One is a place where my roots are and another is a place where my future roots will be.
I’ve never been a village person. My husband though is the exact opposite, a complete outdoor person. He simply loves the nature and could spend aeons and aeons enjoying it. He loves nature trails, treks, camping, has amazing knowledge of the wildlife and hates it when people disturb their peace. In his village, he would go along with his cousins and uncles to observe the wildlife at night by sitting on a machan!
I on the other hand, have hardly visited any villages, except mine, which is Guhagar, situated on the shores of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. I’ve not spent many vacations there but a few spent gave me memories that will last a lifetime. I cannot stay on for more than 10 day there because you begin to miss the hustle-bustle of city life. Sad but true, we are hard-wired that way. But those 10 days suffice to bring back all the energy and vigor needed to face the daily routine again.
Our house is situated just at the beginning of the village with the river behind and the vast sea-shore just five minutes away. The beach is clean and the water is as pure as you can get. In front of the house, a small stream flows. It overflows during the rainy season and is surrounded by trees all around. You look around and all you see is lush green surroundings. A well in front of the verandah where the guys simply enjoy taking a bath! Boys, first the sea-shore, then the river, then the well, they never seem to get away from the water. My brothers and nephews are amazing brats who refuse to let me be dry whenever we visit the river or the beach and it is one time when I don’t blast them for throwing me into the water:-) It is also the one time I don’t complain of sleeping in the aangan(verandah). Under the clear skies and the cool breeze blowing, it’s one of the most soothing experiences.
Our house of 4 rooms with a common hall and verandahs in front and back becomes a home when my father’s family resides there during May vacations and comes to life during Ganapati festivities. My father’s family and his first cousin’s share the small house and both families have kept the Gods common so Ganapti is huge festivity time for my family. I’ve not been able to visit owing to no vacation during that period but I have visited our small festival where we celebrate our Kuladaivat(Family God/Godess) Bhairi Bhavani. Guhagar is a fairly small village and people know each other around fairly well. We term that family god celebration as 'Gondhal', it’s meaning in English is 'Chaos'. Well it is literally, considering that there are around 100 family members alone in that house during that time :-)
Lights are lit, pooja is done and the Goddess worshipped. The whole village is called in to celebrate and it is followed by dinner for all. Newly married couples perform the pooja seeking the blessings of the Kuladaivat. After the pooja and dinner is completed, the story-tellers or 'Gondhali' arrive. They narrate tales of the goddess and other family Gods and the reason to celebrate 'Gondhal' . This story-telling carries into the night till it dawns. The story-telling is not merely a narration but there are songs, there is music and fair bit of acting too. It takes place every three years and since we could not make it this year my husband can’t wait for it to come again so that he can go attend it. Honestly I cannot wait either to attend it myself.
There are so many other stories you get to hear from all uncles and aunts and they bring back so many memories as well. Mumma has so many things to tell me from her visits to the village when they were newly married and every year she tells them as if they only occurred yesterday. It was a wonderful gate-away for them from the life in Mumbai and a fun time spent with all members of the family. Papa visited the village twice a year, he just loved that house and every year kept doing something new to it. It is so true when they say you can take a man away from his home but you cannot take the home out of the man :-)
It’s the only village I’ve known and today I’m out to discover another which will become an integral part of my life. It’s in another beautiful part of the Konkan stretch. It is a small village called 'Nanora' in Goa. It’s my husband’s village. (Unfortunately due to our hectic work schedules we can only manage a weekend trip.) We are going there to visit his (and now mine too) Kuladaivat 'Kamakshi Devi' .
I hope to capture as much as I can in these two days, a few more memories from the lovely villages in India. These are the places where the true beauty lies and are often forgotten by all.
Have a wonderful weekend, and more about my experience there once I’m back Monday morning.