Football at Anela Village
I have always been fascinated with the idea of starting a new chapter by living all by myself in a place where where no one knows you. During my visits to villages previously, the experience always seemed fabricated because of the notions that I went with. Surprisingly, I did not have too many stereotypes while going to this village called Anela situated in the Kherwada Block in Rajasthan.
What one would perceive of a village in Rajasthan? They would think that it would have barren flat lands, kaccha houses, a lot of dust and scanty greenery. But it was totally different here. It had hills and on top of them houses, with fields coming down to the road, filled with water as it had rained earlier that day. Walking around that afternoon was a treat to my eyes. There were people staring at us from inside their houses while we were slowly entering the village. As I entered the house in which I was supposed to stay, I saw that they had a huge porch, beside which there were four goats, an ox and a couple of buffaloes. It was a pakka house surrounded by fields of corn and rice. The family had 2 boys who were in school, their father worked with a NGO named Jatan while their mother worked as an Anganwadi teacher. The two kids were very excited to see us as if they were wishing for someone to come to their house.
The next day we started exploring the village. We were very curious to see how the community responds to us as there weren’t any other aliens walking in the streets of the village that day. We saw a school but since it was a Sunday, there were no kids inside the school. The school had classes till grade 8th with about 6 teachers for 120 kids.
After walking about for a while, we reached the house of *Suman ji and started talking to her about her life and family. Before she opened up to us, she was very curious to know who we worked for and what we did. While standing in the veranda of her house, I saw that there were some children standing on the main road that we came from. I immediately started walking towards them and tried to interact. They responded to me in a very timid manner. After talking to them for sometime and seeing more kids join, I decided to play football with them. So we went to the school playground and I organised them into groups and made them do certain team building activities. They were as happy as i thought it could get, the reactions and emotions that they were showing were the purest form of emotions that I had seen in a long time which led me to think about how far I have come.
After playing with them for sometime, they started to tell me that they wanted to play more games. This gave me a sense of satisfaction that I was able to do something for them and this had become a source of alternative happiness for them. Even though it was for a short term, I still felt motivated. I realised that in order to follow the dreams that I have, I shouldn’t think too much about the outcomes. Even without the material possessions, they had those possessions that were beyond measure. We unwillingly left the village with a lot of memories in our heart and our cameras. It seems the more choices and opportunities we have, the more unfulfilled we become.
Perhaps education and the privilege of having a choice in everything isn’t such a great thing after all as it just breeds discontentment and leaves us wanting more and more.
*Name changed to protect identity