Every place has a few ‘bad guys’ because the world is gray and nothing is black and white but love. Oh, I went too deep. Anyway, I decided to write this blog to share the stories of my acquaintances with some beautiful souls in the city of lakes. As I mentioned in my previous blog about how safe this city is, it ought to have really nice people to be that, right?
I landed in Udaipur at about 7:10pm and my friend who was supposed to come pick me up was running late. Me being the impatient female that I am, walked out of the airport and decided to wait at the main road instead. As I did this, I realised that I wasn’t in Bombay anymore. Because there were such few people around, it looked like what some streets in Bombay do, after midnight. As I stood there scrolling down my Instagram feed, a couple of cab drivers, a watchman and about three people leaving the airport asked me if I needed any help booking a ride to wherever I was headed. Refusing politely and informing them that I was actually waiting for a friend, I not only felt overwhelmed but secure too. There definitely were a few people around whom everyone should be careful but overall I realised how hospitable this city is. Not that I suggest you to roam alone and explore but you don’t need to worry about it if you are visiting this city alone.
We mostly used Uber and Jugnoo to book cabs and rickshaws to explore the city and most of these drivers were really helpful when I enquired about the places that I had planned to visit. Knowing the current demand and situation of any place in a new city is crucial. You might read a whole different story on the internet which could be posted in the year 2013. And such information is unreliable when you plan to visit the place a few years later. Shilpgram for example, has beautiful pictures and offers various activities but not throughout the year. Thanks to an Uber driver, I didn’t waste my time visiting that place because it had no set-up of events going on when I was in town.
My second day’s experience was a little forbidden because of a cab driver. I was exploring the city alone and after Udaivilas I had plans to go shopping. I asked the cab driver for some suggestions and he convinced me that a store in Babu bazaar was way better than any stall at Hathipol market. Well the stuff was good but the prices were sky high and I discovered that the driver was on a commission contract with the store owner. I left that place within a couple of minutes and took a rickshaw to the old city market. That rickshaw wala also had some shops in his connection which is why I planned to discover the market on my own. My lesson? Rarely anybody is selfless in today’s world and one should never be lazy to walk when it comes to shopping. Especially, when it comes to street shopping.
I did find some amazing and affordable stuff at the old city market which totally sufficed my demands. A leather sling bag, leather juti, long skirt, some jewellery, leather wallet and leather diaries – pretty much what I bought.
You’ll find some talented sculptors all around the city, working hard under the sun, making beautiful sculptures out of marbles and stones. But they sell a beautiful piece in about 100 bucks. So much handwork, such less price. Their products cost less because they don’t know their worth. Please don’t bargain with them if you happen to want to buy their products.
There is this one shop in chandpole where the owner engraves the leather bags and diaries in which ever way you wish. And the best part is that he engraves them even if you haven’t bought it from his shop. I was getting my diary engraved when I thought of getting the wallet that I bought for my mom engraved as well. He had some important delivery work to finish which is why he refused to do the wallet after he imprinted my diary. I requested him a lot, telling him that I had a flight the next morning itself but he seemed to have his priorities set right. But when I was leaving, he called out to me and agreed to imprint the wallet as well. Surprisingly, he refused to accept any money in return of this work. My friend and I went to a shop nearby and bought a little marble elephant show-piece which I presented to him after he finished engraving my wallet. The gift was a mark of my gratitude because every generous person needs a reminder of how great they are. He smiled as he accepted the gift and gave me his card as his company also delivers throughout India. I left that place feeling happy about the fact that money is not the most important thing in the world and some people know it. I’m sharing his contact details here as he also ships their firm’s leather products to wherever you are!
Name: Shah Handicrafts
We went to the Kabab Mistri restaurant for dinner and my friend who is temporarily working in Udaipur is a frequent customer there. Mr. Bansi was there to serve us and he was the most hospitable human being I met there. We ordered for the food and he gave us two complimentary fruit shots which is their speciality just because he came to know that I was visiting Udaipur for the first time. It didn’t stop at this, he then gave me a bowl of ice-cream that they make in their hotel itself which by the way, was delicious AF. While leaving he also gave me a little bottle of Chavanprash, maybe because I look like I need some.
The day I was leaving, I decided to talk to this lady seated next to me at the Jasmine Cafe who was from France! Listening to her story, she has been exploring India since the past five months and has now decided to live in Udaipur. She told me that she LOVED Bombay when she discovered that that is where I was from. She’s a painter and she found a job in Udaipur as the same. She loves India because the people here are caring and welcoming. ‘There is love here’ – is what she told me. The French people are quite selfish and France is not a good country to live in, was her opinion about her own country. I couldn’t help but smile as I left for the airport, wondering if she was right. Maybe this is the place where love is. Maybe we are lucky to be born in a country where people care. Sometimes more than they actually should but we’re used to that by now, eh?
Anyway, Udaipur was a beautiful experience and I’d love to go there again!
Did I tell you that the travel movie on Udaipur will be live in a couple of days? On YouTube, of course. Stay tuned you guys!