An everyday bus journey through the rural landscape of Rajasthan | Milaap

An everyday bus journey through the rural landscape of Rajasthan

As soon as my bus arrives at the Sanganer bus depot, I, along with numerous other passengers, rush in to grab a seat.  After elbowing my way through, and somehow managing to get a decent seat, I smirk, and give myself a mental pat on the back, proudly reminiscing about the travelling skills that the Mumbai locals had bestowed upon me. “I can now sit back and enjoy the picturesque 35 km journey that I am about to begin,” my mind tells me, making the whole episode a huge victory in my head.

                                                                       The everyday crowd

Although the frequency of the bus is pretty decent, the crowd does not seem to decrease. Locally called as the ‘roadways’, the buses run by the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation traverse through the rural villages of Jaipur and even beyond. With the bus completely crammed, we set sail. The conductor, however, manages to relocate people along the way, magically creating space for all.

                                              A beautiful mosque is hidden in the lanes of Sanganer

An almost dilapidated mosque catches your eye as we pass through the overcrowded bustling town of Sanganer. Entering into its rustic lanes, one is greeted with a sight that makes up every hardcore non-vegetarian’s Sunday fantasy. Freshly skinned goat meat, hanging upside down, skewered chicken, marinated with tandoori masala, and fishes, arranged neatly in straight lines. I cannot help but drool at the display and take delight in it, given the amount of misthan bhandars and pure veg food restaurants that I come across everywhere.

                                                  Piles of fresh fishes stacked one over the other

After that drool-inducing sight, one passes into lanes of vehicle servicing and electrical shops, post which, one slowly starts to transition into the rural landscape. Starting off with a few pockets of colourful slums, one can see lush green fields adorning both the sides of the roads. Men, clothed in white from top to bottom, and women, in bright shades of red, pink and yellow, are seen hunchbacked, working their way till weariness beckons them. The view is even more spectacular when it rains. The raindrops add a certain sparkle to the leaves and the grass, making it so surreal and unlike the Rajasthan, one would have ever imagined.

                                               Fields adorning the roadside landscape

And just when you are gushing over the beauty of nature and creation in general and start questioning the purpose of your existence, a sharp break, ruins your contemplative reverie. No points for guessing, it is, of course, the age-old story of a cow crossing the road. The bovine strays away and the journey continues, amidst the bumps and breaks, which are sure to make your body sore the next day.

                                                     Women working relentlessly in their fields

Flowing in full swing, the Bandi river is a sight to behold. It flows with utmost grace and poise and is a source of joy for hundreds of farmers who rely on the river. Tiny ponds and other river bodies are also filled to capacity. With the rains being described as very good after years, it is a sight to behold when you see animals especially buffaloes taking a dip in them.

                                                                  The glorious Bandi nadi

It has been rightly said that spending time with nature is a way of nurturing the soul. Travelling through the rural landscape of India is most definitely a lesson in humility. It brings solace to the city dwelt eyes and a sense of calm to the weary soul. It makes you dig deeper within, reflect and feel blessed for all that you have.

                                 Beautifully carved pastel shade doors are seen along the way

As I am nearing my destination, I see beautiful ruins of old walls and buildings, intricately carved wooden doors, shop shutters painted in pastel hues and walls adorned with the yellow coloured Aditya Birla and Amul Macho ads. And at this point, the aspiring wannabe photographer in me keeps finding frames that would make for beautiful street photographs. I look around, only to find more beautiful frames - Men in turbans sprawling and giving the most magnificent poses at every nook and corner, having the most serious discussions over a cup of tea.

                                         The serious discussions seen in every nook and corner

Through this one-hour-long journey of contemplation and creative aspirations, I finally arrive at my destination – a village named Phagi, where the bustling nature of a rural market starts again.  The corn sellers, ‘pankha’ sellers and toy sellers make their way to the bus as I get off.  

                                               A grand welcome by these cute baby boars

As I start walking to my field partner’s office, a group of tiny boars wiggling their backsides make the way for me. The hospitality of this village just knows no bounds.