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My first day in Kakku

Kaku Travel Blog

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the people of Kakku

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.

Kakku main street
I sit next to the driver as that is the only free seat. There are about ten more people sitting in the driver´s cabin and of course I´m the centre of their attention. There´s a guy from Hyderabad and he acts as the interpreter if necessary. Everyone´s happy and cheerful. A beautiful woman is hiding her face with her sari, but it´s still visible how pretty she is. The white of her teeth shines through the orange colour of her garment and her smile is like the glistening sun magically dancing on water.

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.

grandpa lighting a cigarette

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.

grandpa with his grandchildren
And they start shouting again. But they give in and stay for the night and then plan to leave again as soon as possible the next morning. They move into one of the four huts, while I get a beautiful room with bathroom and my own rooftop terrace for 400 Rs. I don´t haggle. It´s a fair price.

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.

curious children
I give her a small donation and she gives me a sweet in return. From the elevated grounds of the temple I look back down towards the village, where kites are floating in the sky and children´s laughter mixes with birds chirping. It seems that here in Kakku the world is still in balance.

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 don´t understand much, I still feel very welcome.  None of them speaks English and neither do I.

me surrounded by children
The children cling to my feet and smile the greatest smile and laugh the funniest laugh.

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.

trying to feel like a camel
It´s a happy diversion in their everyday life. Soon it seems like the whole neighborhood has been informed that we´re here and everyone wants to take a curious look at us. Naturally they hug us and hold on to our arms and legs.

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.

simsing says:
Love the way you travel!
A true veni, vidi, vici.
Posted on: Aug 05, 2012
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the people of Kakku
the people of Kakku
Kakku main street
Kakku main street
grandpa lighting a cigarette
grandpa lighting a cigarette
grandpa with his grandchildren
grandpa with his grandchildren
curious children
curious children
me surrounded by children
me surrounded by children
trying to feel like a camel
trying to feel like a camel
man making jewellery
man making jewellery
Ten-hut! :-)
Ten-hut! :-)
me in Kakku
me in Kakku
curious children
curious children
the temple in Kakku
the temple in Kakku
Big Mama
Big Mama
surrounded by people
surrounded by people
me with children in Kakku
me with children in Kakku
mom and her child
mom and her child
the camel gets a haircut
the camel gets a haircut
many children following us
many children following us
curious children
curious children
the two French girls having dinner
the two French girls having dinner
children in Kakku
children in Kakku
children in Kakku
children in Kakku
Kaku
photo by: Morle