16 December 2008
A couple of days ago, I went to a remote region in Haryana with a friend who wanted to buy an agricultural tract of land. After several twisty roads (if you may so call ‘em) we reached a place where two roads met. Obviously we took the more travelled one. Once in the village, we met up with the village head of land affairs. In case you're worried, this write-up is not about benefits of agriculture, la “krishidarshan” on Doordarshan.
Well, hesitatingly at first, we had to hop on to the local vehicle available (read: bullock cart) coz the car from the city would not be able to bear the harshness of the rough & severe path that’d lead to the site or what everyone in the village called a “ploat” (plot). Several meandering, dusty, umm…in-ways…(dunno what else to call a no-road kinda road)later, suddenly came upon one of the most arresting and pleasant sites I’ve seen in a long time: a vassssstttt undulating area filled with sarson…bright & green & yellow, swaying in the wind. A real feast to the starved eyes. While X (let’s call my friend that, for the sake of simplicity) conversed and discussed and discussed some more with the main farmer, all I could think of was…nothing. My mind did not, could not, race or flit from one topic to a disconnected another. Suddenly, X & the other chap stopped talking. The silence in the fields became positively overwhelming. All I could hear was the musical interplay of the delicate sarson, rising and falling; see the entire area change hue as the yellow heads ducked and the green became more prominent. It was magical. It was picture perfect.
I was being asked for my opinion. Oops…err, yes, X, it’d be perfect. Eh? An acre? Buy the whole area! Yes, I am sure…BUY! What more could you want? This place was perfect…build a little cottage and surround yourself in this sight, this smell, this sound of silence. Your concrete jungle will never take you to this...this... heightened sense of well-being, tranquillity and harmony.
Once back to the “oppice” (office), we were offered a most delicious cuppa masala tea and a box of sweetmeats. Whoa…why sweets? We hadn’t struck a deal yet, not even spoken about it. My antennae were up, trust factor plummeting to zero. What was he trying to get at? As if sensing my discomfort, the man offered, “We can’t let you go empty-handed.” His bronzed face, missing teeth and humble voice left me feeling that somewhere, I’d become a victim of the cruel, calculating, modern times that have repeatedly taught us to never trust anyone.
I was humbled.
I’m back to the concrete jungle. Surprisingly, each time I am weary and tired, in vacant or in pensive mood the dancing fields flash upon that inward eye;
Then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils…
It is a totally underdeveloped, unsophisticated little hamlet that provides me with comfort when my “modern,” urban, fast life sets my being in a tizzy. Ironic or what.