“Life will always take you to the places where you all will be lost.”
And the same thing happened when I recently went to village named as Surajgarh. The village was located in the Aravalli plateau of Rajasthan, India. We as the India Fellow cohort 2017, went for the rural immersion program where we stayed in 11 different villages for 2 days. We started our journey from the beautiful city of Udaipur. 12 fellows went to a block near a town called Gogunda in an organization called Ajeevika Bureau which is working on migration in Rajasthan. It took us half hour to reach Gogunda and from there we went to Surajgarh, a small village full of mountains and greenery. After looking at the mountain I thought some of the lines of song by “The Local Train”-
“I am standing right where I always did, my heart beating restless again.
And I am standing right where I always did, waiting for you to come back to me.”
Gogunda was an area where most of people were tribals and the most common language was Mevadi. We were staying at a villager’s place where the man and woman lived in a pukka house, having 4 children who worked in different cities. We walked to the village which was “accessible but with no accessibility”, where there were proper roads but no mobile networks and no sanitation. We started to explore the village and then we met a person called *Krishna Ji who is a barber by profession owns a small shop in the village. He was very engaging and spent time talking to us. One of the things that will stay with me are the few comparisons he made between the city and the village. Here are some of them.
“1) In cities when we go to any restaurant and we are served food which is cooked 4 days ago only because our clothes are dirty. Usually when people are wearing good clothes, they are served good quality food
2) In cities, people don’t even know the name of their neighbor while in the village we can tell you their entire history
3) In cities, no one will let you enter their house while in villages you are always welcomed with the motto atithi devo bhava.
4) In cities, people throw out their parents and old people while in villages they are always respected
5) In cities, people try to make a fool of others, while in villages they always help each other
6) In cities, people don’t get to consume quality produce, while in villages you will get quality food without any mixture in it
7) Our villages might be very small but people have a big heart
8) In villages, whatever we get, we always share our happiness while in cities people are often jealous about one another
9) In villages people have a good life expectancy while in cities there is a lot of disease and early death
10) In villages, there is brotherhood while in cities there are lot of fights and no peace”
He ended his list by saying that he had lived in the village for past 60 years with peace and harmony and now he wanted to die here in peace, he didn’t want to go to the city even though his son works there in the city. What does this has to say about us? When will we understand that harmony and compassion is the key to living a peaceful life? I just hope in between our chaotic and turbulent lifestyle, we find the chord to strike the right harmony and become the compassionate beings that we are capable of.
*Names changed to protect identity