Sometimes while you are walking along you encounter beautiful memories of your childhood. I remembered being a little girl driving down the country roads with my parents during my visit to Beholi, a village in Panipat.
It was a work trip. I had anticipated a hot day on rustic roads. But once I reached Beholi, with my colleague Lovina, we seemed to have left sultry Gurgaon far behind. The air was cooler and the surrounding lush green. Just two and half hour drive and the maddening, concrete jungle appeared to be another world that we once dwelt in. And my days as a little girl, when my father used to sometimes take us along while touring rural Tripura, flashed before my eyes. As if my childhood days were hopping across the fields to embrace me.
Of course, a village in Haryana and one in Tripura are not exactly the same. The crops grown, the vegetation, the cattle, everything is quite different. But the experience was more or less the same – the green fields around me, the water bodies, the hospitality and the warmth of the rural folks. Standing by the green expanse or trying to balance myself as I walked on the edge of the wheat field, I met the carefree little girl running past the rice fields, cool breeze wiping off the sweat that streamed down her forehead. Her clothes were muddy from rolling on the fields.
My father worked for the agriculture department of Tripura and toured the state a lot. Often, my mother and sisters would join him, driving down in a govt. Jeep. My parents would sit in the front while we were bundled up in the back seat of that canvas-covered vehicle. Those vehicles were probably the earliest version of SUV. And they were manufactured by Mahindra (not Jeep). Though for a long time I thought that ‘jeep’ was the term used to describe that category of vehicles.
I loved those nights in a government guest house or bungalow in a remote village. After dark, there would be complete silence except for the sound of cricket or maybe night birds. Stars would be shining bright over the pitch-black sleeping village. In the morning I would wake up to the sound of birds, bullocks being led to the fields, and cows mowing. All I wanted was to be a farmer harvesting rice and leading my cattle to the field.
On my visit to Beholi, I realised that I still yearned for that rustic life. It seemed so close, yet so far away. For growing up you realise the price that you need to pay for simple rural life.