Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rural highs and lows

Rural highs and lows

I had just flown back after three months in Germany, and landed directly in the midst of Manavathe.

An Art of Living project where YES!+ teachers had to go teach ‘Human values, Yoga and Kriya for 45,000 second year students of Government colleges all over Karnataka.

So there I was fresh from experiencing the height of human technology and luxury from German train (upto seconds precisions) to automated vending machines like every five yards.

I was thrown into interior districts of Dharwad, villages, where the only signs of technological advancement existed in the form of cell phones and unmistakable satellite television that was spotted on top of the smallest thatched hut.

My first rural destination was in a tiny village called Kalas, there are only two ways to get to the village. Both of which will take no less then three hours. I boarded the train from Hubli and reached Kalas.

Not really, the village was about 20 minutes in a shared auto from the station. Now this contraption in motion called ‘shared auto’ is a phenomenon in itself. For the inexperienced like me it was the vehicle from hell. For one, if you don’t get into it(and I didn’t the first time out of pride), you take a one hour picturesque but torturous trek in the scorching sun. If you get into it (which you have no choice) you are squeezed into a eight by five box stuffed with twenty other human beings, and ten more on top of the vehicle (there could be animals, I was too much in pain to notice) and for the next twenty minutes you go on a blind ride on Kaccha roads.

I preferred to suffocate by holding my breadth than inhaling fumes of sweat and dust all directly assaulting my senses. Once the vehicle came to a grinding halt, and I was almost spitted out, I rejoiced in ecstasy on breathing fresh air.

And then there was the food…thankfully there was curd rice that I could depend on. It was really the water that gave me the horrendous bout of dysentery. Now that in a place with severe sanitary challenges is terrific. I started getting recurring dreams of a normal loo. I mean like the loo in Indian railway stations!

Before going to the village, my only concern was how I will get access to Internet. But throughout my five days in the village, I never once though about it.

And oh, I forgot to mention that the entire course was taught in my almost non existent Kannada vocabulary. If there was one thing I learnt, it was this.

I could be in the best place in the world, and complain about life.

I could be in the worst place in the world and not complain.

All these worries and complaints dropped in a second when I saw those shining faces of students so grateful for this beautiful knowledge. I knew that I would rather travel in those ‘shared autos’ in Dharwad, to do this work, than travel the fastest German trains for sightseeing Europe. I have the best experiences, best job, and the best BOSS ever!!!

5 Annotations:

Anu said...

Even i had horrifying experiences with shared auto in recent trip ..ha ha fun to remember it now.....I know how much you guys had worked for Manavathe to make it success, I regret I couldn't be there because of some unavoidable circumstance ....cheers for all the teachers.

Ashish said...

Woooowwww.... I can Imagine the time you must be gone through...
But it must be those moments when we actually, start liking our life style and respecting others...

Krishna said...

u should stay there 2 get more grounding in knowledge.
y did u cum bak

Prude said...

Sounds simply extraordinary...musta been a mind blowing experience...from teaching and building self confidence, to learning your mother tongue all over simply travelling to a different world all together! :) So proud!

Srikant.K said...

JGD! This is one of your best posts ever.

I am really proud of you. In which ever part of the world you may be, your heart beats Indian! Your soul beats Indian! Infact, your'e very blood is Indian !

I faced a very similar situation, way back in 2003. I was one of those very few guys, who inspite of getting the opportunity to settle down in the U.S, opted for a normal life in India. ( After a three year stint doing my Master's degree in America)

It's absolutely true, that the greatest spiritual fulfillment can be found only in India!

With Prayers & Best Wishes,

Your Student,
Dr Srikant.K
SSCMS Jan 2009 batch.