A night spent at Fort Khejarla near Jodhpur proved to be one of the most enjoyable experiences of the journey through Rajasthan. We were essentially in an area consisting of a restored fort (now a lovely hotel) surrounded by a small village. Driving in, we saw the streets were alive with people going about their daily business, charming storefronts, brightly painted facades, and smiling people. I could hardly wait to get in the middle of it!
I have so many lovely images of the people I met in the village – and I will share some of those in a later post. Today, I am dedicating this post to the kindly shoemaker who welcomed me and a fellow photographer onto his porch and into his modest shop – and to his charming daughter (and some of her friends).
The shoemaker smiled a welcome to us as we approached – a somewhat tentative smile, I will admit. I am sure the sight a couple of Americans bearing an array of cameras can be somewhat unnerving. Nevertheless, he smiled and nodded to us as we got closer. And closer. Finally, we sat with him in front of his shop as he continued to work, making his shoes. His shop was littered with the remnants of his trade . . . discarded scraps of leather and tools. Hanging outside on the wall; completed shoes ready for new owners.
As we lingered, we were surrounded by an army of children who didn’t find us the least bit disarming – one of whom was his daughter.
As we looked around the shop and made some photos of him and the children, he continued to diligently work. After I took an interest in what was inside the shop, he motioned to me “go on in”. As I did, the children filled the doorway, giggling – and drew his attention away from his work.
I stayed inside the shop for a short while, watching this kind gentleman and the children relaxing in the evening warmth, clearly enjoying themselves. After a while, I left them to their enjoyment.
The next morning, just after sunrise, I saw the shoemaker again, working steadily in his shop. Both of us, smiling our hellos.
Experiences like this are why I travel . . .
Until next time, Namaskār