It has been almost a week since I started living in Chandpur Khurd and for me it was a journey towards self-realization. I think it would be pretty unfair to judge it in terms of good or bad because it’s a realization of self. Though I cannot deny that there were moments when I had very strong feeling of dislike about someone or something but as soon as I lowered my expectation and took a moment to think and reflect I overcame that feeling and learned from it. Also if one can defer his judgment in the initial stages of this type of immersion it will help him a great deal. Aim should be to observe and not judge in the initial stages. Being an observer is a great fun in itself and I am learning to be an observer more and more with passing days.
Initial days are tough, no doubt about it. For me they were tougher as I realized for the first time that I am not very comfortable with unknowns. Nothing had changed in me it was just that I reflected about this for the very first time. There is a sudden urge to make people known, to open up with them and to open up them as well. There is a strong desire to hold a very personal conversation with people. In short there is an internal urge to connect. This all is for a selfish reason, to feel comfortable, to feel that you are not alone. It’s very difficult when you think that why I am taking this pain. One will definitely think that I can stay with my family and friends back at my place and be happy, what is the need to do all this exercise of adjusting in a community which has very little idea of why you are there and what they get out of your stay. There is a desperate desire to become an insider from an outsider. There is an urge to run away to your known ones.
To explain my point I will share the experience. There was a marriage in the family with whom I am staying right now, not exactly in the same family but in a very close relative’s family. I had spent one full day in the village and had to come back to Noida for a night to see-off a friend. The guy, Rahul, with whom I had spent maximum time in the village, had gone to his sister’s place in Bharatpur and I was not sure that he would reach before me or not. I didn’t want to go back to the village in his absence but the commitment to the head of the family where marriage was organized made it necessary for me to go as I thought not going will kill a chance to connect with the people. I reached in the evening and Rahul or any of his brothers who knew me a bit were not visible. Some relatives were sitting in the open space in front of the house and I reached there. They had all came from different locations and watched me skeptically. It was difficult as they were simply gazing me and not asking anything. Then without knowing they want to know about me or not I initiated the conversation and told them why I want to stay in the village. (To the readers who don’t know our pitch about why we want to stay in the village, we told them that staying in village will help us gain practical knowledge about village and life in village which will help us in our further studies as we won’t simply rely on bookish knowledge but see and experience things ourselves). Their reactions were confusing and they didn’t show much interest and I didn’t bother explaining much to them as well. Then i went to the marriage venue and met the head of the family whom I had promised to attend the wedding. He was genuinely happy and explained me the schedule of the ceremony and since he was busy I didn’t bother him much and stood aside. Soon I was accompanied by Sachin, a young boy in 11th standard, whom I had played cricket with in the first day, and he was asked to be with me throughout the ceremony. Reception started and so did the DJ. Till this point most of the people were drunk to a high level and few normal people were busy in controlling situation. Things started getting bad. People started having quarrel over small matters and there was tumult every now and then. Situation was fragile and the matter was ego and pride every time. I was not feeling comfortable and started disliking the situation and practice of drinking in marriages. Even the DJ was playing songs only which were related to drinking. I started judging. Sachin asked me what I want to do next. With an urge to go away from that situation I asked him if we can go to the house and sleep. He agreed and we went to the house. As soon as we reached there I saw people shouting at each other and quarreling. Everyone was drunk and was not in senses. I thought it’s not appropriate to be there at that time when the family members are fighting especially when most of them don’t know me. And also there could be chances when they can misbehave with me as well so to avoid trouble I decided to go back to wedding place and stay awake. I was not comfortable and reflections started pouring in like why people drink so much which can create trouble. What’s the point of drinking when you are not in your senses especially when you had come to enjoy the wedding? There was a strong feeling of dislike and the desire to run away was building up. I was tired but had to be awake. There was no place where I could go and relax and the tumult was going on every now and then. I was fed up. Even sachin was sleepy but can’t go and sleep because of me. Then after lot of similar incidents I decided to go and sleep and see what happens. I will handle if some issue happens and we went back to the house and slept. Again there was issue of bed. There were more people and less bed due to arrival of guests and I felt very bad as the family had to take extra trouble for accommodating me and I didn’t know why they will do it for me. I thought I shouldn’t have come and why am I doing all this. Perhaps it was a very wrong choice of village.
Next day also it was the same situation. My known ones were busy doing work and the other were drunk and speaking non sense. I thought this will happen every day and I was in a very wrong place. I was feeling alone and like an outsider. I couldn’t tolerate it any longer.
Then in the evening I went to play cricket with children and some boys of my age and that is the only part of day I enjoyed. The pleasure of knowing some people comforted me. When I returned most of the guests were gone and the drunkards had slept or came back to senses. My known people were back and then it was all good. While interacting with them someone asked me that did you enjoyed the wedding? With no intention to hurt by saying a truth I said yes I liked it a lot but if people won’t have got drunk it could have been better. On listening to my answer one of the person said that it’s their way of enjoying and they will never trouble you. They are good from heart. They will only fight with the people they know as they may hold some grudges with them. Since they don’t know you they cannot have any ill intention for you. I went into my reflection mode and I thought he was right. It was just that I was feeling alone and discomfort able that I started judging. If I would have simply observed and enjoyed with a little humor it could have been a different story. What fun it could have been watching people dancing on the floor, enjoying delicious meals and listening to their drunken stories and even if they fight it had nothing to do with me. The normal people were there to handle the situation.
Next Couple of days when my known ones where there with me I enjoyed lot of caring and bonding. I stopped judging and started observing. And suddenly the village started looking a right choice. What else do I expect from the family which had allowed me to stay with them without knowing me and also make food for me and make sure I eat properly and sleep properly? People are supposed to treat you well that’s it. Any other expectation is a wrong expectation leading to discomfort. Meanwhile I had become a permanent member of the cricket playing group and I enjoy that thoroughly. With days passing by I am trying to lead with example and also trying to my accommodation for comfortable stay by arranging for light and cooler.
Point I am making is that there is a tipping point from where you can start enjoying and actually immerse. That tipping point comes when you observe and not judge