Joining forces for RURAL legends - Moving ahead, Joining hands: Vandemataram Foundation

Rural Legends

By Sri Subbareddy an Assitant Director of Films, Short Films, Documentaries. He Joined Vandematarm Foundation VARADI team to Konapur Village.

This is his smalll write -up .
There was this "Urban kids meet Rural kids" programme conceived and organised by a group of my friends.

Hyderabad, despite the best efforts by Chandrababu Naidu, is one of those ideal cities where an hour's journey in any direction is enough to land you amidst serene country side.

These city kids were gungho about this event. So were the parents, given that their kids will now get to know that milk comes - not from fridge alone but from some milk animals too.

All gathered at the agreed time of 6am at a pickup point with packed breakfasts. With good byes and thrusting of extra money into a few hesitant kids' pockets - to buy mineral water bottles - done, the bus moved on. There were still a few parents riding on their Scootys along side the bus shouting instructions through the windows, aimed at their - ipod turned on already, I am not listening to you anymore dad - kids. All of their instructions revolved around the evils of drinking the water, offered at villagers' homes.

I was not alone among those people sitting in the bus who thought - next time there needs to be a 'Urban legends demystified' tour. For the parents, to shut them up. (For the moment, I turned on my own Ipod to shut them out).

The buses wound down the road and so was the breakfast down the gullet of kids. We were actually supposed to eat it at a hillock enroute. But that being an early day, you see, we were hungry. Either ways, we have those extra bucks thrust into our pockets. May be there will be a few hotels out there in the village. No? Ok, may be a fast food joint, better still Chandrababu Naidu permitting, may be a KFC?! Thanks, developmental Politicians!

We pulled into the village and we felt like a politicians our selves. There was a reception committee of kids and elders complete with garlands and flowers. Every village kid armed with one flower each, gathered from their own kitchen gardens, to pass onto us bus full of guests. There was a village band playing tirelessly and also a colourful Kolatam performance by rural kids - who seemed to have practiced unending for months, like they do on Republic day parade, in anticipation of this special day. Urban kids were awestruck. Some of them went back to the bus, threw their bags and shoes inside and joined the Kolatam line to do an impromptu jig. It was heartening to see the hard practiced village kids yeilding their places and kolatam sticks to their dazed counterparts from the city. They started to guide them how to strike it right.

The procession went from the village entry point to the Panchayat office with rural and urban kids dancing gay abandon, step in step, bare footed on hot gravel. The only people who might have felt any heat could be, the cynics who will be scooty riding to their way back in the city.

After a few hours, they all congregated under tamarind trees for a meal. This meal was special. It was made out of ingredients that the kids gathered them selves from the fields. It had Bhindi, carefully plucked by Tanya Mathur braving the prickles the plant has. It had mushrooms, collected by Sarat Jaiswal tredding in the slushy wet fields. It had eggs too, gathered by Anirudh Ranagarajan from a smelly poultry farm. It also had sweet dish made out of Jaggery and Tamarind, plucked by Komal from the tree full of crawling red ants. For drinking water, however, there were Aquafina mineral water bottle crates. Perhaps ordered from the one of the dozen Pepsi outlets serving the village. The rural folks clearly out thought us urbanites there.

My favorite remained the aftermeal mouth freshner - a fistful of fresh Saunf twigs plucked by my self from the Saunf plants grown in every kitchen garden in that village. The after-taste will linger on for ever, in all of us.
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