Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is the rhythm of life...

...Of rural life! Reported by yours truly. Sights, smells, sounds. Seen, felt and heard from the window of a bus. On a pleasant early morning. On the way to work. Passing villages by at breakneck speed. Never slowing or stopping to take a careful second look. Just a few fleeting voyeuristic glimpses. Here and there. Into the lives of others, and things around.

Smells - of fresh village air, moisture, fields. Of liquor, flowers, cashew nuts, perfume. Of piss, cow dung, poop. Of smoke, petrol, pollution. .

Sounds - constant chattering, laughter, incessant honking, and more honking, fights, pleasantries, sighs in traffic jams, some more honking, metal on road, oxen in the fields, bells in temples, chants, blaring trumpets, loud speakers with devotional songs... hmmm, well not always! There are those filmy songs from the '80s and then there are the new raunchy item numbers too - devotion and devilish desire go together sometimes.

But sights are aplenty. I assure you there's plenty to see.

Colors - bright and brilliant - catch your eye. Shamelessly they demand your attention. Reds, blues, magenta pinks, yellows, greens, oranges - hues of nature. Blacks and whites. And shades of grey in between!

Kids wearing nothing - their need to cover their nudity and put up a show of civilization is not greater than that of their counterparts in urban India.

And kids wearing uniforms - reds, blues, whites, browns - walk past as the bus zooms by, fast and furious! Children crying for attention. Dragged forward mercilessly by rushed angry parents... With a slap or two! To make their point. To put things in perspective for the young citizens-to-be.

Green fields laid out with gourd plants, many gourd plants in fact! Bitter gourd, snake gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd crawling over to cover every nook and corner... wherever they can lay their long ugly stalks on! Plain grass pastures. Cows grazing. Early birds, and their prey! Pests. Dogs - barking, fighting for life, for food.

Women with loads of stuff carefully balanced on head. Multi-tasking! Walking, chattering, giggling, flirting, and carrying - clothes, pots, wood for fire, infants, burden of life - and balancing the act so well. Why is it, then, that to us - the chosen ones, the blue-eyed children of God, the gifts of God to mankind - it's so difficult to do even simple(r) tasks? What if those women took life, and people, for granted... I wonder what then!

Raucous women - brushing, combing, bathing in tanks and ponds - outdoors! Taunting, tantalizing semi-nude women with wet saris wrapped around their bodies in a cinematic fashion. Now that's reality.

And men! Where are the men? Muscular, skinny, bony, plump, tall, short, dark, fair - all kinds! Lazying, ogling, flirting, standing, watching, talking, smoking, chewing, spitting - ghutka, pan, saliva, something, anything... That's how I find them.

Men. Driving, talking, heads turned sideways or rested on shoulders pressing a mobile phone down. Talking. And arguing. Winning some, losing some. And peeing on the road (but that's oh-so-cool)! Yes, peeing... Blissfully (un)aware(?) of the surroundings. Peeing. With a contented expression. Showing they're enjoying the moment. Peeing. Everywhere.

And passing out! Naked. Semi-nude. In the middle of the road, on either side, on pavements, in front of unopened shops, everywhere. Liquor on their breath. Drooling. Liquor in their hand. Liquor on their clothes. Liquor in their head. Gambling - yes, sitting in a circle under the shade of a tree and gambling. Encouraged by onlookers. With satisfied egos. And fighting - just for the heck of it, for no real reason. Killer instincts.

And then we see people and their nameless faces. And animals... grazing lazily. Running aimlessly. Stretching themselves - some on the road, and some inside vehicles, behind the wheel, some hanging out of the overcrowded buses and truckers, some sitting on top of them, some just standing and staring at anything that moves.

Is this how it is supposed to be? The equation? The balance? Maybe, maybe not! But it is the same everywhere. From east to west, and north to south. Try the directions in reverse too. It's still the same. Only the faces change. And shapes. And climates. And colors - of skin, of clothes, of surroundings. Rest is the same. And this is India for you! The real India. The true-to-life version. Enjoy it as it is. Take it, if you must! Or just leave it, if you mustn't.

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