return to innocence...

A long hiatus it has been....part lazy,part busy,part distressed…its all been happening in the previous month or so…what you are about to read was started a month ago during vacations and lying unfinished ever since…so what made me finally take it up??..Time??..nah!!..I’ve always had enough time to scribble...Just that I needed to write this time to get some peace,a feeling which nothing but writing gives me
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Mood-thoughtful/confused….okkay!!..I’ll go with ‘confused’

Whats on??-6 monthly 15 day vacations….

With AFMC choosing to close for vacations when every other university/college has exams,there isn’t much scope of hanging out with like-minded people of a similar age-group,leave alone buddies from school ..sigh!!

Add the unbearable heat to the equation and you have an almost impossible situation...
This usually happens to me during vacations….I run out of ideas as to how to spend time…the customary visits to relatives usually finishes in a week or so and then I’m clueless…and I dare say,maybe it’s the same with most kilroys..

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when my cousin,a year senior to me at medical SCHOOL(yes,all puns intended),called me up and asked me to join him on a whirlwind tour to our kith and kin…we do it almost everytime our holidays coincide…. After all,who’d want to miss out on a chance to relive those sweet-nothings from childhood,mere mentions of which makes life seem bearable again …

Plans were swiftly put to action and we met at our grandpa’s place in Ranchi…

#a word about Ranchi- the place has been special…every visit revokes memories of vacations which were virtual family get-togethers…from rides on pedal rickshaws(there aren’t any in JAMSHEDPUR)which I enjoyed on mom’s lap to the Christian way of life(Ranchi has one of the largest Christian populations in the country),its given me memories which have lasted…..from the numerous churches to my mom’s college,I visited them all as a child,again,something new for me….not to mention the once legendary softys at FIRAYALAL and KAVERI and the capital’s streetfood near Pustak Path..
even though the people who pampered me to those have moved on in life(my ‘maasis’ are long married and I am now a doting ‘bhaiyya’ to their Dimpy’s and Monty’s….##another reason why this city has endeared itself to me)I love going there again…and again…..and again..


THE BRAT PACK


A quick visit to all relatives would take three days …or so we thought…until we ran into our 7 year old twin cousins ..

So,after having overcome threats of Anshan(#the anna hazare effect)from them by leaving late in the night(bhaiyya must not go tonight,they had threatened,only to fall asleep at 10) and being made to hog like never before(why do all mummies/maasis think they can turn you into Hercules just in one meal???)….we had set out for GRANDMA’s village the next morning…

NH 33::Travelling in a packed MESO bus(#in local parlance,these are govt buses sized somewhere b/w a 407 and a coach bus running over short distances,say 60-70 kms)on a bright sunny morning wasn’t exactly how I would have pictured a day in my vacation…but the thrill of meeting ‘the grand old lady’ again dwarfed all such feelings....

Even though it was hot and stuffy inside,the scenery outside more than made for it …the recent rains had been indication enough and sowing had begun in fields…and someone in the bus put on a late 90’s song on his mobile “ankhiyaan milaun kabhi ankhiyaan churaun kya tune kiya jadoo…kabhi ghabraun kabhi gale lag jaun,mera khud pe nahin kaabu…bina payal ke hi baje ghungroo”….
RAJA was the movie and I got it in a flash…I could picture Madhuri dancing atop a car and Sanjay Kapoor(yes,I remember him as well...lol) staring part in admiration,part shell-shocked…A smile ensued and it was nostalgia again…

dunno about you all but I grew up on a lavish dosage of hindi music from the late 90’s…FLOYD and Clapton happened much later.…needless to say,I enjoyed it and the many others that followed till the guy left at his stop…

Our village being a good 7 kms hike on foot from where the bus dropped us,we stocked ourselves with cold-drinks and water bottles…capped,knap-sacked and bottled plus a camera to click at just about anything and everything,off we were….. with no transport available for a major part of the journey,we hurried coz the heat was getting stronger….

Enter the terrain…

Both our trips being long ago,neither of the two was confident of the track.Besides,this was the first time we were unaccompanied by someone with knowledge of the terrain.
Add to that,our knowledge of the local lingo,rather,the utter lack of it and things could have gone horribly wrong if we were to lose track...

However,big bro was confident about a transformer,a primary school and a pond coming somewhere on the way…the rest we’d decipher,he felt...

The way to my village is what one would describe as a traveller’s paradise….2 villages passed,a river crossed,not without some splashes though and countless fields,from rice to brightly coloured crops which I couldn’t identify….it is a visual delight,to say the least..

The first village wasn’t far from the highway…a road running through it,electricity facilitating bollywood numbers from the 90’s blaring through aluminium speakers,the horn of the trucks passing slowly fading away…add to it the mobiles…flashy sets and almost everyone seemd to have one…we exchanged wry smiles as a guy on a bicycle passed by,music blaring from his mobile…

The Village crossed,we passed a long stretch of muddy fields to reach our first landmark,the transformer…The second village had begun and we often received curious looks by women,children and groups of young men playing cards…An angry shout by an old man smoking beedi shocked me initially only to later realise that it was for his pair of oxen who were straying into a field..however,that proved a timely reminder of the fact that it was a maoist-infested area and we decided to be more cautious then onwards….not much later,we were to come across a writing on the wall proclaiming ‘jo bho vote dene jayega usey kaat ke 2 foot ka bana diya jayega’

Shocking though it was,we knew it had little to do with us…the pond and the primary school suddenly seemed to appear much sooner....hehehe
out of the village,the river was some 300 metres away… After reaching the river and having splashed around,we had a quick dip in whatever was left of the river which became such a ravaging beast during the rains…

Not far from where we were was a radio being played by a young lad,a towel on his head saving him from the heat while his goats grazed away to glory…another of his mates was bringing his buffaloes for a bath..Innocence..!!

Checking for the time on my mobile,I noticed weak signal strength…and surprisingly,I heaved a sigh of relief…Finally,some time away from the 'clutches of technology'

Granny was waiting for us,as was delicious home-bred chicken cooked in her inimitable style…

Curious about the title ??
Its a tribute to an ENIGMA song by the same name...so very soothing...highly recommended

Going back to where you belong is such a humbling experience…always
yeah!such pictures do exist beyond social science textbooks...
For people who ply their trade in big cities where a ‘man-eat-man’ world exists,
people who lead lives which doesn’t give them time to sit back and relax,
people who are addicted to technology,
people who’ve only books to fall back to picture a village by a river,
people who just can’t take the jealousy that exists in every sphere of life….
a day at an INDIAN Village is the perfect panacea..

While listening to VIVIDH BHARATI on radio,the sole thought I got was when did I listen to radio last??....I had no clue..

While splashing around in the river,I couldn’t remember when the last bath that I had enjoyed…mind you,the sole reason I end up taking early morning baths is to keep the kumbhakaran in me awake during morning classes :P

While I dreaded early morning PT’s back in college,a walk to a stream by a mountain which flowed on the other side of the village seemed such a pleasure…

An outward show which seems to exist almost everywhere was untraceable in those parts…
Road to el dorado??...nah!!..just a hillock by a stream..
Next morning,when it was time to leave,we were handed over a bag of home-made delicacies sufficient for an entire army
can’t blame the old lady though…She loves us like anything…
And if we thought,that was it,we were mistaken for granny handed us 1000 rupee notes with a simple instruction “beta!!...pasand ki mithai kha lena”…to say that we were overwhelmed would be an understatement…
And here I have a confession to make-when younger,I touched her feet simply because she showered me with those insanely huge amounts of cash,the instruction then being “beta!!...mela ghoom lena”….well,growing up has tightened those screws and now,respect and love comes from within….a feeling very few people manage to evoke….

RETURN TO INNOCENCE??....what else if not this??
HAIL DIVINE MOTHER!!
The return trip next morning was rounded-off by a trip to the famed DEWRI TEMPLE,which is stuff of legend in these parts and for me,it’s the ultimate fall-back option in times of distress…
a must visit if you ever come to this part of the country…

P.S.-on a PSM village visit some two months back,I was amazed to know that some of my batchmates had never been to a village...well,I've just one thing to tell you mates....you've been missing out on an experience fit to be treasured and passed on to posterity..these are the things that distinguish just another vacation from a truly great one......

Comments

  1. he hee...nicely put..remembered my village in bihar...thanku

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  2. okkay...so finally I managed to write something that stirred Namrata madam to comment...I'm honoured madamoiselle :)

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  3. Back wid a bang….nice 1 buddy wid a fyn panorama of d typical Indian village(quite ri8tly beyond social sciences textbuks)….reminded m of m own village…:)

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  4. Nice. And I loved the thing about it being a very humbling experience to go back to your own place. Very true, especially for the urban Indian youth who've seen nothing but concrete jungles all their lives.

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  5. Belated blog :But a refreshing one , ... mesmerizing rhythms of writing .....:If you are clueless we are speechless........

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  6. thanks pandu...guess this post would have taken u into familiar territory..
    do keep visiting :)

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  7. thanks jibby...
    and yeah!!it's especially true for many of us who've seen nothing but only one side of the indian diaspora :)

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  8. hey anamika...nice hearing from u again...
    you are almost always too generous with the praise..hehehe..
    anyways,thanks for those kind words of encouragement:)

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  9. Nice pics you have taken :)

    Cheers,

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