It is seven o'clock in the morning and the group of 11 photographers arrives in a the hamlet of KhodiyarNagar. It is not a place foreign travelers will ever visit unless they have a connection. Our good friend Ranjit Sinh Parmar proprietor of the Niwas Palace, whose family has been residing for 100s of years is a descendent of the princely class and he can trace his family back 27 generations. His visit is unplanned and the residents of the mud brick houses scattered along a narrow strip of land bordered by cotton fields are just waking up. The first cooking fire of the day is being lit and the most wonderful tea that I have ever experienced is being prepared. The milk is being being squeezed out of the cows, goats and buffalos. While we document this mediaeval way of life in awe, the residents are oblivious to us. But, as the tea is ready, we become the center of their attention. They offer to share their first cup of tea with us and this offer is another gift that travel gives you.
It is not tea that they are offering us; tea is an idea. It is hospitality, friendship, and a shared human experience. In rural India; the guest is god. They think that we are important, who else would drive into a hamlet where electricity doesn't exist and people sleep in one room and their animals in the next. The tea is a profound gesture of affection. These people live an uncluttered life. We are on the same planet but of a different world.