Across the desert, Rajput forts atop mountains,
All and sundry covered in sand storm dust
Train stations in the middle of nowhere
Yet each replete with people
Imperious husbands bearded and fluorescently turbaned
Shy wives behind shawls, downcast eyes
I arrived finally in the Pink City,
Secured a tuk-tuk and told the driver to drive north.
At one point the omnipresent sun disappeared
Behind a curtain of brown leathery skin.
Camel, haughty and oblivious, it was my first
Close encounter of the ruminant kind
I urged the driver further still
Out of the city proper
Far from his comfort zone
By the leper colony
But not as far as the monkey temple
Stop at the sign welcoming mendicants.
More from fear of venturing further than factual knowledge
He told me “There is nothing there, Sahib.”
“Precisely,” I replied. “Nothing is what I’m looking for.”