The Indiad

Dwight and Elsa on their mount


(This the verse in which a wayward merchant from Londontown and his family find our Six Explorers in deepest Rajasthan)

In Udaipur, where lakes abound
But dry’s the river bank
At a Maharana’s home we found
The wandering famille Blanc

One palace floats in the middle of a lake,
Glimmering despite 500 years decay
Like a novel of modern day,
One brother took from another in a ‘maha’ power play.

Each day, through cattle traffic, we walked
While gawkers reached for Princess E
Over exquisite meals, at Whistling Teals, we talked
Then hiked at night among leopards we couldn’t see

Always with us: our warrior, our guide.
Our hindu guru and negotiator, e’er at our side.
He was Mapquest, Google, Wiki too,
An info trinity through and through
He showed both sites and sights (with key sound bites).
He was our ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
We learned much of India, on the ground, and what goes on ‘above’
Through his eyes we better saw both the challenges and beauty.
Each great day began with: Where is Shruti??

Then on to village Bundi we bumped and tossed.
Through a winding maze of lanes felt lost,
Until under the monkeys’ gaze of malice
We found rooftop retreat beneath a new palace
Hikes to the ruins of harems and fortresses.
Meals under moonlight, with still unpoured glasses.
Til, to our teetotalling young brahmin host,
We showed how to make a most magical toast:
Fresh mint and gin (a mix real and Riband)
Then shaken in ice (which, here, was no given!)
And lo we delivered a signature pour:
The Bundi Martini – pure joy for the tour!

Our travelling band then again to the “highway”
(that loosely defined – more intestinal gyrate)
Busses share bad road with all nature of herd,
Cow, buffalo, and camel, the traffic absurd.

To Ranthambhore, and Sher Bagh, the ‘Garden of the Beast’
Our merry band sought stripes and fangs (perhaps even a feast?)
The monkeys they lined each branch of each tree.
But the birds were really the sight we could see.
We found partridges, parakeets, peafowl and peacocks.
(Though relished the chance not to follow the vielcocks)
Silent with patience (not!), we stalked him…Le Tigre.
Thin seemed the prey though, so potential seemed meagre.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a striped old cat, perhaps digesting a deer.
We watched from our haunches, save one o’er the windshield,
Who clicked more like video with each camera we could field.

Then peace we sought, and peace we found, at Aman Bagh resort.
Inhabited by “Seekers”, (some the Greenwich lady sort?)
They travelled with their guru, for yoga and chant,
The flowing hair and robes: their Yogi Russell Brandt

But the ultimate surprise, was the Holi-est of days,
When sandal clad, we walked to the craze.
What did we know?
We started all White, both family and bears,
Raring to go!
The colors came, and colors flew
‘You paint me, then I paint you!’
First blue filled the air, then red and then yellow
And purple and orange on each Other Fellow.
On face, back, and hair, and chest did paint go,
Which (mixed with more spirits and mint), made us glow
Then rain from ‘the skies’ (piped in I confess),
Made the colors all run to an artistic mess.
Then with the ground so soft, the chaos begun,
We decided to mudslide to prolong the fun!

Yet this ‘garden of peace’ had yet more for our brood
Each went for the yoga (and of course for more food).
Then wickets were lifted, and wickets were felled.
As novice bowlers met batsmen on Indian veld.

But onward they must, these explorers so restless
Another village for Polers, and the Whites ever nestless.
To Jaipur, to Jaipur – we’re off right at sunrise!
To re-test our mettle on cattle filled byways.

Then, rising on the ridge, the ramparts we could see.
Walls eight centuries old, from Moghuls kept free.
The Jaipur Maharajas, their palace on the hill –
The Amber Fort shone pink, and well preserved still.
But it wasn’t the stonework that stalled the marauders.
It was the genius idea to marry off all their daughters.
Off to Delhi they went to appease Moghul clan
Which, ever since then, brought peace to this land.

On the eve of departure, an occasion so vaunted,
We’d need an event, by which most would be daunted:
Some pachyderm polo seemed just the right sort
To finish our journey in competitive sport.
So we mounted on mountains that moved with the ball,
Which was batted to one goal, and the other, by all.
For the oldest, Sir Greg, to the wee Princess Elsa,
We heard from the locals “You play terribly well, Sir!”

Alas, as it was with the guru, Siddhartha,
Who laid out The Path before our departure,
Comes a time when a “goodbye” is needed
Experience gained, wisdom to be heeded.
A memorable journey with Explorers so able,
We’ve been honoured to join on your travel now fabled!

PS:  What’s the best thing we found in India, hmmm…
The Food of course!  (with some Immodium)
The tikka, the fish, the masala and dahls
(But for what hit the lawn, all got to the stalls.)

Thanks Whites!!
We know our trip to India
Would a been way less fun without ya!
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