During our school days, I think most of us had one of the themes in the drawing/painting classes as ‘A Village Scene’. All I could then manage to put on paper were cows, huts, women drawing water from the well, carrying pitchers of water on their head/at their waist, farmers ploughing the field.
But what could never be depicted on paper were the innocence/guileless smile on the faces of the residents, the pride they have in showing their village to a visitor, the unsophisticated way of life, the oh-so-loving and all embracing attitude, the warmth and affection showered upon everyone including a stranger, the happiness they find in small things which we may find insignificant, the fearlessness and trust in each other when they spend their nights outside their homes or on the terrace and so on.
Recently, one of our friends said we could accompany his family to spend a weekend in his native village as we would have a change from the busy routine we have. We agreed immediately and it was worth every inch travelled. The wonderful ghar ka khana which his mother and wife cooked for us on Chulha even though there was a gas connection for its authentic taste, the afternoon siesta we had in his turmeric farm and the night spent sleeping on the terrace gazing at the moon-lit sky on a full moon day was an experience I would never forget all my life.
Whenever I visit any place, I love interacting with the people there to know more about their way of life, their culture. When I just took a stroll through the village lanes with my inseperable friend, my camera and went about clicking pictures, I met a few people and told them that I would love to have their snaps. Not only did they happily pose, but went about bringing all their neighbours and family members for the same. They were thrilled to see their snaps immediately after they were taken.
A lady brushing her teeth with charcoal
The li’l boys of the village were happy to get all their friends running across the lanes saying ‘Photo Aunty’ has come. One of them posed with his open tongue just after having ‘Budde ke baal [Cotton Candy]’ and then with his friend and their domesticated goats giving various poses. They can give any actor a run for their money I tell ya.
As I went further, a few guys started calling so many people and introduced them to me as the Sarpanch, the newspaperman, the paanwala etc. They asked me whether I would put the photos in the newspaper and I said that ‘Yeah, I will say that u people are Most Wanted’. After some time, when another person came there and asked me why I was clicking the photos, these people were telling him its because I wont be able to find ‘Most Wanted‘ people in the city. True in a way, isn’t it?
I was so happy when I met a mother of 3, all daughters, who said she was educating all of them, 2 of them were studying in a college in the nearby city. She said that it was her duty so that her daughters can live a life better than what they were now having. I was so happy to see such a development and hope its not limited to just a few villages!
Each and every moment of this visit is to be treasured forever. Thanks my friend for such a wonderful insight into the Indian villages. When do we go next 😉