I would so much like to converse with them but I would have to learn hadoti, one among Rajasthan’s myriad dialects. However, during the day my wish becomes reality. As I am sitting cross-legged, contemplating the creation of a mandana, the boldest girl hands me a vegetable brush and points out where I have to draw. By way of dialogue, she writes in space with the tip of her index finger, the pattern’s outline. I grab the tool and I reproduce as best as I can, a spiral wrapped around the central design. Friendly hands come immediately to my rescue and correct my clumsiness. What a joy to learn and feel the strength of a collective work.

A young boy who understood my interest for mandana decides to accompany me. He moves aside the crowd and guides my steps to each and every drawing that might interest me and that I could photograph. The day ends in joy between mutual admiration, curiosity and authentic generosity. I drink tea in many houses and relish pastries made for Diwali. It’s time to leave but I already know that I will come back to see these women, guardians of a pictorial tradition as they write in symbols the village destiny and paint diagrams to attract the favors of the divinities.