Tuesday, September 18, 2007

first field trip

On ganesh chaturthi day, an auspicious day in hindu calendar that happened to be a Saturday on which we decided to hit the road and explore rural beauty and innocence. We went about 25 kms on kanakapura road.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning after the day when office-goers had spent 3-6 hours reaching their 10-20 kms away homes. It was a beautiful cold morning with good cloud cover and we set ourselves for the first random right turn after a beautiful lake. Luckily the village was nearby along side road and we parked the car in front of school with few trucks nearby.

We started asking if someone knew hindi/english but people responded that they only knew kannada and telugu. We saw a guy sitting in front of a huge house on the sides of the gate and he happened to know hindi. We explained to him our mission and he asked how many people would be coming next weekend. He even suggested that we should keep a cook but we said it may not be needed as our focus was authentic rural experience.

We happened to ask him if he could take us around and he seemed to be a man of prominence so he instructed few kids who were floating around to take us through the slimy muddy lanes.

As some of us began video/photography the kids got engaged and I smattered a few words in telugu as two youths really got curious as to why we had come to there village. They were asking if we will take them to bangalore but we said that instead we will get people from city who will come here and understand your lifestyle.

We gave some money in the name of Lord Ganesha. I thought we should not give money just for the thrill of it as it would encourage children to request the same from subsequent visitors.

We had coffee and sat on sofa inside a small one room house that had open kitchen and a color television. The kids got curious and were playing around us as the house owners shooed them away as they were not leaving their chappals outside. They liked their house clean.

A small girl who had picked some English at school but could not communicate in the language suggested we write on piece of paper and express. That didn’t work and we tried sketching on paper too. She came to my side and asked who were the couple here and we said none as we were all friends.

The old women showed me her hand and I held it affection. She thought I was a Doctor but I was not.

We were on roads again and this time we said we should take a right after few kms. We did so and hit a village a few km offroad and managed to reached the edge of it before we felt the car would go deeper than the surface of the road, we decided to alight and park it on the sides.

We started enquiring about language and met a student who comes to Bangalore for his college and found he was conversant in English and said he would not be able to help us but to contact the member. Another boy on nice bicycle took us to member's house and we explained the concept to him and he grew interested as he took us inside his house.

A good house with an angaan in center and we sat on chair after switching off the small TV. We were offered coffee as he explained that he was general secretary of a political party and also ran a dairy cooperative. He mentioned that paddy is simply grown for self-consumption and they have tried their hands in vegetables etc., for alternative source of income.

He showed us the paddy fields and the hybrid cows who collectively produced 1000 litres of milk per day as he supplied them to south of bangalore. We saw sericulture for the first time and the silk worm walked on my palms. The student boy mentioned that china silk was more competitive than us. The old lady prepared herself for a photograph. And our dear friend directed us towards ashram.

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