Where have I been?

“It’s 3 months since you last wrote anything and, looking at this website, it’s left hanging in thin air.  Did you complete the stay in the desert with the Bishnoi family?  You stayed for months; why is there a meagre 4 posts about Bishnois?  The articles end with a promise to deliver more; where is this?”

Me in traditional Bishnoi dress
Here I am dressed in traditional Bishnoi clothing

Round about the end of December, I was called into the CID office in Jodhpur.  Apparently my “research” was in direct conflict with my tourist visa.  They’d found out that I was visiting government-funded institutions like the Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI), Jodhpur University, Jodhpur Zoo Animal Rescue Centre and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).  That I was visiting friends-of-friends within these institutions, seeking information independently, unemployed, and self-funded didn’t seem to satisfy the criteria for being a tourist.

“Surely tourists learn about the history and culture of their destination?” I thought, “Isn’t there an ever-expanding number of travel bloggers?  And I’m sure most aren’t paid, qualified journalists on research visas!”

I was threatened with being sent home, putting 2 years of saving and much hard work in jeopardy.   Despite my indignation about the legitimacy of my visa, I was filled with trepidation knowing that I was under observation from a CID office.

Finally I decided to drop investigating in January, to spend time staying with the family, working with independent wildlife and environmental organisations, and finding more subtle ways of learning.  The resolve to communicate things I’d learned still strong, I put this website on the back burner for continuation on my return to the UK.

Perhaps my confused allegiances contributed to such a surprising draw?

We (my partner, Tom, and I) arrived home in mid-March, after spending wonderful times watching cricket and wildlife spotting in Karnataka through February.   Now April, I’ve taken a month out to complete the series of articles started here.  We’re also using the time to do a small roadshow around secondary schools and organisations in our area, sharing some anecdotes from our experiences, and hopefully inspiring the next generation to take an interest in protecting wildlife.  If you know of any schools, clubs, organisations or societies in the Midlands who would like a short workshop about wildlife conservation in Rajasthan, just let me know.  Otherwise, watch this space for more stories and info coming soon.

P.S. CONGRATULATIONS to all my cricket-loving Indian friends for a spectacular world cup victory.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Tor,

    Thanks for spending time with the our community and spreading the words about our community.
    We have been closely involved in the wildlife protection ever since our religion (Bishnoism) started.

    Looking forward to hear your interesting stories during the course of your staying with Bishnoi community and your journey.

    Thanks
    Poonma

    Reply

  2. Thank you for all the information I had leared in your blog. It is a pride being your friend. Hope you will offer some more articles in the future of your next trips.

    Regards and lots of hugs,

    Jordi (de España! Nooooo!) 😉

    Reply

  3. *learned

    Reply

  4. Posted by ramniwas budhnagar on April 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    we miss u. Time spent with u is a memorable moment for us. My whole and i miss u. Hope u r quiet well and it was a memorable incident for u also. Take care and keep smilling.

    Reply

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