dispatches aperture poste restante etcetera

Ajay's Dream
By Gregg - 15 Jan, 2000

Page 2 of 5

Click to Enlarge

Arriving in Jodhpur we were instantly surrounded by auto-rickshaw drivers. "Where you go? Where you go?" We asked one of the dozen or so drivers if he knew of Joshi's Blue House—a guest house we'd heard about. He didn't; none of them did. "Where you go?" Joshie's Blue House—near the fort. "Airport! Sixty rupees. The drivers bargained hard against themselves coming down to thirty rupees—not a bad price if we'd happened to be going to the airport.

After a bit of kidding discussing transport to the airport, we set them straight—Joshi's Blue house, Novchomy Road. They knew the road. "Thirty rupees", then "twenty rupees". Again they bargained against themselves. We stalled and laughed as the price dropped. "Ten rupees." "Five rupees." Clearly the hotel commission racket goes on here and they were hoping Joshi's would be full so they could then take us to a place of their own choosing. We went with a driver who had said ten rupees. We knew the price was unfairly low, but if he was willing, so were we. As we accepted his offer, someone yelled "Two rupees!"

The scene was all a big laugh and set the stage for a rather upbeat arrival. We settled into a room at Joshi's. From the roof deck, the stunning blue homes splayed out before us—the majestic hilltop fort rising above.

Click to Enlarge

We spent much of the afternoon walking and getting acquainted with Jodhpur's narrow and congested streets. The usual mix of people, animals and vehicles—cows, pigs, goats, dogs, bullock-carts, bicycles, scooters, auto-rickshaws and the occasional car all sharing too little space. Lining the sides an unbroken wall of narrow shops selling fabric, incense and stainless steel kitchenware. Tailors stitching clothes. Vendors frying 'samosas' and potato 'chaat'. Soon we were lost. But then we came across a large banner strung across the road. "TENRETNI", it read. It was the backside of Ajay's sign. We turned into the adjacent building, climbed the stairs, and found ourselves in the Dream Team's cybercafe. We were welcomed by Vishal, another member of Dream Team. Ajay had told Vishal about meeting us and had showed him our site. Vishal in turn made us feel right at home. He rang up Ajay who arrived shortly saying, "Where've you been? I've been waiting for you for days."

During our conversations in Jaisalmer Ajay had implied that Dream Team was a partnership; a group undertaking. We would soon learn that Ajay was the driving force. He appeared to make all the decisions and was the one doing all the technical work. He also set a precedent in the Dream Team offices that made most anyone who entered feel that he or she was amongst friends.

The office serves as a cybercafe by day and a web-development office by night. Each night after the customers are gone, Ajay works on his clients' websites. Often, he told us, he spends the whole night there. That following night we would join him occupying the two remaining computers.

On the way out Ajay handed us his business card. "Have easy excess", it read, and boy would we.

We spent the next day sightseeing and never did get around to a planned nap. At 8:00 in the evening we arrived at the cybercafe armed with snacks and a packet of Nescafe. We'd been in India over a month and had yet to post any relevant Dispatches to our site. The Aperture section was weeks behind. We were quite looking foward to this golden opportunity to catch up.

But despite our combined twenty hours online—from 9:00 that night until 7:00 the next morning—we didn't get nearly as far as we'd envisioned. Working on a computer in an unfamiliar environment is like that sometimes. Being online at these hours, however, did afford us the opportunity for some real-time chat with friends back home in California.




Ajay's Dream

  New York
    New York City
  West Africa
    The Gambia
  Middle East
    Palestinian Territories
    Eastern Anatolia
    Central Anatolia
    Pushkar Fair
    Madhya Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh
    West Bengal
    Sikkim & the NE
    (Rep. of China - Taiwan)
  USA - San Francisco, CA

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember; and I remember more than I have seen."
-- Benjamin Disraeli
  © 1999/2000 ~ All Shit Manured.