“No, no, look. One tuk-tuk. Three people. One-twenty”
We ended up losing the bargain. No need to say that Meead was kind of pissed off; she managed to convince the tuk-tuk guy that she’s half-indian (she’s not) but she couldn’t get the price down to 110. Another time perhaps.
It’s 4 in the afternoon and we were on our way back to our house in Ashowk Chok after spending the day in the village of Ratanpura.
We’re a team of 20 people from all around the world. Britain, Germany, Italy, China, Malaysia, Egypt, Omman, Lebanon… you name it. Each one of us paired up with a guide/translator, Indian students who gave us the tour of the village and helped us interview the families.
I was a couple of questions away from completing my first questionnaire, when a young Indian kid walked up to me and asked me for my name. For some reason, he couldn’t pronounce the L and that’s how I got my first nickname of the day, Namah. A group of kids approached me and then pointed to a nearby pink building. An older man showed up right out of nowhere and said “My religion. I show you.”
I took my shoes off (we all had to, sorry mom) and followed him inside the temple. When I stopped and stood still, something bumped into me. I turned around and to my surprise, around twenty children were standing right behind me, giggling, waiting for my next move.
Ratanpura has an upper-elementary school. It was recess time so the kids were free to wander off in the village which is why I was followed all morning by a group of kids chanting “Ram Ram Namah”, giggling, and dragging me around the village asking for pictures.
At some point during the tour, my name was changed again. To Dolly, this time. Apparently, it means “gift from gods”.