“You are going to Jaisalmer for a weekend? To experience monsoons there?” asks my brother, his bemusement loud and clear over phone.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Last I knew, Jaisalmer was a desert and it doesn’t rain there,” he says. “Has climate change brought about rains there?”
“Very funny,” I retort.
“But seriously, people come to Mumbai, your city, to experience the rains, and you want to experience monsoons elsewhere ?
“It will be nice to experience the rains elsewhere for a change.”
“It has to rain in the first place ! Besides, weren’t you in Jaisalmer just 5 months back? Why do you want to go back so soon?” my brother persists.
I had asked myself these questions when I received an invitation from Suryagarh in Jaisalmer to host me and experience the magic of monsoons in the desert. A luxury boutique hotel, Suryagarh wished to showcase “a representation of a unique way of life, carefully preserving the traditions of…[the] past [and] framing them in a modern idiom”. The invitation also invited me to “celebrate the exuberance of Monsoons with us… [where] Jaisalmer transforms its barren beauty into inimitable patches of green pastures, lush oasis brimming with water and newness in all forms of life”.
I was tempted. Very tempted to say yes immediately, particularly as this was an invitation for a visit over a weekend which meant that this wouldn’t interfere with my office work. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to Jaisalmer, a place I had visited earlier in February this year and had come back with mixed feelings. While I had loved the old world charm of the Jaisalmer Fort, its havelis, wall art and Jain temples, I found it hard to ignore the unimaginable filth all over the city and or the overwhelming sadness and grief that I felt when I visited the royal cenotaphs. But then, another part of me (the one that wanted me to accept the invitation) said that this was the chance to see the many places that I had missed out on seeing and of course experience the rains in a different setting and context.
I rarely say no to an opportunity to travel, but this was a difficult choice to make. So, I decided to take the help of good old Google and get some information on Suryagarh which would (hopefuuly) help me decide on whether this invitation was worth it or not.