Now that going ‘Rural’ is becoming this cool-thing-to-do, more of us city dwellers have a persistent itch to either go back and spend some time in our ancestral village or visit a new one. In both the cases, we have our pre-conceived notions of how would it look like and how different would the people be. These ideas can be based on the stories we have been told, movies we have been shown and/or news that has been fed to us. Most of which may not be true and you may be extremely surprised or disappointed. The ideal thing to do is to go with an absolutely open mind but if that seems difficult, we have a few pointers on what NOT to expect:
Luxury – This word meant comfort to me earlier, not sure when we started measuring it with money. If fresh air and sleeping under the sky mean luxury to you, you’ll find it in abundance. But, please don’t be the spoilt kid who can’t do without cheese spread, hot showers and free Wi-Fi. Also, if you get everything you have at your apartment in the city, what’s the point of visiting anyway, right?
Kids for your entertainment – Would you like it if a stranger walks into your home and asks your children to pose for a picture within 23 seconds of meeting them? Would you like it if they tell them to dance or offer them a ten rupee note before even asking their name? You have the answer and it will probably be the same for parents staying in villages. Don’t treat them how you wouldn’t want to be treated.
Privacy, to an extent – People usually love to surround you to know more about your lifestyle just like you may be curious about theirs. They also like to stuff you with everything they can possibly cook. Locking yourself up in a room in such an environment may look rude. Even if you’re terrible at small talk like me, just listen to their stories and make your presence felt. If you’re craving for solitude, ask for it politely.
Instant access to education & health – Remarks like “What! You don’t even have a college here” or “Oh! The nearest hospital is so far” don’t help anyone. Re-stating these facts will only make them feel more vulnerable. Appreciate what they have instead or suggest how they can make better use of public facilities.
Easy life – It can be simple and/or content but definitely not easy. The backbreaking work most of our rural population does is beyond our imagination. On my first village visit, I realised how their days were longer than mine and earning money was harder. They have their own challenges, often more complicated than ours.
Planning to visit rural India for the first time or have a countryside tale to tell? Let us know in the comments below.
By- Swati Saxena