Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oh, the joys of village life

A couple of generations ago, our great grandparents made the decision to leave their villages and move to the city, largely in search of a better life. In just two or three generations, we have completely lost the understanding of what village life is. One company decided, many decades ago, that city bred yuppies, who it was mostly recruiting as trainees, must spend two months in a village to reacquaint themselves with rural India. This is a story of that “fantastic” experience – it is set in India, but could equally be true of many other countries.

Picture the setting. A truly representative village in a lawless part of India. Modern conveniences have not yet reached the place. No electricity. No plumbing. No nothing. But warm people. The day starts with daybreak and ends with sunset. The most precious possession in life is the buffalo.

Into this setting, in walks our city yuppie. He is ritually welcomed into the house by the lord of the house with the reassurance that he would be completely safe, as the host had two guns proudly displayed in the room. With some trepidation at this reassurance, he walks in.

Our yuppie is given the most important room in the house. This is currently being occupied by the most important possession of the family – the buffalo. The guest is being honoured with bovine company for the two months he would stay there. His olfactory senses would be irreversibly heightened for the rest of his life.

The event of the decade, perhaps of a lifetime, in the village would come the next morning, when its time for the guest to have his bath. Of course, this would be a set in idyllic settings – at the village pump or well. The whole village, especially all the womenfolk, are peeping from vantage viewing sights completely enjoying the spectacle. The sight of the metro male in full flow, accompanied by much giggling, will be the subject of local folklore for the next five decades.

But prior to that, a rather more private, but even more hilarious event has happened. Early in the morning, the host escorts our yuppie to the fields to , ahem, you know what. The host has been told that enjoying the scenery during the act would be something his guest has not been used to and therefore the host must tutor his guest on the ways of village life. The two set out on a walk to the fields carrying a “lotta” each. The fields are neck high with unharvested crop – our yuppie is rather thankful that they provide a good screen . But what he doesn’t know is that the crop also hides a rather generous population of peacocks, who do not take kindly to humans intruding on their patch. Imagine the scene – our yuppie settling down, thinking that this isn’t so bad after all. And then suddenly …. From here comes the picture postcard of the whole experience – a yuppy running for his life, with his trousers down to his ankles, chased by a peacock !!

Enough of such matters. That evening the male VIPs of the village congregate to know the yuppie better. The women are in the shadows listening extremely intently. One of the early questions is, of course, how many wives does our yuppy have. Now , if our hero had been properly tutored, he would have answered that he had three, two of them from important mafia families. But in his naivety, he has admitted that he is only 23 and is therefore wonderfully single; (Sri, please note!). Now that piece of information is met with unbelievable astonishment. They cannot comprehend that a strapping male , such as he, can actually be “available”. An earnest discussion ensures. One concerned elder, sidles upto the yuppie, to ask him in a low voice, as to whether he had , er, a certain problem, for which remedies are advertised in plenty in Page 2 of the Indian newspapers. The yuppie, having turned bright red, assures the elder that he is, ahem, fully in possession of his faculties. The matter is settled. The headman’s daughter is a perfect match. Next Friday is an auspicious day. Would that be OK with the honoured guest ??

This saga may be continued on idle Sundays , in continued proof that the writer has ‘lost it'.