Pay Our Fees Please!!

Jaipur was the first destination of our family trip to Rajasthan. The early morning flight took us to Jaipur by 7:00 am. The very first halt, even before checking-in our hotel, was the famous Hawa Mahal (simple translation – Wind Palace).

Hawa Mahal is right on one of the busiest streets of Jaipur downtown. This road is always crowded with tourists. Hawa Mahal is viewed best from the opposite side of the road.  It was glowing golden in the morning sun. We three, me and my two daughters (who are better photographers than myself), immediately got busy clicking the marvelous structure.  Sound of a snake charmer’s been playing in the background was adding to the joy of our first shooting session of the trip. We felt like we were part of some Nat Geo documentary film. Soon we realized that been music was for the real and not just background score of a documentary film. Two real snake charmers were very close-by playing their been and snakes were dancing to the tune of their been.

It was an excellent scene to be photographed and we rushed towards them. We took our positions and started our shoot. Click, click, and click. After a few clicks one of the snake charmers started giving us a dirty look. Soon the other joined him and they started making gestures towards us. They were asking us to pay them some money. Though paying was not mandatory, they had given a fantastic start to our tour. So my daughters pleaded and we gave  them some money. That would give us some more shots and, at the minimum, they would stop making faces at us. After receiving money they promptly turned their attention towards other folks.

The interesting part came only later. They did not bother us for about 10 minutes after we paid them. But then they turned towards us and gestured us to stop photographing and to go away.  Seems like validity of the fee we paid to them 10 minutes ago had exceeded its time limit!!

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