Operation Sheltering Sky

Rajasthan is desert country, 70% of the state—India’s largest—an arid mix of scrub and sand.

We trekked by camel into the Thar Desert about 50 km outside Jaisalmer.

Abdullah led our beasts on foot, their names Simon, Paulos, and—inexplicably—Johnny No. 1.

Toward sunset we reached the Sam Dunes. The wind died down and we made camp in a low patch between the shifting mounds. Abudullah and Papu prepared masala chai, then cooked up a simple campfire dinner of vegetable, rice, dal, and chapati.

Later we bedded down beneath a near-full moon, the light and chill desert air striking our faces.

In the morning, with an extra saddle to our company, Abdullah mounted Johnny No. 1 and led us at a trot, singing ‘Johnny B. Goode.’

Never underestimate the power of Rock ‘n Roll to impact the life of a camel far away.

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