My first day in Kakku
Kaku Travel Blog› entry 17 of 26 › view all entries
I meet two French girls and together we take a bus to Nokha. The two of them are also on their way to Kakku, in order to do a 3-day camel safari. When we arrive in Nokha we walk around the city in search of a bus to Kakku. We ask a rickshaw driver how much it would cost if he took us to Kakku and he says 50 Rupees. So we climb aboard but he merely drives around in a circle for a few minutes, then stops at a petrol station, turns around and says "To Kakku, very far, need petrol, 500 Rupees. You pay." I tell him I asked him before if he could take us to Kakku and that he agreed on doing so for 50 Rupees, so what´s all this bullshitting now? He loses himself in stupid argumentation but the three of us just get off the rickshaw and walk away without paying anything. We walk back to the market square and find a packed bus that takes us to Kakku.
The landscape is a waste land with isolated trees and sand, sand, sand. People getting off in the middle of nowhere, camel carriages, gazelles, a burning sun, people waving.
We arrive in Kakku at 3pm and walk to the Karni Singh Rest House, the only guest house in town. The two French girls obviously have a problem. Back in Bikaner they agreed on a price of 2000 Rupees per person for the camel safari, then they came here and now that they are here, suddenly it´s too expensive for them, they unnecessarily shout at Dr. Karni Singh, the owner of the hostel. For example, one of the girls shouts at the old man: "Be quiet! Okay?! Be quiet! Stop talking! (imagine a French accent!) I´m thinking what the hell is wrong with them? They have the India agitation. They haven´t surrendered yet. Now they don´t want to do the safari anymore but just stay here for one night, how much that would cost? 300 Rupees per person.
I leave the French girls to their sulking and head straight to the village. A car won´t start so I help pushing and the guys let me sit on the driver´s seat, while they push and I start the engine. Then I keep walking through the main sand street of Kakku. Everywhere people turn and smile at me, marvel at the gora and not one, not a single child is begging for money. I talk to a woman selling drinks in a tiny store, then to her neighbour, a jewellery maker. A guy on a motorbike offers me a ride to the temple, where a woman opens the holy shrine especially for me.
Back on main street, I continue my walk. Every now and then I sit down at someone´s shop and talk to the people, before I end up at a clothes shop, where an old guy talks to me non-stop, gives me a beedi and a dried supari to chew on. Within a few minutes I´m surrounded by about 20 people, who are all listening to my broken Hindi. They just talk and talk and talk and although I donÂ´t understand much, I still feel very welcome. None of them speaks English and neither do I.
After talking to them for about two hours, the mother of a family invites me to have dinner with them and says that I should bring the two French girls along as well. I agree and walk back to the guest house. When I get there, the girls are still inside their hut and probably would have stayed there till the morning without ever exploring the village. I tell them about the invitation and after their initial reluctance I can convince them that it´ll be a great experience. So at 6pm we walk to the family´s house, with about 20 children following us. We get onto the top of a house and let the kites fly. All the children are standing around us in a semi-circle, listening intently to our words and they are noticeably happy about our presence.
Finally dinner is served by Big Mama. Chapati, Dal, yoghurt, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, chili, apples, onions and rice and as simple as the food may be, it´s the best I´ve had in India so far. Everyone´s sitting around us and watching us eat and asking the occasional question. This village, these people, this food, this experience, this is the real India.
After we´ve finished our meals, big mama kicks us out of her house which is what Indians will do. First, they serve their guests and watch them eat and then you get kicked out, which means that now it is their time to eat and time for their family. Some of the kids are showing us the way through the darkness back to the guest house.
And just like the eternal stars in the sky, my heart sparkles brightly as I fall asleep.