The Village - Part 2
Sandhya thought to herself, if this would have been a city, people would not even remember their old neighbors and they will not have time to even wish them a "hiii" and if you say that you need to stay there for a week, there wont be anybody willing to acknowledge that idea in the first place, city people's heart has become congested just like the city they are living in. She knows that nowadays the concept of joint family is vanishing from the society and the bondage people had in a family is weakening. The bond within families in city is getting more suffocating and silent than a coffin. But Sandhya is out there to enjoy the best days of her life and hence she decided to live the most of it...
She was asked to stay in a house where in the grand father once lived, though the house has not been maintained well, but the village people did their best to clean a part of it and gave it to Sandhya and ensured that she is feeling comfortable there. They also appointed a watchman for her and also to take care of all her immediate needs. She was served a very good meal which was extremely delicious, even the feeling of eating that horrible office cafeteria food would trigger a vomit in her, and this food is damn so good, again her inner voice told her that, if she continued to eat the same stuff for a week, even this will trigger vomit, and this time Sandhya acknowledged her inner voice. She went to the only temple of that village which was surprisingly well maintained but there were not many people who were visiting that temple, apart from few outsiders like her. She once thought that these people have absolutely no worries in their life and hence they really don’t need to pray to GOD as they are happy in what they have and in what they get. So greed is the need for being spiritual too.
Sandhya likes to be with kids and moment she was in the village, there were lots of small girls who were so keen in seeing her, for variety of reasons. They used to come near her and then touch her pant and shirt and then ask funny questions, "If you wear this pant and shirt, then what will your dad wear ?", "What is that machine which you always hook up to your ears (iPod) ?", "What is that you are drinking from that paper box (Real Juice) ?", even the slightest of changes seem to be a big surprise to these kids. Sandhya once called a girl and then placed the ear phones of her iPod which was playing "Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalaali ..." song, moment that little girl heard that, she screamed to all her friends, "Hey come here, Rajinikanth uncle is singing inside this wire", on hearing this Sandhya just could not stop her laughter and at the same time she did not fail to enjoy that innocence, which she has lost long long ago.
Sandhya sat with some of the ladies of that village just to understand what would be their daily routine and when she got to know what they are doing, she felt jealous on the fact that they are leading a very simple and a conservative life. They may not earn the money that Sandhya is earning, but they are pretty contented with what they get and lead a peaceful life. Sandhya wished she could be here forever, but she knew she can't. The villagers took her around the village to show what all the different kinds of plantations they have, and what grows when and what should they sow on their fields depending on the season. Sandhya was surprised to hear that there is a whole lot of process that is involved before the rice comes on to her plate and after hearing all the hard work these farmers are doing, Sandhya took an oath saying she will not waste even a single piece of rice from now, how bad it be.
For the first time in her life Sandhya tasted tender coconut which was taken straight from the coconut tree and cut in front of her eyes, she asked how much she needs to pay for this and got a puzzled stare from all the other villagers who were around her, as they don’t generally do all these for money. Sandhya's inner voice screamed "you cheap ...", and that's the culture city life has injected in her, whatever you do or you get, that will be for money. Sandhya then went to a school in that village and was shocked to see the state of it, and also the children who were studying in that school does not have the basic amenities for them to study. There was a little boy who had scattered buttons in his shirt and had a broken slate in his hand, he stood example of a typical village boy with his dark color tone with an oil soaked hair. He was made to kneel down outside the class room, I mean outside the shade of the tree and the reason being he did not pay his school fees of Rs 10, that month. Sandhya was quick to pay that money for that little boy, but he strongly objected that by saying his parents will scold him if they come to know that he borrowed money from her. She liked that little boy's attitude towards maintaining self esteem, in spite of his situation.
Sandhya now decided that she is going to stop being a spend thrift as she spends a whopping 15K a month on her costumes and other accessories, She started to realize that this trip is teaching her lessons for life. Three days have already gone by in a flash and Sandhya was not too happy about that, She has to leave that place in another 3 days and already that sickening feeling of going back to city started to haunt her, she asked herself many times, "Can't I be here forever ?" and as usually her inner voice said "NOOOOOO". It was pouring cats and dogs at their village for almost two days and Sandhya was forced to be indoors and it came as if to spoil her party to be outside and mingle with those people, but whatever be the rain, the food and other amenities that she needed kept coming, she was deeply moved and touched by the commitment and affection shown by those villagers. She cannot get such unconditional love and affection from anyone in the city, as they all live in their own world and does not have time to think about others.
She happened to hear a lot of stories about her grandfather and it looks like he was the one who literally ruled that village, people praised him for all the good deeds he has done for the village and also they had erected a bus stand with his name, which Sandhya noticed when one of the villager showed her that broken plate which is still hanging in that bus stand where only 1 bus comes every three days. There was a big meeting at the village to discuss the fate of the paddy fields which got completely drowned due to that heavy rain, and she could come to know that most of the farmers have lost almost all their earnings because of this and they have to wait for the government to do something for them. Sandhya could not imagine that all the hard work which they have put in has gone for a toss and that too for a mistake which they are not at all responsible for. Sandhya badly wanted to help the farmers and she took a detailed stock of what could be the total amount of damage this rain would have done. She took her laptop out and then worked on the mathematics and as usually she had a curious gang of little ones who were looking at the laptop for the first time and calling it as "TV potti".
That night Sandhya had too many changes in her life, she just thought how blessed she is and still she is cribbing about the life GOD has given her and really felt happy that this vacation to this village has totally changed her and would certainly shape her up as a better and a matured person in her life. It was the last day of her vacation and when she said that she has to leave, she could literally see tears in almost all the people's eyes and they got so attached to her even her little friends wept badly after knowing that she is leaving, Sandhya is not a stone to be hard at this situation and hence she too could not control her tears. While leaving she handed over a cheque of Rs 50,000 as relief for all the villagers who have lost their money to this recent rain and forced the village head to accept it. With too many changes which she has undergone in the past one week, Sandhya boarded her train as a new person who is now ready to take things easily in life and be more matured and responsible in her actions.
By the time Sandhya narrated this story to all her grand children, everyone's eyes were wet and they too promised her that they will not waste any food, they won’t waste money, and they will be helpful to all their friends and neighbors. Vinay looked at his mom with a sense of pride, as he felt that she is the right choice to mentor his kids who are living in the US and does not know the value for people and money. Now he can be rest assured that his mom will bring them up very well in life.