Sunday, 1 November 2009

Oh, the joys of village life

A couple of generations ago, our great grandparents made the decision to leave their villages and move to the city, largely in search of a better life. In just two or three generations, we have completely lost the understanding of what village life is. One company decided, many decades ago, that city bred yuppies, who it was mostly recruiting as trainees, must spend two months in a village to reacquaint themselves with rural India. This is a story of that “fantastic” experience – it is set in India, but could equally be true of many other countries.

Picture the setting. A truly representative village in a lawless part of India. Modern conveniences have not yet reached the place. No electricity. No plumbing. No nothing. But warm people. The day starts with daybreak and ends with sunset. The most precious possession in life is the buffalo.

Into this setting, in walks our city yuppie. He is ritually welcomed into the house by the lord of the house with the reassurance that he would be completely safe, as the host had two guns proudly displayed in the room. With some trepidation at this reassurance, he walks in.

Our yuppie is given the most important room in the house. This is currently being occupied by the most important possession of the family – the buffalo. The guest is being honoured with bovine company for the two months he would stay there. His olfactory senses would be irreversibly heightened for the rest of his life.

The event of the decade, perhaps of a lifetime, in the village would come the next morning, when its time for the guest to have his bath. Of course, this would be a set in idyllic settings – at the village pump or well. The whole village, especially all the womenfolk, are peeping from vantage viewing sights completely enjoying the spectacle. The sight of the metro male in full flow, accompanied by much giggling, will be the subject of local folklore for the next five decades.

But prior to that, a rather more private, but even more hilarious event has happened. Early in the morning, the host escorts our yuppie to the fields to , ahem, you know what. The host has been told that enjoying the scenery during the act would be something his guest has not been used to and therefore the host must tutor his guest on the ways of village life. The two set out on a walk to the fields carrying a “lotta” each. The fields are neck high with unharvested crop – our yuppie is rather thankful that they provide a good screen . But what he doesn’t know is that the crop also hides a rather generous population of peacocks, who do not take kindly to humans intruding on their patch. Imagine the scene – our yuppie settling down, thinking that this isn’t so bad after all. And then suddenly …. From here comes the picture postcard of the whole experience – a yuppy running for his life, with his trousers down to his ankles, chased by a peacock !!

Enough of such matters. That evening the male VIPs of the village congregate to know the yuppie better. The women are in the shadows listening extremely intently. One of the early questions is, of course, how many wives does our yuppy have. Now , if our hero had been properly tutored, he would have answered that he had three, two of them from important mafia families. But in his naivety, he has admitted that he is only 23 and is therefore wonderfully single; (Sri, please note!). Now that piece of information is met with unbelievable astonishment. They cannot comprehend that a strapping male , such as he, can actually be “available”. An earnest discussion ensures. One concerned elder, sidles upto the yuppie, to ask him in a low voice, as to whether he had , er, a certain problem, for which remedies are advertised in plenty in Page 2 of the Indian newspapers. The yuppie, having turned bright red, assures the elder that he is, ahem, fully in possession of his faculties. The matter is settled. The headman’s daughter is a perfect match. Next Friday is an auspicious day. Would that be OK with the honoured guest ??

This saga may be continued on idle Sundays , in continued proof that the writer has ‘lost it'.

22 comments:

Sandhya Sriram said...

have been continously loggin in from morning eagerly awaiting your sunday post. was worth the wait. As ever - a nice refreshing post. the headman's daughter bit was quite interesting - ahem ahem!!

life in village is so simple. i used to have a friend in my native village with whom i used to exchange letters. the letters (the 15 paise post cards) used to cover everything including the kannukuttis, maamaram, ayyanar kovil utsavam and so on. every element is equally significant and gets its due share of importance. its a nice world out there but with TV and mobile seeping in, its changing quite rapidly as well.

A journey called Life said...

ahh im going to repeat the first sentence of Sandhya's comment, coz that is what i did too..

lovely account, there is something about life in a village that is so humble, simple and honest..

now im wondering who the yuppie was..

Ramesh said...

@sandhya - aw gee ! you make a writer feel so good. xie xie ni.
I don't think our yuppie would relate kindly to kannukutti, especially as he is perhaps not enamoured of bovine companionship !!!

@AJCL - Repeat first line of comment to Sandhya. So kind.
That was purely a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person is purely coincidental !!

athivas said...

Me too,me too! The first thing I do these days on sunday mornings (After the tag episode :P)....Honestly,have been checking in quite a few times since yesterday :). Really missed your posts!

Hope your travel was successful.

This is a topic close to my heart, Ramesh: Village life! I can relate to every bit of it. Did a post on that, too. http://athivas.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/who-moved-my-life/. Waiting for the next episode.....Please don't let us starve till next sunday :P.

kiwibloke said...

brings back fond memories of a hot summer in 1990(temperature around 45*C) where I had three offers in a village of 350 people (in Dhumri Cluster of that notorious district), One was an offer of a nubile 15something daughter of the headman with a promise that after his time I would run the mafia (I wish I had taken it up), the other was to replace the local District Magistrate (we will take care of him) and surprise surprise, the third was to be the local pandit/astrologer/priest!! Could have been career changing moves. Now I look back and regret not having taken any one of them. The best 8 weeks of my life were spent in Hanumantha with no plumbing, electricity and clear blue skys, heat and dust- reminds me of EM Forster

ping guo sha la said...

Happy to log on your blog successfully! See, you've already had a lot of fans who are waiting for your posts. :)
I had been living with my grandparents in a villiage for about five years and that's one of my happiese moments in my life. I believe people will one day be fed up with the city life and returned to villiage life again, but not the traditional villiage life.

J said...

As kiwibloke says, this brings back very fond memories of similar eight weeks in that same district. It has been my only exposure to village life and I am glad to have had the opportunity. The women were (un?)fortunately spared the "roughing it out" bit but there were still plenty of interesting and memorable experiences. Looking forward to the next edition of this story.

Ramesh said...

@athivas - Oh so very kind words. My day is made ! Lovely post -thanks for the link. Commenting there.

@kiwi - Wow 3 proposals. you should have taken one of them :)

@Zhang - Wow; you came here beating the Jin dun gong cheng (Great Firewall of China for those uninitiated in Chinese). I am honoured. Hey, tell me all about village life in China, the next time we meet - would love to hear if its any different from India.

@J - Surely you don't mean to say the politically correct stuff and say that it was a great experience (your confirmation interview is long over !!)

A journey called Life said...

another 3 posts and u hit 200! phenomenal.. best part is each post is knowledge packed in its own right..thanks so much..

J said...

The truth would have got me fired for sure because Etah was the stint that I enjoyed the most unlike some other stints ;-)

Srivats said...

:P

had a smile from starting word to the last line (to be precise blushed reading my name hehe). that was lovely account of the village life. I have not been to many villages but could relate completely to lotta concept, pumpset and becoming fun element for village folks :) so good as i told u before , I love the flip side of yours!

Priya Ganesh said...

brought back many fond memories and my husband and I nurture secret ambitions to settle in a village during our retirement (?) days.. I kinda got around to imagining my yuppie son in the picture you painted. I should stop him before he reads this one.

But truly good one:)

Ramesh said...

@AJCL - Awww that's such a sweet comment. Thanks ever so much.

@J - Boo Hoo. Sorry. Guilty as charged :)

@Sri - A blushing Sri ?? Photo please :) Thanks so much for the kind words

@Priya - Hello ! What's this about retirement ?? You have another 40 years to go to reach 60 ....

J said...

LOL!

Adesh Sidhu said...

Ah! joys of living in a village where convenience are missing but satisfaction is in abundance. Kudos to such simple life...

Ramesh said...

@Adesh - I am not sure its a satisfying life any more. It looks idyllic, but there is just too much misery in the villages; hence the continued migration to the cities.

thethoughtfultrain said...

Chased by a peacock?? Are you kidding?? LOL!! LOL!! OMG, I wish the whole week had 7 Sundays!! :D (I am kidding of course! We love your business posts too!

Ramesh said...

@thoughtful train - No kidding. For real. Thanks for raising me to the skies :)

Aashish said...

Methinks Ramesh has a secret "thing" for bovine creatures. I can remember at least 3 posts (not including this one) where Ramesh speaks about divine buffalos and holy cows ;-)

Ramesh said...

@Aashish - Now that you say it, I think it is true. Especially since it m,ight feature in the coming Sunday post too :)

Reflections said...

Enjoyed this post.....but the question which haunts me is why peacock, it cd have been a rooster or a snake even.
So is this a true story....modelled on sombody u knw;-D

Ramesh said...

@Reflections - Isn't the though of a peacock in full fancy gear chasing a hapless soul an evocative thought. Not so with a snake !!

Its a truish story. The yuppie is mythical , but modelled after the many trainees in the company who've been to such villages.

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