Tuesday, February 28, 2012

head-weight


When the humdrum of big city life gets the bloated ego to balloon (in addition to the body that is), it is travel to small cities and experiencing a life that is lived at a different rhythm that swings the pendulum back.

Semi-urban India offers a diverse array of uniquely simple folks who go about their lives with so much of ease, quiet and sense of ‘get-on-with-it. Infact that is part of how life is lived normally !

Ofcourse, readers could be more familiar with that life. These scenes have appeared ever so many times in our movies and even more so in discussions on ‘rural empowerment’, ofcourse, set in five star hotels.

In the corporate humdrum dominated city life, sticking-neck-out-plying-of-wares is more of an exercise with an eye on the annual increment and what the 'boss' thinks. ( I didn’t intend generalizing, and am sure you the reader can point to several people (including yourself) who are very different. Yet, I guess, the world that I describe is the world that I often see) !

When viewed in a hurry, it is only natural for people to relate to these scenes with the superficiality of what the picture seems to hold and not explore the depths of the story that is pregnant within.

Think about this. When you don’t have a degree to back you up or a set of 'Key Result Areas' to confine yourself to while being expected to support the family, provide for the future of children with whatever you have, I guess, you carry a different load in your head. We all will.

Yet! To have no choice but to look forward to everyday. To walk more than 20 KMs with a 10 KG weight on the head. To do this day in day out. Shouting out to customers. Arguing with middlemen, bus conductors and sometimes fellow bus passengers, these folks are such an inspiration to life. These folks are human. And anyone of us could have been them !



Urban settings and offices, call them ‘unskilled labour’. ‘Daily Wages’ is their compensation structure. A twang laden educated air engulfs our collective view of such ‘labour’. An educated air that is devoid of basic understanding and respect that one human being could accord another.

And so, I sat there in a bus stop. As 'small' farmers, merchants and their wives got down from buses, struck deals with middlemen and sold their wares, in an almost rural setting. There were others who loaded and unloaded and moved about with purpose. Looking at me with curiosity, if at all. They had a job to do Perhaps families to feed, livestock to rear and children to raise.

They balanced the loads on their heads, carried some more in extended arms, hips and parts of the human body which strangely transformed to grooves for holding such stock.

Not for a moment seeking attention, pity or even any physical help. They were proud people going about their daily routines.

I don’t know for how long I sat there. Doing nothing but soaking it all in. Every image registered in the mind. The slow rhythms of life in a small town can be supremely captivating superlatively preparatory for life elsewhere. Especially when the urge to stand and stare rules.

As old women hauled weights that seemed far in excess of the frail frames, I realized that my struggle was not really the most supreme. Infact, some of it appeared rather small. If you are reading this post, we ( you and I ) are perhaps part of a blessed minority. A minority that can read, write, has basic needs taken care of, can access the web and have the capacity for thinking and thought.

Its about time our education and our capacity to think, alters our understanding of weights on other peoples heads. Even as we stick our necks out to reach to a new height at work, may we have it in us to see these weights with new eyes.

May we spread a smile. Perhaps a friendly wave. Even more, a full-throated greeting to the man and woman on the street who have no options but to just ‘get-on-with-it’! Above all this, may we travel and see the 'exotic'ness of sights that we miss seeing with the heart!

May we all make it large !


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10 comments:

Ugich Konitari said...

Someone from here is working on a project to design more ergonomic water carrying stuff for women who must carry water for long distances in rural areas. The daughter accompnaied folks on this trip nad has posted some stuff here :

http://photokadha.blogspot.in/2012/02/kashele-folks.html

See the last few pictures of the post.

In a world of jargon laced puffing up of the 3rd heaviest organ of the human body, it is encouraging to note that young folks are working on such relevant stuff with great application of mind and dedication. And no , there are no prizes.

manjujoglekar said...

A very thoughtful post, Kavi!

It is very evident from your posts that you have the gift to 'see with your heart'. May we all be able to cultivate that ability!

Borrowed Wisdom said...

Loved it. Could relate to it for most part. Just returned from Karim Nagar tour. Went to interior villages. Getting up at 4.30 AM & meeting our rural customers before they leave home to farm before 8 AM.
For 10 years I worked in marketing in tractor segment and now, for the past 4 years, associated with training in rural areas. Total 14 years. Just returned from tour. Sort of summed up my travel and their travails but I couldn't put it in words as well as you can ! A few more remarks would follow.
Hope your creative juices keep flowing, even on the onset of scorching summer.

Borrowed Wisdom said...

(discussions on ‘rural empowerment’, ofcourse, set in five star hotels.) heh heh heh ! Dipped your tongue, I mean, fingers, in a tank full of acid ! ?
(, you carry a different load in your head. We all will.) Touche !
(these folks are such an inspiration to life.) I drew some inspiration often, while traveling in train. More details follow, in a personal mail.
(Not for a moment seeking attention, pity or even any physical help. They were proud people going about their daily routines. ) Proud. Decent and dignified in face of adversity.
(our capacity to think, alters our understanding of weights on other peoples heads.) hmmm....
(travel and see the 'exotic'ness of sights) heh heh heh @ exotica ! Rural heartland ,of our own motherland, has become ' exotic' for us ? Since when ? It's a sorry state of affairs if it is !
Great post. Me Sharing with friends.

ashok said...

loved this post Kavi...

Pearl said...

Each of us carry a load, it is true. I often think of how different my grandmother's load was from my own, she with an 8th grade education (and her husband with his 6th grade education!), 14 children (nine born at home!). They were happy people, good workers, and lived simply.

I like to think that we are all trying, that each of us struggles daily with unseen loads. I try not to add to people's worries, a goal that seems easier as I age.

Pearl

p.s. Thank you for "soporific". I've seen it many times but have never known its definition! :-)

Jeevan said...

Excellent perspective... I wish everyone observe life at this phase will sure change the life looking into and keep away the weight bored inside unlike those bear above head. Interesting kavi!

wils said...

Thought provoking post indeed. Very different view. I helped many times these people to lift the basket to their heads, but never thought about their life in the way that you think.
Thanks for this post.

logic said...

Very good thought..and very well written.
Clearly delivers your perspective.

I have been out of the blogging world for 6 yrs and back now.

Saw your comment in few of my old blogs years back !!
Do drop by when u find time.

kallu said...

Thought provoking and well observed and well written. So many people just carry on without asking for sympathy for their lot.Like Pearl says.
Something we should remember when we start cribbing about little things.