Whenever a traveler returns back to a place after almost ten years, it is this feeling of worrying whether it is the same anymore? And had the very thought been the topic of contemplation in my head while travelling to a village near by that I visited almost a decade back. The trip was inevitably a combination of anticipation and dread.
I was wondering on my way whether it will be the same? Will it be the way I left it? I could not wait to sit by the rail track in the fields and light that bidi. Being in the field of design, ‘Khadkada’ – a village near Porbandar with the population of 100 was one of the biggest inspirations. I was tantalized of the culture and heritage that gave me so much to take home. Once I swung around the curve of the road that revealed the ‘Bakda’, where I would sit and scribble thoughts crossing my head, decisions or a random compilation of the things I see and cherished.
The village was then very restricted yet very vibrant in terms of food, culture and their style of tying & dying. As soon as I reached, I was served with ‘Rotla’, a big scoop of ‘Maakhan’ with the sweetest tea to pass it off as a sweet compliment. Atithi devo bhava (guest being equivalent to god) is not just understood but practiced here, as I refused to eat the proportion they served but the lady serving me this heavenly meal kept nudging me into eating it. She said, “Don’t you wish to survive the day!” I nodded to that and ate what was served. I was awed by the breakfast.
Let the feast begin
I was awaiting the village feast, an event that saw the enthusiasm and oneness of the locales who prepared a meal together on this particular night. I simple wanted to experience the pomp & pleasure and to eat a belly full. Everyone must have an intricate feeling as to how the cultures of village still manage to exist. Traditions here reminded me of the movie – Fiddler on the roof where the villagers strive to keep the tradition alive and avoid migrations. In the struggle of trying to save or guard whatever is left of the village, the Panchayat (the law & order in the village) had taken steps to save the heritage properties and fields owned by the small time farmers. I was glad that something was being done for the betterment of the village. And a sigh of relief thinking, it will still be there