An excerpt from my childhood: Knowingly or unknowingly the very idea of travelling to a new place filled in me the “get-up-and-go” thrill. More so, my family always preferred to travel via train. Bus was never comfortable for any of us and flight was not something we could afford then. Well, either way, I feel it worked in our favour. Train journeys gave us just the right amount of family time. While our parents would be busy setting up the luggage and arranging food, my brother and I started fighting for the window seat. Seeing our battle, the uncle/aunty sharing our compartment, usually ended up giving their window seat.
As I would sit by the window, the green fields, the distant horizon and limitless sky made the innocent me wonder, “What lies ahead? Why are these only found in trains?”
To add to my childlike queries, I had never been to a village before.
Living in a village was only a distant dream…
It had been almost a year now working in a 9 to 5 job, life had now started to become monotonous when I came across the opportunity of Milaap Fellowship Program. I had been a lender on Milaap since my college, but this was different. The fellowship would give six-months to live, and experience (while documenting) inspiring stories of change. I did my research and applied for the Fellowship, got selected and then it was like,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
I was stationed in rural Karnataka with Milaap’s field partner, MASS. And began the voyage…
That, I only saw in my school textbooks. Here I was capturing one scenic view of My India, Rural India.
Mornings be like!
Because going to school barefoot is fun, something the urban kids would never experience.
An air of contentment surrounded the villages and people.
They ain’t no need any feminists out there!
And this, this one made me a poet, as I sung:
I could always take a walk down that road surrounded not,
by concrete buildings, but by trees and fields and open sky.
It was no less than being in fairyland where I spread my wings to fly.
I never knew that such an India also existed,
I never knew that no-vehicles’ roads also subsisted.
Now I know why they say,
It in the rural India that the real India lay.