The moment captured by a camera often has a story hiding in it, which only the people involved are aware of. This photograph also has a story. I clicked it a few years ago in Pushkar, small town in Rajasthan during the camel fair. It was a business trip for my sister and I was accompanying her. At the last minute, she suggested changing our itinerary to include a visit to Pushkar Fair. Pushkar was around 20 km from Ajmer city where we were staying. Our plan was to go to Bhilwara, a district in Rajasthan, which was on the other side of Ajmer. I was not interested in looking at camels and other livestock put up for sale. So I fought hard to but I failed and so, as soon as we reached Ajmer, we booked a cab for Pushkar without taking rest.
Afternoon was too sunny for the month of November. Since it was a last minute plan, I did not have time to gather information on Pushkar. The route to Pushkar was scenic. We crossed Aravalli, the oldest mountain range in India. Sun played hide and seek with us when we crossed the mountain range. We crossed a famous Dargah on the way, which marked our entry into Pushkar. Then after more than half an hour, our driver pointed out Pushkar temple. It is the only temple built in the honour of Lord Brahma, one of the Hindu Gods. We did not stop anywhere. As we were reaching closer to Pushkar, sun was becoming unbearable. Finally, we saw colourful stalls on both sides of the road. Then the driver stopped the car and told us that this is the Pushkar Fair ground and we should call him when we are done.
We got down. Pushkar Fair ground was on the outskirts of the town. Then we started admiring the colours of the hand made decorative objects. Suddenly, I felt as if the ground was sucking my feet in and the sand was getting in my shoes, covering my feet. I looked down irritated and shook my feet one by one to get rid of the sand. But then it happened again. The stalls were hiding the reality of scene.
Finally, we decided to walk inside the ground. Still troubled with my sand covered feet, I was looking down, instead of looking in the front. The sun was so harsh that my sister was also very inattentive lost in her bag looking for an umbrella. Finally, we both looked up and what we saw was unimaginable and overwhelming for both of us.
All we could see was sand all around us. We turned and looked around and then looked at each other. Then we again turned around and finally we simultaneously said, ‘Desert’. The stalls, which initially appeared to be hiding the reality looked so small in front of the vastness of the space. Endless open space covered with sand, yes, it was a desert. We were standing in the desert.
This was our first experience of desert and it was overwhelming. That’s the day I clicked this picture. It was clicked on the ground where camel and horse races are held during the fair. In the background are men from all over Rajasthan and neighbouring states. People visit this fair to buy camels and other livestock. We rode a camel-buggy (cart) for the first time. We also saw horses dancing in the fair. Villagers were staying this this large space in pitched tents.
This photograph brought back a beautiful memory in my mind.