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The Sacred Stones of Hampi

Finding Gandhi

INDIA | Saturday, 12 April 2014 | Views [174] | Scholarship Entry

The azure sky & our colorful attire are the only challengers to the greenery around us in the paddy field in center of plantations. The bund in the paddy fields separates us from sinking in mud from where saplings are smiling at our clumsy gait. The fields give way to a serpentine climb to hillock where our lunch waits us in a home stay. We are greeted by Rama & Ravindran with smiles that are warmer than the sun shining above .The sweet coconut that till a few minutes ago was looking down on us from the canopy of coconut tree is a welcome relief. A Bulbul is looking at us suspiciously; lodging a protest by flying from one tree to another, trying to warn us about her territory. To our ears her protest is a song that only the blessed ones get to hear.
We move to the living room, & I notice something I have not seen in ages. I utter an“Oh” & turns towards my host. My surprise is at the picture of Mahatma Gandhi, silently working on his spinning wheel as if in meditation. Spinning wheel was not just for meditation ffor Gandhi, it was his weapon against the British .As part of his strategy to break against empire he called to boycott British made clothes sold in India. Holi pyres made of imported clothes were burnt in every part of India. The heat reached London and the British had to call him for negotiations. Gandhi was assigned to history books a long time ago,with nobody caring for Churchill's nightmare whom he once called Half Naked Fakir. I wanted to know more about Gandhi & hurl questions towards my host. I learn he inherited his admiration for Gandhi from his father, who was a Gandhian freedom fighter. When the Ravindrans started the home stay in their ancestral plantation they decided to adhere to Gandhian values. Most of the food is grown on the plantation using pro-planet means. They do not serve any alcohol or meat in food, that is made in the kitchen by Rama. Guests are welcome to help her and learn her secret recepies. The skeptics warned that home stay with Gandhian values will not survive as most guest would want meat & alcohol But the Gandhians were willing compromise on the principles. Soon by word of mouth the Pranavam home stay was found by traveler & internet did the rest. I click a picture of the Gandhian couple with the painting of noticing two empty chairs meant for their daughters. I will never forget that day when I discovered a retired couple keeping Gandhi alive in a remote plantation in Wayanad in Kerala.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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