I like to taste many different items, but really not that much into sitting down, learning and cooking the favorites over a period of time. I like to move, I like to see more, experience more, be a part of more number of things but I also stop getting deep into most of them and don’t put a real effort in trying to understand them in totality. Basically I like being a nomad and also am a person who searches for places where I can find excitement rather than creating one around myself. Even having said these, I was a little scared, a bit more (than ‘a little’) worried, confused and a lot less excited (than usual) about new things and change which were taking place, and so this was just totally unlike me. Only reason I remember my emotion of that time, thanks to my journal. So this diary entry was from the time when my Amdavad chapter was ending while Rajasthan was about to begin. A part of reason for not feeling much excited about change was because it was not really a ceremonious change. My work at Amdavad was not really proving out to be much productive and so it was decided I move to Rajasthan where I could get better guidance from office staff and hopefully perform better. I was irritated of not proving myself and so didn’t really feel like shifting at that point of time. So a nomad who wants to prove himself and is not just all about moving.
Amdavad has been special. I have never experienced living while drawing energy from the city I was living in. I went there knowing no one and nothing about the place, and that made it easier to explore and have fun in everything literally. Also, never before have I interacted with any community. Slums caught my attention pretty early on, with incredible stories which they hold, some sort of exciting ‘jugaad’ everywhere, liquor stores at unexpected places (mainly because illegal in Amdavad), energy in people, the range and diversity of people, from a 15 year old migrant to a transgender living side by side and carrying on with their respective works, similar aspirations everywhere of a brighter future – be it for themselves or for kids, alignment and structure of houses – built as if the construction plan has been made by a child playing building blocks, and just an infinite lot more I can keep telling. There was so much I could have tried to know and understood for myself – electricity, water, sanitation how they get it or what ‘jugaad’ they do for them and a lot more interesting aspects (yes, they are interesting once you look inside these places :-)). But didn’t get to do all of that. So a slow non pro-active nomad who wants to prove himself.
So left Amdavad, and touch down Rajasthan. No, not by flight, I travel by rail on general ticket and by road on government buses (most of the time). Hmmm didn’t really take time to get over Amdavad and to make myself feel home at my new location, Sayra. ‘Ilahi’, how wonderful the time at Sayra had been!
Got to know how it feels to be in a village, how people live, what they eat, what they do in the name of agriculture I kept hearing all the time, their mentality etc. I’m not trying to say I saw and understood a lot much, but one thing is, it is a lot less complicated than in cities or more specifically, in my slums. Experience which allowed me to see and feel the life in village has been quite fantastic. Take walking in fields late in the night while not even able to see where you are stepping your foot on, or sight of snakes, or far off homes, or community living (but happens only among themselves and there I felt is less acceptance and some discrimination – will become a whole new article if I keep elaborating), or bike ride (sitting back :p) on mountainous terrain, or talking to youth just everywhere, or even encountering a few girls hitting on me (not kidding! or at least I felt so), or seeing children playing and with things not bought but made by them or someone from among them (not an instance, it’s everywhere), or meeting often-heard tribal people, or ubiquitous ‘chai’ at every home (almost) I visit and made of water if milk not available (with water, it’s delicious trust me), or children playing with goats, or me eating ‘bhutta’ (corn) almost everywhere, or be it incredibly courteous people (a few I came across-not generalizing), or homes with cattle and people living together, or juicy ‘khakdis’, or the amazing experience of riding at night on those empty dark slender roads with dark trees lined on either side, or… these keep on coming so I have to stop here. And the best part, the starlit night sky. The place seemed to be covered over with one big telescope. It’s as if seeing galaxies out there. One more best part, the dining at people’s home when it used to get very late in the night. A heavy (I eat a lot) delicious meal with ‘rabadi’ as a dessert, ‘rotis’ made on earthen pans heated on chulhas, and one particular curry I would not forget so easily and often they eat is chilli-curry. I really cannot answer questions like ‘best moment of your life’, ‘favorite dish’, ‘happiest moment’, etc. But I can answer now for one question, that chilli curry was the best I ever had 😀
Sayra is where I found my love, I say. But it was Amdavad, she says 🙂