Romance, by definition (& personal experience) is short-lived, fleeting; hence so enticing. The same holds true for my fascination with the rural life. Life in a village is so peaceful, so quiet, so romantic. Yes I know, have heard that a lot. But hey…I don’t want no peace. I would be miserable in a village.
I know many people whose ultimate dream in life is to make loads of moolah in the city & then go back & settle down in a village. I can never ‘settle down’ in a village. It would be my slow poison. Being confined. Not being able to go up & about town. That is my idea of a perfectly sad life. The eerie silence, the peacefulness, the quietness, the solitude, the absence of a hurried existence, the lack of activity, the ‘no hurry- no worry’ life would suffocate me.
The hustle & bustle of a city, its crowds, its movement, the uncertainty, the striving, the struggles – that’s my oxygen. I was born & grew up in Bombay for the first 10 ten years of my life. Bangalore has become my home since the last 10 years. My middle 10 years were spent in a village in Udupi. Today, sometimes, I am hit by sudden bouts of nostalgia. I miss Udupi. Sometimes! But my longing for the place is never for the place per se. What I miss is …
I miss the koli’s (cock) wake-up call in the mornings.
I miss the cow’s ‘ambeyy” reverberating throughout the village.
I miss the ‘halasina seydu” (a quarter of a slice of jackfruit). In Bangalore, you pay Rs 2 for a single seeded piece while back in Udupi I used to devour an entire “seyd” of the juicy giant fruit.
I miss the texture of our courtyard. We used to mix cow dung & water & spread that special mixture all over the front yard to keep it clean & nice.
I miss bangday (mackerel) saaru cooked in an earthen pot & eaten the next day. Aaah! Umm! Ssss!
I miss washing my head with ‘chik’ shampoo. Yup, that was a ‘famous’ brand back then. Modern day competition has wiped the poor thing out. We used to have these big pipes to irrigate the coconut trees. And at the main junctions, the water was let loose into a canal that was then directed into the individual trees using a shovel. We had to move the mud to either stop or let go the water. It was here, at the main junction, that on Sundays, we used to press our head against the gushing water & have a big splash.
I miss the piping hot ‘ganji’. Yeah. Really. A lot. The brown rice, the steaming ganji with kharada hapla (papad) or mango pickle or a nicely fried fish or a bowl of spicy chicken. Aaah! Umm! Ssss!
I miss collecting cashew nuts and earning our summer pocket money from that. One kg of the nuts used to fetch Rs 30. We used to compete with each other to collect the maximum nuts.
I miss the postman’s ghanti (bell). It was the most awaited sound; a close second came the sound of the fish hawker who sold fish on a cycle.
I miss the combo of halasina (jackfruit) kadubu wrapped in banana leaf & steamed & served with chicken gravy. Aaah! Umm! Sss!
I miss pathrade.