Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Through My Eyes

After three days in Bhilwara, we are back in the Kheda. Sitting in the open air is so much better than the stifling heat of a noisy fan circulating warm air. The heat in cities is unmoving, suffocating. It envelopes you like an uncomfortable sauna. In the village it is much cooler. No rickety fan. No devious mosquitoes devouring me as I sleep. The village is a vast land surrounded by forests. The breeze is free to come and go as it pleases. Occasionally, it evaporates the beads of sweat collecting on my temples. I am being spoiled here, where the only disruption at night is music, where I feel closer to the full moon that stares back at me.

I missed my Kheda. "Ram Ram Sa" has become my normal 'Hello' and 'Goodbye'. I have to restrain myself from saying 'Vah' as a response. Here, 'Vah' can mean cool / great/ fine/ alright/ okay/ amazing/ yes. I find myself appreciating the simple life more. A life where culture and social relationships trump greed and corruption. I'm in the mood for romanticizing. Humor me.

I want you to see this community through my eyes. The blue-eyed bua of Nandram who wears backless blouses and does nothing but sit all day. She's an old widow with crew-cut hair, her eyes too weak to do any good. Sometimes she comes up and sits with us, saying nothing. And then she leaves, just like that. Meera, Bhuri, Ratni...these are women I am getting to know better than others. These women have taken me under their wing, treated me less as a "Madam" and more as a friend. I want to know the stories of these bright, beautiful souls; I want to tell you those stories. View the Kheda through my eyes; it will change you in unexpected ways.

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