Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Village visits (with pics)

"Go to the villages: that is India, therein lies the soul of India".

I probably realised the essence of what Gandhi said, the other day, when I happened to
visit some village areas in Thrissur district (my hometown). As part of our RAWE (Rural Agricultural Work Experience) programme, we had to visit the Killimangalam and Thiruvilwamala watersheds in Thrissur. As it is, people lament that we never get to see a 'real' village in Kerala. Hard to believe?
But then, that is the truth. The rural-urban divide is more pronounced in other States compared to Kerala. Most of the so-called villages here are well-connected to other places by roads and have electricity.... a far cry from villages in other States. But these areas, which we visited, were definitely unlike the town area. It mirrored the agrarian past of the State; well atleast partially. Because I can't claim to be a witness of the agricultural situation before. I've heard my parents and other elders describe the verdant paddy fields and the various agricultural operations....in short, "the good old days", as they put it.
Hence, from what they tell me, I can make out that agriculture in Kerala, as you see it now, was not what it was erstwhile. As is well known, it is dwindling at an alarming rate.
Coming back to the point, the visit to the villages was a refreshing change for me. A chance to leave the 'concrete jungles' for once and enjoy nature and its pristine beauty. It was an eye-opener as well.... we get so comfortable in our cushy lives.
We begin to think that four-lane highways, big shopping malls and retail outlets, higher incomes with innumerable spending options are the paradigms for development. But then, I realised that it is not.
Pardon me if I seem to express a done-to-death opinion, but development is above and beyond it. And progress has to be all-inclusive. Otherwise, it widens the chasm between the haves and have-nots. Seeing the simple lives the villagers lead made me wonder...why can't we all lead simple lives like them ? Why the mad rush to make a million bucks if it does not give you happiness or peace of mind? Why not be content with simple living? What prevents us from simple living? Why is society unmindful of mindless opulence? Why do we hoard wealth ? Does it ultimately make any sense ? Why is it that money is everything now?
Strange are the ways of all the world...and it leaves questions galore. I guess I'll have to find out.

On that visit, we happened to visit a UP school in the area. And seeing those kids made me miss my school days and childhood. For one, they had our SAME uniform! So much for the exclusivity of Hari Sri uniforms! Anyways, watching kids always makes me nostalgic. Truly, childhood is a golden phase in a person's life. Plus, I love kids!! Aren't they just adorable?
The funniest part was when they 'attacked' me... coz I happened to have a camera ! It was break time, and they all came running and wanted their pics taken!!! I had fun !
And they managed to put a smile on all our faces.
So much for talking... I'd like to give you a small glimpse of the places I saw that day, through what I could capture through the lens. I sincerely hope I could capture the rusticity and idyllic nature of the place.So those who haven't seen greenery in a long while...enjoy!
Where art thou, diminishing paddy fields ?

Just mind-blowing... Water... and in plenty !

My favourite pic in the lot ! The Cheerakuzhipuzha....

All smiles.... and ready to pose!
I'm speechless... seriously.
(Shot taken whilst inside the moving bus.)

The punarjani at Thiruvilwamala
Beautiful pond...ain't it?
Vegetation even on a rocky patch...now that's what
you call determination !
No.... we weren't looking for a needle in the
haystack ! lol
Thought for the day: "Live simply ,that others might simply live."


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