we met ricky martin in khajuraho. he was shorter than you'd expect. less teeth, too, and the ones that remained were broken and stained. but he was a big time shop owner in a small village, and everyone knew who he was.
ricky martin (still unsure of his real name…) immediately targeted us. he was arrogant and presumptuous. but we were excited, if not a bit nervous, when he invited us to his home for dinner. we had gained a mutual respect for each other; he stopped trying to sell us fake ancient artifacts, and we would buy from his shop necessary items (umbrellas) to the chagrin of other shop owners.
his home was a walk through the countryside and in a smaller village. his house was a couple concrete rooms surrounding a well in a small courtyard. his kitchen was under a tarp to the side. i did not see a refrigerator and his stove was a bunsen burner. his wife did not speak english, but was young and beautiful and lovely. his children were playful and shy. his sister in law had come to meet the foreigners.
we watched his wife cook dinner for us while he smoked in their courtyard, shouting to his children. she crouched down on the floor and made the dough for chapati, showing me and letting me try to roll one myself. she cooked a delicious gravy and paneer with bright spices that made my eyes water. and served us on tin plates.
we climbed on top of one of their roofs and could see all of khajuraho, decaying ruins from hundreds of years ago, and the countryside dotted with black trees and boys herding goats.
and then we walked back through the rain and watched children in puddles and women washing clothes.
this was my favourite. i felt as though i was part of india that day.
taken on digital as it was a very wet day...