Don’t get me wrong! I have been born and brought up in a city. However, I am a grand-daughter of a farmer, from a small village of Tikoti, in Karnataka. Over the course, of his life, he worked as a central government employee, but, he has always been a village man in his heart, often reminiscing about his days and childhood in the small lanes of villages, with power cuts, irregular water supply, efficiency of the Panchayati system (the local village administration). So, it is safe to say that I grew up in a family that has its roots in the heart of India (its villages!) On two occasions, I have been to Tikoti myself, (once with my cousin when we attended the annual village fair) and the second on some similar trip (where I was misunderstood as a boy, because I wore jeans!).
As a city girl therefore, I have always been fascinated by villages. Usually people think, it would be the “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. To an extent, perhaps, it is true. However, with my roots from farming community, I’ve always understood how hard it is to be a farmer. It is very, hard, indeed. Why else, would my grand father eventually lead us to a city life, giving up his farm life?
That said, I still feel, that the villages are still the remnants of paradise on earth- with its fresh air, green cover, cleaner living! More than that, I believe, people in the villages are still closely connected to the five elements of our existence on this earth. On my journeys, throughout the last few years, I have come to believe that contrary to popular perceptions, people in villages, still talk to each other, are deeply concerned about environment, more prudent about using natural resources, are woke about social-cultural elements of the society, some-times better than their city counterparts.
Here are a few glimpses from my recent travels to the Kumaoni villages of Uttarakhand, in North India (I was invited by Travel Correspondents and Bloggers Group, for a media visit to the national park and Corbett Wild Iris Spa & Resorts.)