I woke up the first morning in Pushkar to PZ rifling through her bags in a panic.
“My wallet’s missing.”
And so the morning starts in exactly the manner that every traveler dreads. We mentally retrace all our steps from the day before and think of what we should do if the wallet doesn’t turn up.
After PZ returned from climbing a hill to get some clarity, we went about our way through the city in hopes of finding the wallet. Our first stop: the Brahma Temple. PZ was emphatic about collecting some good karma and I figured now’s as good of time as any to indulge her.
We walked around the temple and were led to the lake by a few men who decided to show us the ropes. The area around the lake immediately gave me a funky vibe. Pushkar is a holy city. It’s one of 5 sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. I wasn’t expecting the lake steps to be lined with postcards and good luck charms for sale.
Once at the lake I was led to some steps where a local led me through a prayer ritual for my family. It was interesting to learn about this ritual until the man started hounding me to donate to the temple. He started talking big dollars and then smaller and smaller until he finally settled on a 500 rupie donation that I must make. Considering the fact that I had no idea what this donation money would be used for, did not appreciate being guilted and hounded into making a donation and in no way believed that this donation would actually bring good karma to my family, I was furious. The only way I could have gotten out of making the donation, would have been literally to run away and I’m too much of a wimp for that, so I left the donation and hoped with all my heart that it would go to feed families and not in a rich man’s pockets. This same routine was pulled on PZ who not only was in a dishevled state because of the missing wallet, but hardly had any cash to her name. So I left the lake fuming and PZ left in tears.
After regrouping a bit we went about retracing our footsteps from the day before, hoping someone found the wallet. The first place had nothing and our next stop was a little internet shop. The man saw us and said “Yes, you, 5 minutes.” We gathered that he wanted us to wait for the other shop runner to come back and hoped that this meant he had the wallet. We waited and waited, hesitant to get our hopes up. Eventually, the man returns. He immediately recognized us and pulled a bag out of the freezer. And in the bag…was the wallet! All money and cards untouched!
So in the course of one morning we were shown greed in a holy place and honesty by a man who had no reason but the goodness in is own heart to do so.
After the wallet was returned we were so happy with our fortune that most of the morning’s frustrations were put behind us. We wandered the city. Shopped a bit and enjoyed the more peaceful parts of the lake. Then we said goodnight to Pushkar and prepared to move onto our next destination: Jaisalmer.