With urbanization becoming a trend and more people moving to bigger cities for work, we are undoubtedly drifting away from open spaces, heartfelt hospitality and natural ways of living. No matter wherever you live in India, there would be a village within a hundred kilometres, an urban slum even closer. Yet, we choose to not visit the other side. We choose to not see how more than half of our population lives.
“Never got a chance”, some may argue. But, have we tried accompanying our house-help or office boy to their home? I’m sure they wouldn’t say no. For some reason, if that sounds intimidating, alternatively, you can visit one of the communities as a traveller. Whatever the source may be, here’s why you should visit rural India:
To appreciate trivial (and significant) things – With everything becoming instantly available on a touch screen, we often don’t value the delicious meals or a new phone as much as we did in earlier times. But, in our villages, eating out hasn’t become a routine yet, shopping is an occasion and electronic items are usually fixed multiple times before they are thrown away. They re-use and re-cycle more than we talk about these terms. They find joys of life in a game of cards, an everyday cooking session, and a piece of cake – things we have forgotten in an attempt of achieving bigger goals.
To be one with nature – This goes beyond waking up in an exotic location and posting boasting about it on Facebook. Leave those earplugs at home and listen to leaves ruffling, birds squeaking and insects buzzing, far from peens-pons of traffic. Smell the flowers, flavours and fumes. Sit under a tree similar to the one you were friends with, at your grandmother’s place. Talk to the cat in her voice. Meet your natural self that went on a really long walk.
To go offline – With so much information always floating around and tons of stories being fed in our heads, switch that inflow off for a while. See how it feels to live without calendars, schedules, alarm clocks and agendas, even if for a few days. Waking up, doing the chores and going back to bed as per sun’s time-table will definitely feel refreshing.
To understand India better – As clichéd as it may sound, if you haven’t visited the countryside of India, you don’t know how our country functions. Where your wheat, rice and milk comes from! How some traditions that may have become obsolete in the cities are still practised in villages! The kind of backbreaking work rural folk do, as a part of their daily lives. Their reasons and beliefs, notions and emotions – some relatable, some unbelievable!
To learn a new life skill – Be it tree climbing or pickle making, people will love to teach you a skill or two. Whether it is about getting your hands dirty with pottery, using a catapult, carrying a haystack, picking tea leaves or catching a fish, it will be an extraordinary experience, one you may not have imagined.
To inspire and be inspired – Rural Jugaad is just one of the things that can totally fascinate you. Learn from their custom solutions for air conditioning, energy saving, modes of transport and usage of leftover resources. In return, don’t forget to share the gyaan they may not have access to, because of lack of education, internet or perspective.
More than giving you memories for life, this will help bridge the gap between two sides of this nation. Something we really need to act upon, even in the smallest ways.
By- Swati Saxena