City dwellers often don’t get opportunities to experience blissful vacations in the middle of all the hustle. Even one day without a phone felt amazing. I loved the fog, the winter and the cold nose – the first time I appreciated winter at all! Going to Meherpur in January felt like a great opportunity to enjoy the last few days of winter. In the midst of a busy city life, having 4 days just for myself was a treat.
As we entered the village called Koromdi cold fog hit us hard, traveling the long road in an open van at 6 in the morning was not a very pleasant experience. It was 9 degrees but felt like 6 or 5. I had almost 4 layers of clothing on. We could not see anything, not even the trees right beside us, silently guiding us towards home.
We finally reached the village set beside the Indian border. I visited this place almost 3 years back, it was still the same – a small brick building which had green windows and blue doors, chicken and goats walking in the front yard and a kitchen ever so black with smoke of the mud stove and burnt wood, this house was a big part of my childhood. I had learned how to play various outdoor games here, thanks to the amazing friends I made in the village when I was young.
When I was young is actually a wrong statement in this context – compared to them I am like a child. Some of the girls I played with even 3 years back have babies now. This was, rather, shocking news to me. My best friend from this side of the country was expecting a baby in a few months’ time. And her husband was as young as her. I used to play Mangso Chor with both of them. Now they are married!
My friend told me about the various incidents which lead them to get married – the intimate secrets of a villager and how life really is – it was all new to me, I had never thought about things this way. She told me how they both fell in love and how they persuaded their parents, how he had to go work outside the village every day and how she did not know about birth control.
After my brief visit to Koromdi, I travelled to two different cities beside the village to meet some of my relatives. Seeing their lives unfold in a society, which was very different from mine, gave me a new perspective. I have this uncle who cannot settle his mind in one particular thing. He keeps diverting his path and comes up with new wishes almost every month. They have a house, cars and an unsettled heart. It is almost heart breaking to see all the opportunities that guy could have taken advantage of, gone to waste. His father has given up on both of his sons, and silently wishes his daughter was alive.
My trip was one of an observer of both nature and humans. I had silently been a part of their life for one day.