How do I begin about the Gypsies in Pushkar? Hmm… several thoughts come to mind; mysterious, exotic, enchanting, mischievous, and perhaps even a little “dangerous” amongst some others… The Gypsies seemed a bit more “rough” than the other vendors, merchants, and entertainers in Pushkar. It is really hard to describe. Thinking back on them, I think of them as the “used car salesmen” of Rajastan; with a twinkle of an eye, your wallet is a lot lighter.
The woman above was a town favorite with the tourists. Specifically the male tourists. Even more specifically, the unmarried male Scandinavian tourists. This woman always seemed to have a pack of fair hair – blue-eyed Vikings drooling over her and trying to find some way to impress upon her that they were the answer to her life’s woes. Later, she told me that she had more than 50 marriage proposals from northern European men; primarily the Scandinavian countries and a few Germans too!
The and boy below were her younger siblings. While she sold bracelets and did Henna painting on the tourists hands, the younger siblings just hung around and hit up the tourists for candy money, for candy, or for candy money and some more money. I thought that the younger sister looked like Pocahontas:
I really enjoyed the antics of this young man. He was always happy and smiling and kept saying, “Full power” while making this arm motion. Apparently he saw it on some cartoon or super-hero movie and was imitating it to no end. He was constantly asking the tourists for candy money and then he would run off to the store to buy more sugar; unfortunately to the detriment of his teeth. The Gypsies seemed a bit “rougher” than the other vendors in Pushkar in that they seemed a little dirtier and a little less “conservative” in their demeanor than the rest of the Indians at Pushkar.
Most of the European men were more than willing to oblige the two younger children with some cash in order to remove them to the candy store so that they might have more courting time with their older sister. I don’t suppose that they were listening when she said she had no mind for marriage; she didn’t want to end up like her older sisters – pregnant with children to tend after. She wanted no such life. I asked her if she had considered any of the men’s proposals and she said that she loved Pushkar, Rajastan, and India and would never leave. Should they want to marry her, she said, “They can move to India.” She seemed to have a defiant and independent streak in her.
However, she also had a temper and when her two younger siblings didn’t do what she told them, they got a good smack up the side of their head. She yelled at them as though a demon might pop out of her chest. And then, as quickly as they started crying and wandered off a few feet, she would smile and carry on as though nothing had happened. I watched her and her siblings and cousin for a few days and it seemed that they collected more money from “fans” than they did by actually selling anything or providing any type of service. It seems that they just put on an aire of charm and the tourists find it fit to give them money.
There was something quite bewitching about this woman. She smiled and flirted and seemed to separate many tourists from their money. I couldn’t help but think of all of the Gypsy stories and how they cast spells and wondered if she didn’t have a set of spell bags hanging from her belt that and each one had a name on it: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, & Germany. I tried to imagine her in Norway in a long jacket in the snow… no, I don’t suppose that would work…
I ran into the cousin (below) while she was walking with the little Pocahontas sister (just off-screen to the right) and captured this photo:
… selling bracelets in the walkway near Lake Pushkar…
… some fellow travelers from Australia; Jennifer, Claire, & Bradley as we check out the bracelets at the Gypsy stall…
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