I looked forward to visit the village near Udaipur in Rajasthan as I’ve never visited one before, with my fellows at India Fellow and it was an experience of sorts. We started somewhere around 9 am having eaten our breakfast. The drive to the village was picturesque with hills, trees and a river flowing by. I felt at peace as soon as we reached the village which I don’t usually get to experience in the cities. The houses were well aligned and fenced with cacti. They looked beautiful with farms right next to them. This village was in a valley.
As a part of rural immersion we visited the village and had to interact with families living in the village. The house that I visited was that of a mill worker. It was a modest place where a family of 10 lived together who had a farm where they grew corn and ladies finger. They had two goats and two cows as well. It was pleasant sitting under the bamboo trees in the farm while the lady of the house narrated her story. The warmth of the lady touched me. She said it was difficult for them to make both ends meet everyday as two of her sons didn’t live with her anymore since they went to the city for work and they had crop once a year as the farm was rain fed. In spite of their current circumstances she offered us tea. I don’t drink tea, so I politely refused and learnt how to prepare tea on their wooden stove.
The kids from the neighbourhood were lovely. They were all interacting with us. We bid them goodbye and went on our way for lunch. While walking to a small cafe for lunch I started eating an apple as I was quite hungry. Initially I didn’t realize a big pair of brown eyes staring at me. They belonged to a small girl who was about five years old in a ragged frock with dirt smeared all over her. Her hair was short and messy. I thought she was staring at me, but I was wrong. She wasn’t actually looking at me but at the apple that I was eating. I offered her the apple and she grabbed it. I couldn’t see the hunger in her eyes and walked away from that place silently thinking to myself why life was so unfair. There I was eating and on the the other hand there she was with no food. All through the lunch her image popped up in front of me and I felt really sad.
After lunch we had a community meeting where we got a chance to interact with all the villagers and know their lifestyle and the problems that they faced living there. In spite of all their problems and modest lifestyle they lived happily. The pomp with which they celebrated festivals and weddings for about a month in a lavish way told how happy they were when they narrated these things. After the meeting it was time for us to leave, but that image of the little girl got imprinted in my mind forever.