The visit to ‘My Village’: 26th Sep to 3rd Oct 2009
My village is situated exactly 64 Kms from Gorakhpur which is the most convenient railway station for access. Kushinagar, ancient Kushinara and also the ‘Mahaparinirvan place’ of the first Buddha ‘Shakya Muni’, is the district under which my village falls. Kushinagar is 50 Kms from Gorakhpur railway station and visited by people mostly from Buddhist countries or people having faith in Buddhism.
My visit to Gorakhpur has been after an interval of 9 years and that to my village/ Kushinagar after 6 years. To my surprise there doesn’t seem to be any major chagne!! Just the roads have been braodened to an extent. I spent part of my study period at Gorakhpur, while preparing for getting admission into IITs, yet on surface nothing has changed much. The math of Gorakhnath still stands the same way as it used to be at that time. The infrastructure or transportation facilities haven’t seen much improvement as well. I had to argue almost an hour with the taxi driver to start his taxi and take it to my destination – a greedy fellow! As one of the French friends had commented on my facebook profile it sucks BIG TYPE! I couldn’t agree more. Yet it sucks big type for city dwellers, for those who come seeking a big city comfort here.
This place has its own charm. You have to see it the way it is.
I visited my maternal grand parents and they were elated. My maternal grandfather is educated and had served in the state police services. My maternal grandmother is uneducated by ‘city standards’ but in my view she is one of the most intelligent persons of her time. She has learnt from the larget institution called ‘the life’, if we perceive it as an institution where people come and go. I learnt many things from her and she still manages her large family well with her son & his wife. She has been a great administrator – both in terms of managing money as well as people. I still remember the stories which she used to tell when I was a kid and I used to fall asleep in her lap – the stories of kings, queens, demons etc. My grandmother is no more yet those times came rushing to my memory. How much do I miss the simple life and protection!
My grandfather still walks straight and drives bicycle 18-20 kms, on an average, every day. The guy, though uneducated by ‘city standards’, will put many of my generation to shame with his knowledge of life and his healthy & disciplined schedule. Some discipline me and my father inherited.
Next I visited the fields where I used to roam around till I was 4 years old, also infrequently during the later years. I could feel the fresh air and silence of my childhood and the thought came to me “what have I lost and what I have gained through my life in cities?” Debatable point. During the nights I could clearly hear the sound of crickets, the howling of wolfs and see the stars in the CLEAR sky, a dream for city dwellers. I drink the milk without the ‘contamination’ created by the ‘profit motives’ of commercial establishments and ate the thick curd never to been seen in cities. I could see humans and animals leaving in harmony – fulfilling each others’ need.
I felt peace and in harmony with the things around me. I didn’t have internet connection yet I didn’t feel ‘the need to connect’ – getting hung up to facebook or orkut or checking my emails frequently. Yet not everything is good. The people sometimes fight for mundane things. Many ‘sons’ have gone to cities in search of opportunities, for earning a living, and brought the sense of false ego alongwith them. Each competes with other. The spirit of village life seems to be loosing its strength. People have started ‘living for others’ than for themselves – a term which I often use during my conversations. The way of a city dweller. A question I often raise during my conversation with acquintances/ my friends in cities and I find people don’t want to see the answers. They seem to be afraid – afraid of themselves!
I hope we still save ‘the place’ on which almost 70% of Indian population is dependent.I travel ahead…..to see more…seeking more…..