I travelled a parallel highway under construction, which bodes well for the future. As small town after small town and village swish by, you observe most of the typical infrastructure still unchanged. The women still adorn themselves in the colorful and most endearing Rajasthani clothing - the dupatta, still a ghunghat over their faces. But the young flash their jeans and mobike a great deal more. Its a contrasting style that one observes on the roads, almost symbolic of the country where modernity has not quite percolated the traditional - a young man with his lady riding pillion, he in his jeans and his Honda and she clinging on to the railings at the rear in ghagara and choli flowing in the brightest of yellow and red, face dutifully covered by the pallu!!
Khem Villas is basic, earthy, merging with the environ, presently under siege by NDTV, its hundreds of young and energetic manpower and its complicated technology, necessary for live broadcast television ! Many in the western world would associate the word 'Villas' as in a 'villa', a house to live in. But I in local language in Hindi, 'Villas' is not the plural of 'villa'. It is more a place, a destination.
The rooms are more of cottage industrial construct in keeping with the ambience - thatched roofs, verandahs, courtyard or the 'angan' with the very identifiable 'charpoy' made of netted jute strings, prominent in every village in the country, lying with casual presence at the center. The wash rooms are both indoor and outdoor, particularly the shower and tub. A delight to be in the raw, exposed to the elements, without any intrusion ! Or so the management professes ! We shall find out in the early morning hours of the morrow !! Lascivious comments shall not be entertained by Ef on this .. ha ha !
It is green all over, and a gentle breeze is building up from a most humid day. During the winter months the region shall experience zero temperatures and the day shall be pleasant and warm; almost desert like conditions!
We have walked around, met the villagers and talked to them on their relocation that had to be done to give more space to the tiger to roam. Some promotional spots have been recorded and now we await for the opening to be recorded before we go live tomorrow for 12 hours !!
I shall be back soon and hopefully if the internet permits will write again .. hurrraayyyy !!
Love to all,