Throughout our journey to the village, looking through the window I noticed a vaguely familiar disquiet. I could not put my finger on it, but the emptiness remained palpable. The wind caressed the tip of the green fields and they swayed in obedience, the tall trees with shifting leaves let the sun slip through the maze every now and then. A dog approached us, tail wagging and mouth gaping, eyed us curiously.
Few women from the village sat together conversing over tobacco. One woman with an air of authority reached into the man’s pocket- who was nonchalantly staring into the field-and pulled out a stale dark brown dried leaf and poured the crushed tobacco over it, flipped it over, rolled it onto itself and began smoking from the joint.
A child standing before the dilapidated mud house ran into the fields as if in a mad rush, a woman went past the field balancing a pot on her head. Was it the balance I wondered, for she swayed her hips with a precision worthy of an artist’s admiration! A tractor shot past me and the woman gradually slipped into the muddy darkness.
‘Are you here for social work?’ a gentleman enquired curiously. He was wearing a checkered dhoti folded above his knees and a red shirt with collar smudged of dry sweat, his teeth were all brown and paunch overwhelming. He walked us all to his house, and the children followed us as if in a procession. Another gentleman identified himself and addressed us as we all proceeded towards the house. Greenery everywhere around us, the carpet of green stretched along the pathway on either sides neatly punctuated by tall trees here and there. Behind the trees, lied hidden in the dark were the huts. The huts were made of dry wood sticks staked against each other from opposite ends completing a triangle. The roof was laid out by dry grass that covered the entire structure. The slanting sides of the huts seen together in a row on the pathway was so romantic, the lady that stood against one of the hut walls added the last drop of paint on this romantic scene. The painting was done, once and for all, it just stood there completed.
As we stood before the house, it began raining and the gentleman offered us shelter in his house. Once inside, we all stood against the walls in the hallway to allow a little lamb to pass into the house, the lamb with it’s mincing steps proceeded slowly towards the door. It was pretty dark inside; the gentleman lit a candle and carefully balanced it on a plastic chair. His wife was heating milk, stuffing small chunks of dry wood into the stove as the little lamb worriedly watched. The lamb had a curious way of watching; he would shift his head as if by a jerk to a different posture and fix it there for a while before shifting it to a different angle suddenly. The interludes in the process were the most romantic, where he would stare into the house transfixed as if staring into a vacuum. Contrastingly, his head movements indicated an expectation, of something vague and uncomfortable. He would tap into the ground when he gazed absorbingly; we all stood there and shared his discomfort. I wanted to tell him that it was alright.
Then, as if in a flash, it all came back to me. It was this time and place, the romantic village that was so overwhelming that I found the city life dull and boring, as if the birds of spring have deserted the place. Here, in the village, it was always springtime.
Great lakes has offered us all great lakers an opportunity to renounce the barren wastelands of the cities and embrace the romantic atmosphere of the villages.