The Blue city, like a sea of water in the middle of the Thar desert, the colour of Shiva. It was most commonly understood that the Brahmin, who were considered close to the gods, painted their houses blue as an indicator of their social class. Today, there are still many blue houses in the old city, a backdrop that pulls you into the winding paths, welcoming you to the warmth of people who sit against these crisp walls.
Everywhere we go, you are stopped by people for a selfie, ‘Miss, please’, ‘Buba, please picture’. An apparent fascination with foreigners and white people, particularly for those in the group who are blonde or ginger, less so for me as they think I look a bit Indian. Our brief time in Jodpor, was particularly good for this, within the 15 minute walk from the fort to the market, meet our line up!
First up we have our baby momma, who practically threw her new born into Ursula’s arms, panicking not to drop her she held on tight as the photos commenced and the baby got passed from one to the next. Just a few more meters, and we met Anop. On sight of the camera around my neck, he instantly started posing and calling for us to come over. Here we had India’s Mr Georgio Armarni, or at least that’s what he thought. Loving the pics, he insisted I wrote down his address and posted the pictures to him so he could hang them on his wall.
Winding further down the hill, passing the crumbling powder blue buildings, a stirring drum beat and a pitter patter of feet fill our ears. We turned the corner to find a group of kids. They ran at us in excitement, again smiling, making shapes for another pic. They pointed to the wall asking us to have a picture with them. As we got up to leave this time, I spotted someone I wanted a picture of, an old lady who owned a fruit and veg shop. On try to discreetly get a natural shot of her, she spotted me. I smiled and gestured to see if it was ok and she started to straighten up, adjust her headscarf, the kids poured in to be part of the picture, but she ushered them off it was her moment! As I turn to leave, Hannah had been grabbed by a group of lads after Facebook profile pic!
Whilst this was a slightly excessive stretch of requests, it has been like this in every city we have gone to. A fascination I just can’t fathom, particularly given there are still enough tourists that they see white people. Some kids do it so they can ask for money afterwards, but many just want a picture with you to post later? Madness!