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We have been interacting with an American Travel operator to explore the option of working with The Blue Yonder inRajasthan. On a visit to see our work with the communities in Jaipur, they were keen on knowing how much money was going to the communities, to the local organisations we work with, to The Blue Yonder and how we maintain the transparency in financial dealings etc. Positioning their company as a Responsible Travel company means that they were also accountable for the ‘claims’ of potential partners like us. Their clients will be keen on knowing how their contribution would make a difference.
In our journey through Rajasthan, this was something that stood up most of the time. Any tourist hotel in Rajasthanwould have an evening performance. There will be artists dancing and singing and there will be tourists sitting and sipping their beers without knowing anything about the background of the artists or why they are there! For most international tourists, this is in any case something quite exotic.
Most of these artists are hired by contractors who ‘outsource’ them to different hotels in the cities and are paid pittance once in a month. There is absolutely no element ofdignity in their work and they perform for the sake of bread-winning. They mostly just dance around, sans any energy, any passion and I don’t think any one can blame them if you don’t even see a sincere smile on their face. How do you smile when you are not happy? When your constant worry is about next days meal, where will that genuine smile come from?
When I shared our Rajasthani friends observation on Kerala artists being well off to one of our artists in Kerala, he said, “Yeah, we are good in faking. Good that our friend didnt see what is really happening behind the fancy clothes we wear and the decent looking houses we have”! There is not single day that I go to bed wondering how we will get through this month with mounting expenses in my day to day life!”
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