We were in Jaipur last weekend. I was sure Ads would not enjoy it...come on...a lot of traipsing around forts and palaces and shopping in street markets? Not his scene at all! I was right, and so wrong!
Yes, he did whine a little bit when he had to walk much more than he is used to; but what was really interesting was how he cottoned onto stuff that I never though he would notice! I suppose his intense interest in Indian mythology and epics, and a blossoming interest in history in general, has something to do with this. He didn't understand our guide's accented English all that well, so I had to keep listening with one ear while simultaneously translating to Ads. It reminded me of the translators jabbering away when two heads of state meet! I am sure the guide was a mite annoyed at my constant murmur in the background. Poor guy could not complain, of course!
From the fact that the Jaipur royal dynasty are descendants of Rama's son Kusha, to the fact that the Sheesh Mahal at Amber fort had mirrors imported from Belgium, to the fact that one of the Rajput kings weighed 250 kg and ate kilos of food every meal, to the textile museum which housed stunningly well-preserved garments and fabrics from the 17th to 19th centuries, Ads was gratifyingly engrossed. On my part, it was satisfying to add to his knowledge and excite his curiosity while learning a lot of new things myself.
There were two things that really excited him. One was the camel ride, Ads squashed in between me and S, jumping up and down as the camel galloped or trotted or whatever it is that camels do. The other was listening to a bonafide miniature artist (whose family has been artists for the royal family for generations) explain his craft and demonstrate the use of a single-hair brush (the hair plucked from a squirrel's tail). The artist kindly drew a very sweet elephant for the children, wrote their names and signed the drawing. My mom encased it in a plastic sheet and it is now proudly standing in a shelf in the children's room.