Marija from the desert
Life is full of surprises. One of situations you can't prepare for is the desert. It's merciless and challenging. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to find hope for a dash of reprieve from this lifeless place. When I'm writing this I'm having an inarticulate pleasure to sit on a camel, hear only wind and see only the vastness of the desert landscape. We've just had a meal in bushes, among goats and dishes cleaned with sand. Having done another stage on our route, we stopped in a small village full of children. We visit various places, but what interests me the most is another human being. The village we're setting forth from seems to be the end of the world. Full of elderly and kids who look forward any gesture, any glance. You play with kids for a while and you have no respite.
Simple physiological needs reached new levels of difficulty. It is really difficult to find a secluded spot here. Few people and a great area, but still there are always some eyes. I miss thick locust trees from my childhood;) My desert guarding angel cares to make me feel good. Every now and then he offers me snuff mixed with something looking like fine-grained grit and tastes like incense. Saliva exudes itself and you have to spit it once in a while. When I'm spiting, sitting on the camel, I feel like I have already figured something out, but in fact I know nothing. Summar, Gula and Aliy, our companions, seem to feel good in our company. It's their job, but on the other hand they're saying we are different from the others;) Hah! Who wouldn't love to hear such words in the middle of a desert.
The views are beautiful, completely foreign, although known from photographs. We're spending night here. Four walls of sand, us and 10 more mates of our guards. A perfect party, apparently not only for us. A goat meat, vegetables, rice and chapati have been boiling in a pot for about two hours. In a word – there's gonna be a feast.
Indeed, there was the feast. We assumed the goat must've run a lot, because it was really tough.
But actually I wanted to say I lack words, pictures, names. We spend the dusk in the company of two angels. Summar and Ali. When we came to know them better, they revealed a lot of their real self. They didn't have to. In fact it's just their job, they meet a lot of people. Mostly people end up being silent. But their “self” is so fetching I mustn't push it aside. Primarily, they are different from people you can meet in city. They have the same desires, dreams and pursuances, but they're expressed so simply and purely, that they take a touching profoundness. It is hard to grasp, that a person with whom we converse pretty fluently can't read and write. He can't recognise letters, therefore he can't respond to messages, even though he has a mobile. Moreover – he doesn't know the day of his birthday, the only clue he has is that he once was a kid. Summar says he's 25, he looks 40. Certainly it is the result of hard work in the sun and the ignorance of his own age. They are simple and they have almost nothing. They get along. We jolly joked with a lot of sarcasm in a language both they and we know very well. All they know are random and very practical skills.
Anyway, we spent the evening and the night talking and joking, it means doing something I like the most. There is a lot of kindness in these people. Their work, guiding people in the desert, makes them have a small view of the world. View they mostly can't understand, but they accept it with humbleness and curiosity. Their wives, chosen by parents and siblings, they see only after the wedding. They say that when they don't want to marry someone they haven't met before, they pray to god to take them sooner. Their comprehension of many things is downright infantile, naïve and they don't ask redundant questions. The good is what they know, they don't seek it further. Lack of money and hard conditions aren't an argument to behave against their rules. They won't take money found in the desert for that simple reason, that God will one day ask them, why they took something that didn't belong to them.
Physiological issues stopped being a problem to us. People adapt quickly, after all. Asking where is the toilet in the middle of deser would be ridiculous, and you can get used to absolute solitude, wind and a friendly bush or a dune. You can even like it. After a night full of stars, legends and taling about customs we gave up and went to sleep, to be able to delight with the sunrise the very next day. My watchman, Summar Dolladnir cared about me not to lack anything. Not to carry my bag. Every moment he offered me the mentioned before menthol with snuff. He was saying repeatedly: Marija, you are happy, I'm double happy;) Therefore I was happy, to make him happy twice as much;) We don't get used to have carriers, so it didn't take much for us to almost change our roles. I peeped into their pots, peeled vegetables, eventually we all rode camels. Summar every moment showed me the possibilities and taught me the basics of Hindi. He taught me to ride a camel in various ways. To communicate with the animal and change the pace – from the slow one to the really fast run. When you add the view and taste of India... incredible experience. These guys can't read. They cant recognise the alphabet. They have simple phones and they use them blindly, they leared using them by heart. Both have one shirt. New York is Poland for them, they know India from the patch of the land where they step. Simultaneously kindness, authenticity and wisdom flow through them , something worth copying, worth listening to.
Ah, I would've almost forgotten. The story of Marija is that I have to leave that name where it was given to me, it is in the desert. Thus I said goodbye to that desert girl, but I feel it is not for ever.
- End of the road
- My Indian Family
- Phantom town - Khajuraho
- Tea variation
- Women like the flowers
- I sat by the Ganges
- Evening - trekking outfit
- At 5 am
- No route to Leh
- Paper conflict – Jaipur
- One rupee
- Marija from the desert
- I feel like a king – a bit dirty, but still a king!
- The very disorganized expedition