National Geographic : 1948 Oct
Indians, Young and Old, Thrill to the Notes of a Street Musician's Sitar They halt outside a gaily decorated bazaar in Bundi to hear a performance on this popular Indian stringed instrument. The modern mural at left shows how Rajputana has accepted the airplane without discarding the elephant. and Connecticut combined, and has a popu lation of 3,040,000. Jaipur city, built on an oasis, is about 180 miles southwest of Delhi. Jim, Fred, and I set out on our journey in the ambulance on the afternoon of Decem ber 22 and drove without incident for about three hours. The road, through the sandy cactus-clad waste, was virtually deserted. Then, about dusk, the ambulance suddenly shook and stopped. We tried vainly for sev eral hours to find the cause of the trouble. Night settled down. Panther Stares in the Dark Finally we saw a car's headlights in the distance. As it drew near we hailed the driver. By sheer luck he turned out to be a wealthy Jaipur polo player with whom Fred was acquainted. As soon as he heard we were guests of the State, he gave a quiet command to his servant. The man disappeared and, almost instantly, reappeared beside us with a tray bearing cool refreshments. I rubbed my eyes at this genielike per formance. Even as we were thanking him, we received another and not so pleasant surprise. A pan ther (leopard) appeared at the roadside, not 50 yards from us, eyes aglow in the gathering dusk. The servant produced a gun even more quickly than he had fetched the drinks. The polo player shot and missed, and the panther vanished. Eventually we were able to start the car. We thanked our friend and drove on 100 miles. Then the motor again conked out. Now we were stalled in a piece of Jaipur's best tiger country. Jim's active imagination conjured up tales of man-eaters, and when we heard something prowling in a near-by thicket it did not improve our nerves. One of us kept watch with a flashlight while the other two worked. But no tiger put in an appear ance. We finally located our difficulty in the ignition system, repaired it, and by midnight limped up to the gates of Jaipur.