The Princess of Jaipur

While walking around my hotel in Jaipur, India over winter break in 2014, I encountered a barefoot little girl who asked me in her own way for food by simply moving her hand to her mouth. I showed her my camera, implying if I could take her photo first. She looked puzzled perhaps not understanding the quid pro quo of international exchanges.  🙂   A man standing nearby explained the situation to her, and she smiled. I took her photo, and then we walked over to a small snack stand. I pointed to a variety of snacks asking her what she wanted. She did not really respond so I bought her some candy. She then pointed down the street. I looked puzzled, but the man again explained that she wanted me to take her to a market. I smiled, and she led the way…

After heading a few blocks deeper into the neighborhood, we arrived at a little store. She said something to the owner, and he brought her a package. I asked him what it was, and he told me it was two and a half kilos of wheat (5 lbs.). It costs only about five dollars, so I said OK. As we began our walk back with the little girl in front, she stopped in front of a small store and waited for me. It was a shoe store. Well not only was she barefoot in December, but her feet were simply beyond dirty. I smiled again, and we walked into the shop. I proceeded to a shelf with some sandals and small tennis shoes. I thought they would be the most practical so I pointed to them. She did not look interested and said something to the owner. He brought her a pair of silver sandals with little heels and silver straps. They looked like sandals a princess would wear. I then thought of my precious godchild’s child who loves to dress as a princess. It occurred to me then that all precious little girls, whether they live in warm houses in America or on the streets of India, want to be princesses.

On the walk back to the hotel, I began to think of this little princess. I usually try not to preach on FB, but I truly believe it is our responsibility to insure that all little girls become princesses – that they all have a warm bed, a safe village, good food, and a quality education. By this metric is how I believe history will judge us…

Later that evening after dinner in the hotel, Santa Claus made a surprise visit and gave me a piece of candy. I then realized it was Christmas Eve. I smiled again and hoped that my precious little Hindu princess would forever have a Merry Christmas.

 

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