Sunday, January 15, 2006

Its (Not) A Simple Life

This weekend I went to my aunt's place near a place called Vittal. It had been quite some time since I went there.

I must write about this place. This aunt is my mother's only younger sister. I call her 'Chikku', short for Chikkamma. I am an only child and I grew up alone without anyone to play with. I would not get dirty in the mud, would not fall and get hurt much. I did all this every summer at her place all through my growing up years.

The village is called 'Pariyalthadka'. To get to the house, you would need to walk for about 15 mins through arecanut trees, very lush green fields and on thin planks across deep streams. I grew up with a touch of the city and the village and I appreciate both now. I and my cousins have spent many hot days roaming the fields, eating everything edible, frolicking in the water, getting very very dirty, coming home to scoldings and more delicious food. There are many dishes that are very unique to this part of the state, like undlakalu (tiny balls made of jackfruit with a piece of copra inside.Very hard.), mambla (layers of mango juice that is dried in the sun), burnt cashew (yummy) and so many others. Everytime I go there, I eat every waking moment. Helps that the entire family pampers me with handfuls of raisins, cashews and secret extra helpings of everything! ;-)

I mean to write here about life in a village. I know of many people who wish to leave the stress of the city, buy a farm and spend a happy life in a village. Believe me, village life is hard, if not harder than city life. I have seen my uncle worry and lose hair over the rains, the water for irrigation, the frequent power failures, labour problems, low price for crops...Life is definitely not stress free. My aunt has to cook and feed the servants also (they do that a lot in these parts). Then there is the lack of privacy. Every action is reported back to your family. (Village folk as a new mass medium! Hmm! Very interesting!) For someone accustomed to the anonymity of the city, it can be suffocating. You cannot eat, dress, act like you want. The need to be at your best behaviour all the time, think about what your neighbours will say before you do something can be a lot stressful. Village life is not simple in any way.

There is a Kannada proverb which says 'Doorada Betta Nunnage'. Loosely translated, it means what is far away always looks better than what is up close. So it is with life in a village.

1 comment:

ShaK said...

I agree with you. Although my interaction with villages has not been as abundant as yours, I have had my visits there a few times in life. The thought that 'Ah!To be part of a quiet little place away from chaos...' is a passing one. Once a city chap always a city chap. When the eye candy fades away and reality hits, the first ones to run are the 'City Walahs'.

Good write up. I am not familiar with the dishes you described but they sure sounds yummy!