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Recollections of a Rover “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization…” -Robert Louis Stevenson-

A walk in another world

INDIA | Friday, 9 May 2014 | Views [485]

The remote Indian village stands exactly as it was a decade earlier. Raggedy weeds still cleave through the winding dirt roads. The ramshackle shops offer the same toys and sweets from a lifetime ago. It seems as if the same men are standing outside, wearing what look like skirts, and holding hands while chatting. Local girls, wearing garish salwar kameezes, walk past and stare at my T-shirt and jeans. 

The jade green forest is robust from recent rains, which doesn't make it any easier for me to stumble through. Finally I come across a clearing where schoolboys are immersed in cricket. A few nonchalantly glance my way before resuming their game. 

After trudging up a lone hill, I face my grandparents’ abandoned abode. A ghost of a house that once raised ten children. A house that now strains under the weight of neglect and regret. The moss-laced well still resides outside; a nurturer during droughts, but a murderer to the unfortunate creatures that fell in.

Inside the home, dust particles swirl and sparkle around the bare rooms. I find it difficult to stay because of the silence and the glaring walls, and the musty scent that will linger when I’m gone.

Later I pass by the rubber plantations where workers, exhausted from bending all day in the unrelenting humidity, greet me with gentle smiles. I belong here in Anickad, Kerala. But I am uneasy, knowing that soon I have to leave. 

Evening prayers are long in the sweltering heat, and the songs of insects drift in through the shutters. My wavering attention is captured by the brilliant glow of a firefly upon a faded painting. I am partly horrified, partly mesmerised, when a lizard’s head emerges from behind the picture. Before I blink again, the radiant blaze of the firefly is gone forever. 

Tags: forest, home, india, kerala, nature, village, walk

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