Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just A Normal Day

In the aspiration of fulfilling my initial pledge to provide a candid and simple blog alongside the challenges, reflections, and critiques, I want to share a day with you.

My day turns in to this about once a week.  Don't you know everyone is in sync at any moment in India?  Or, sometimes getting down to Udaipole and hopping the state bus towards Kherwara is more like this.  Or, for the fan of threes, this one has started the day for me, too.  Hope the accompaniment enhances your reading/day-sharing!

For days to the field, I manage myself into the kitchen to make something for breakfast and a peanut butter sandwich to pack for later...

Oh, nope. Nevermind. Going to get reprimanded by Auntie for this mess later.  Hoping for some paratha and chai when I get to the block office in Kherwara.  I step out and walk up to our roof to soak in the cool morning air, or get blasted by the humidity.  Either and both are equally likely. 

Next step, out to grab the nearest rickshaw that will accept my 80rupees bargain for a trip to Udaipole, the bus stand.  Put-put-put-put, "chale" and we're off.  Even though it's 7am, horns blair from any car, jeep, bus, truck, tuk-tuk, or bike that sees us.  We hurry out of Fatehpura Circle to find ourselves in the morning flow through Chetak Circle and down the side of the city. 

Landing in the all-familiar madness of Udaipole, I run to the last stand in the long line of windows and grab a spot in the "Purush" line, so I can pay my 85rupee male ticket, 20rupees more than the female price.  Hopefully, I don't get seat 16 or 26 -- wheel wells.  

About an hour and half later, I hop off the rolling bus as the ticket-conductor decides how much to tell the driver to slow for me -- we get along well, though, so I am generously given a slow rolling departure.  By now I usually get the same bus on my morning trip, so same crew traveling.  I prefer to walk the 15 minutes down the highway to get to the block office, usually making a few new acquaintances by the time I arrive.  Kherwara is a heavily trafficked spot on the Rajasthan-Gujarat border, but hardly a tourist I can imagine the intrigue and alien status this videshi exudes as he strolls amongst stalls, massive "Goods Carrier" and "All India Permit" trucks, buses, cows, dogs, chickens, goats, and people.  

But some days the monsoon comes to life and the walk turns brisk and wet.

Once K and I connect we ride out the 30-ish minutes to Bichiwara and tackle the day's tasks.   Some days take us by foot all over the hilly village land checking on previous proposal projects, while other days we find ourselves meeting with families and chain-drinking chai.  Is this water tank fixed yet? What has broken on it, now?  What do the families think about the convenience of the well nearby? Is their eco-san toilet in working fashion? Does it have all the necessary components for proper use and maintenance?  The questions go on, but the intentions are all the same:  meet as many people as I can, talk, get to know them, try to let myself be known, and understand from where their thoughts grow, how they develop, and to where they lead.  Some days we meet with just 3 or 4 families, while others we have seen as many as 15.

I try to catch the 5:40 bus, so I can get back into Udaipur shortly after 7pm.  Lately I have just been walking back to SM since the heat is down, but the 45 minute walk is beginning to get busier with traffic.  On those special days where I get back earlier and just jump an auto, I still have plenty of daylight to go hang with the monkeys, meet my Diwali village friends at Fatehsagar, or find some wifi and a little darjeeling.   

All in all, the days hold so many sweet moments, plenty of questionable observations and experiences, and always something new to embrace and engage. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad your sharing this. Your travel and experiences are so interesting!