Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Figuring out the village!

Having lived in a village for over two years now and having made several good friends from around here, I am just beginning to understand what makes village folks different from city folks. But it was not until last week that I was able to put a finger on a major difference, and it all started with a visit to a newly married woman's house, whose wedding I couldn't attend due to ill health.

I went to visit Asha three days after her wedding. I also took along Shraddha, my son's school mate who is visiting from Singapore. Now Shraddha has no clue who Asha was, but she tagged along because we were to go buy some stuff for her kitchen once we were done socializing. At Asha's house, we were given tea and sweets and then Asha started showing us all her new clothes gifted by relatives. Finally, she pulled out her special wedding dress, a traditional gaddi attire that is like a loose skirted gown worn with a huge belt made of rope wrapped around the waist several times. It is a beautiful and expensive piece of clothing that gaddi brides wear on their weddings and on weddings of their close relatives. Asha first offered that I should try it because it looked loose enough for me to get into, but I couldn't get my shoulders in it, she offered it to Shraddha, a total stranger she had just met.

Shraddha wore the dress (minus the complicated belt) and another friend promptly put on lipstick and bindi on her. I took several pictures of her in the dress while she posed sometimes like a shy bride and sometimes like a wanton one. It must have been the highlight of Shraddha's stay in our village, wearing another woman's traditional wedding dress!

I thought about this generosity of Asha's on the way home, and then it struck me. Village folks are generous because they have very little self importance. They don't consider themselves as special or important. Imagine a city woman offering a total stranger her wedding dress. In the city, the wedding dress is a special dress of a special person. No sir, sharing it ain't gonna happen!

Village folks are also without walls that come from a sense of self importance. I have on so many occasions walked into the village homes of strangers on my walks and been offered the best treats they can put together from their meager resources- soft drinks, biscuits, and tea, and been told simple tales of their simple lives without hesitation. This won't happen in a city because we have too many walls around our homes, and around our hearts!

There is another effect of lack of walls- friendships flourish in no time. Among my closest friends today are village folks I met barely a year or so ago. Compare that to a few people I have known for decades, potential good friends because of so many common interests and attributes, who haven't yet felt safe enough with me to let go of the walls!


  1. You have said it Puja. But now I can see people building houses with big walls and broken glass on the boundry walls. Now I will be scared to just walkj in and ask for water !

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