“Hello,” I smiled. She looked at me but did not say anything. “Is it okay to take your picture?” I asked. She mumbled something in her language. I did not understand a single word, so I asked our guide what she was saying. “Money,” he said, “She wants money in exchange for snapshots so she could buy food.”
I told the driver I only had 30 rupees (about 22 pesos) loose change. We were more or less 25 kilometers away from the city of Jaisalmer, in an abandoned village, halfway to the desert safari, and no place to break/change a 500 bill. So I gave all 30 rupees, ashamed that it was all I could give her.
And then she said something in hindi again and handed me back the 10. I asked the driver why she was returning the 10 back to me. He replied: "She said, 30 rupees is too much." "Please take it," I insisted.
I felt a tug in my heart. In a world where there are people who have so much but want more, here comes someone who has almost nothing but wanted only what was enough for her.
And no, I did not take the 10 back.
More stories of my 25-day India trip soon.