Punjab is dotted with numerous villages which together roll in to one to give it its identity, its strength and importantly, the unique among all identities – flavour, which is unparalleled. Call them hamlets, ‘Pind’, ‘Kasba’, settlements or ‘Vaseelas’, they are fiercely independent guarding their identity. Some are big others, small or medium sized, sprawling or crammed to the gills or miniscule, you name it, they are there.
Every village has a story to tell. Before their unique characters gets wiped out by the advancement of technology, the rapid pace of modernization which is leaving them neither here nor there, I’d like to share some anecdotes…
For obscurity sakes, let’s call my pind (village) Q. Google maps zeroes on it with a lot of difficulty only when given the co-ordinates. Its interesting the the village with a similar name can be found in 6 different places in Punjab. With due respect to certain parts of the state which are modern, are well into the 21st century and are ready for their tryst with history, mine, sadly, is a misfit. It is struggling with the usual ills of life – drugs, alcohol, lack of amenities, small size holdings – which are dwindling go the dream of flying to ‘baahar’. We have all watched movies, seen documentaries highlighting village life and its hardships. But, I wanted to bring out the positive part for we all do need some colour in the shades of grey which is inhabiting our lives.
The simplicity, innocence of the village folks, their naivety and complete faith in the system is unbelievable. They are removed from what you and I think about – the politics, the budget, the impending solar storm, the end of the world in December or, whether Einstein wrote love letters to his cousin or got married to her. In a country where girls are killed for even marrying in the same village, inter-caste marriages are frowned upon; who wants to know about old love or new, for that matter?
Life in the villages was basic, is basic and will remain basic as how far the Rupee can be stretched. Their main worry in life is in getting a permit – a neela card (blue card) and not the next platinum credit card.