Dramatic search for a rural home – Authored by Siddarth Agarwal ( fellow )


After roaming in 15 villages for approximately a month, I liked a village called Singhoni for my stay in one of remotest pockets of block Naujheel in Mathura district. We visited this village after Maduaka, an adjacent village. The geography of these 2 villages was very different from all other villages we had visited. The area was very remote and semi- arid with 100 % rain-fed farms. The water wasn’t much scarce but the high salinity made it useless for farming purposes.

That day, we first visited the Pradhan’s family of Maduaka. After explaining the purpose of our visit and later stay, the Pradhan seemed interested in offering an accommodation in his own house and showed us a room on terrace. He sounded excited as he showed me the toilet and said that the room would be cleaned for my stay. We didn’t promise that we would stay there as we wanted to see all available locations before finalizing one. So we left his house saying that we would inform him about our decision. Then after roaming in the village and interacting with few other people, we left for Singhoni. There, we met a person from Maduaka village saying that ex-Pradhan of his village would understand our purpose better as he had studied law. Due to lack of time, we moved forward in Singhoni only. There we met an influential person with a very good image in village. Meeting with his entire family left a lasting impression on me and their hospitality and simplicity made me convinced to stay in his house in village Singhoni. One of the major reasons of choosing Singhoni over Maduaka was that there was 24 hours electricity in Maduaka due to the presence of a electricity house there. And I didn’t want to spoil the experience of living in a typical Indian village due to this special feature of that village.
I went home next day to pack my stuff and was all ready to come back to village on 15th April. Now, a series of adventures started making next 3 days, full of hopes and disappointments. I called the man in village informing that I was leaving from Noida and would reach his place by evening. Then, he informs me that his son’s marriage has been fixed suddenly last day and the marriage is in a week. Though he didn’t refuse me to stay but it was obvious that he didn’t want me to come in a marriage house where dozens of relatives would stay for a week and then his new daughter-in-law would come. Neither the family nor I would be comfortable in that situation. So, I was on my way to the village with my luggage but didn’t know where would I stay the night. After spending that night in the company’s Guest house in Chhimparri, I went to meet the family next day and got clear vibes that I wasn’t welcomed there.
After that, I was blank as I wanted to shift in the village as soon as possible and there was no clear option left other than the Pradhan’s family in Maduaka village. So we went to meet him and asked if he would still allow me to stay in his house. After he said yes, I asked if I could shift that very day in evening. He didn’t have any problem in that. So I left his place to get my suitcase from Guest house. After an hour, I got a call from unknown number saying that I couldn’t stay in Pradhan’s house until I had valid id proof and DM’s permission. It was an unknown voice with rude tone. He sounded that I couldn’t stay there at all. It was the 2nd shock in 24 hours which put me on ground zero after the exhausting search of village accommodation for a month. I decided to visit his house again next day with id proofs. That unknown person was present there and introduced himself as the nephew of Pradhan. He took my Aadhar card photocopy and driving license and tried to check their validity online. He couldn’t find anything and showed unwillingness in letting me stay there. Pradhan’s son was sitting idle and didn’t make eye-contact with me. I felt humiliated now when I was being doubted in my own country for being a terrorist or Naxalite.
Before leaving his house there, I had made up my mind that I would stay in that very village and would show him the right intensions of my stay there. So the next stop was the ex-Pradhan of the same village with whom we couldn’t meet last time due to lack of time. After meeting him for approximately half an hour, we were offered accommodation and any kind of help in the village. So, the efforts of half an hour got me a place to stay for which I was wandering for last 1 month in burning heat. Without wasting much time, I shifted in his house next morning and hence I actually found a place in the same village where the current Pradhan doubted me of being a Terrorist or Naxalite. The coming time was going to be more exciting but at least the dramatic search for a village accommodation had ended then.

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