When people talk about visiting India some of the first things that are mentioned are the noise, the pollution and the traffic not the hush and the solitude that can be found in such a busy and moving country. Given that most people enter the country through major airports and in the heart of the city, these are often the first things they are confronted with. However, there is a much simpler side to India that can be appreciated–the village life. Aside from the handful of major cities throughout the country, India is a country that is made up of and thrives off of its villages. These villages are often comprised of farmers who sweat and toil to produce the food that supports India’s massive population.
Putting aside the controversy that tends to come form India’s villages, the peace and serenity that can be found in these regions can be a breath of fresh air. There’s just something calming about leaving the rush and the bustling of the city streets to the wide open farm land with nothing but a few village houses and a handful of people and animals as far as the eye can see. And while these villages may not be well connected to the power grid, there are a surprising number of solar appliances that help with the everyday functions of life and there is almost always cellphone connectivity, sometimes even with Internet.
We have visited numerous villages around our city and I always love the little bit of reprieve that they are able to offer, even if it is only for an hour or so. Often times it is simply the act of getting out of the house and into a new environment that gives you that breath of fresh air that is needed and desired. I think sometimes we get so entangled in the fast moving pace of living in the city that we forget where our food comes from and the efforts that are put into growing and harvesting it. unlike in the west, a majority of the farming is still tended to by hand. True there are tractors and plows to help til the land. Heck, in some parts of India I have even seen large combines, but the average farmer relies primarily on his hands and his own labor. When it comes time to gather a crop, tractors may be rented and borrowed, with only a few tractors in each village.
Personally, I find it inspiring that there are communities that are still completely independent and living off the grid for the most part. Each villager has their own plot of land where they are able to grow the food that their family needs and engage in bartering as needed. Likewise, it is through these villagers’ efforts that the rest of the country has fresh produce. Many Indians and those that live in India will stand there and barter with the vegetable wala to get a better deal, but I think we often forget the efforts that go into producing the food. Granted a large part of growing the food is simply making sure the crop has water, but I doubt many of us would be willing to toil to harvest the food that we so quickly consume.