Thursday, August 19, 2010

India and me

  Its summer vacation here in Gulf.July- August are the peak summer months here. We visited India last month after about one year and, very much like how an indulgent mom would observe her son  seeing him after a  long time ,I observed my own country. I travelled , I visited people  , I frequented "sarkari offices" ,took son for  a root  canal treatment (  Its an official  middle class idea of fun activity  when on  a vacation to home) .
Everytime I had an exclusively Indian experience , all I thought was of blogging about it ,again much like as if your best friend has a strand of spinach stuck between  her two  front teeth  and whenever she smiles at you , all you notice is the green thing stuck between her teeth.
To begin with , I travelled from Bhopal to Indore in an intercity train in second class( I have  already confessed to  the middle class mentality) , its a 4 hour journey , we 3 (My two sons and I) were packed on a bench and opposite to us was a family of 4 travelling with a Jain monk who was  clad in white . The Jain Sadhu was really very friendly and inquisitive , much to my surprise. He strangely reminded me of  a character in Gita Mehta's story in  her book "River Sutra" in which a rich man's only son , finding life too frivolous ,decides to be a monk and thus leaves his family .Many years down the lane he  is recounting  his story to the narrater and all of a  sudden he  gets up and says " I must be get going ,my fellow monks must be waiting for me to join them in the journey  ahead , I have lost my family once and don't want to lose it again." These are the last words of the story which I  just can't forget .
I visited my grandmom who is extremely ill and  completely invalid but mentally equally alert . This makes life difficult for her and for others too, who are serving her . My Mom is constantly worried about her and I am worried about my mom  .I don't know if my granny  is dodging the death or vice versa ? Life can  sometimes be so painful to bear.
We went for  a picnic to "Bheem baithka" , a site 45 kms from Bhopal , its a world heritage site declared by UNESCO ,which  covers around 700 caves .these rock shelters (caves) housed early men of differnt civilisations  for nearly 100,000 years and paintings found here are as old as 9000 years .
It was drizzling only kittens and pups  the whole day as if rain God was sprinkiling rose water on us gently . walking on wet road , listening to the ruffling of leaves and water droplets falling on the huge leaves  on both the sides of the road made the whole excursion  a great experience .Its strange that no information  is written anywhere around ,given the importance of the place , nor any serious tourists or visitors were  to be found .All I could spot were some college boys and girls on motorcycles having a good time on  reasonably secluded roads .
Oh ! don't you  think that I am an old auntyji objecting to young people enjoying their freedom but you see ji  times are so bad , you can't trust anyone  thesedays ...........  moreover we never used to roam about like this  in our times.  Here are two paintings .

My father in law reloacted to Indore recently and started staying in a rented house . The landlady  staying upstairs thought  that she had rented the huge house to a single old man but was suitably bugged to see the 4 of us + my brother in law  as the unforseen residents moving in there  the same month . She was too upset by the amount of water we consumed and was so completely outraged that stopped the water supply for complete 24 hours. I was sent as a goodwill ambassador to pacify her , I  talked to her gently( and meekly ) and told her that  we were to leave the place soon but she was not to be  pacified and summonned us to vacate the house at once. The agenda of our vacation suddenly shifted from helping FIL to settle down in Indore to resettle him somewhere  else in Indore. Indian landlord's attitude , possesiveness about their house, water scarcity  makes a formidable combination .
 There is much more to it , shall write about it some time again.
Till then , take care  and save water .


  1. ok, your last line has given me the chance to crib about the neighbour who always waste a lot of water. they use the pump and never switch it off. water would be overflowing all the time.

    hope you had a good time in your vacation. I think most of us are middle class and will always have that mentality in us. But it is also good that we do have our values in place.

  2. Its criminal to waste water , specially in India where water scarcity is so acute .
    My poor FIL has all his life been championing the cause of saving water in his family but this time the landlady accused him of wasting water . All these years my FIL stayed in his own house and saved water prudently but this time the power of judgement was with her , as the house belonged to her . Ultimately "Perception matters "