This one’s a different India

The idea for this blog sprang to my mind when I saw a very different setting in this very country, a couple of kilometres outside this “metro” Bangalore……on my way home to a small town near Mandya. And I have been thinking about it ever since! Which India is real, the India that I left behind, or the India that I came to live in????

When I boarded the bus, I had not the faintest idea that I was going to write a blog about what was awaiting me! So, on that fateful Saturday evening, I boarded the bus to Mandya. As the bus left the city (and the noise, pollution and chaos associated with Bangalore), the scenes around me started becoming more and more sparse. There was more land and less people visible. Green sprawling fields, small pumps spewing water for irrigation…………..and I was feasting my eyes over these heavenly scenes.

It started getting dark soon and I changed bus from Mandya. Upto Mandya, it was all ok (I was travelling in a deluxe bus anyway that does a good job of keeping you away from the very world it travels in). From Mandya, I took a routine Government bus to go to the small sleepy town of K. M. Doddi. The road between the two roads was the first thing that struck me! I have seen some pretty rough terrain in Bangalore itself, but this beat all that!!!!!!!! No wonder foreign tyre manufacturers run to India for tyre tests!

There were potholes deep enough to send me rocketing towards the roof at times and the people around me didn’t even seem to notice. My discomfort seemed out of place to them. Maybe they were all used to it, I wasn’t. And much to my dismay, the guy sitting next to me could speak English, somewhat. So, his interrogation session started! Where are you from? I said a non committal Bangalore. You don’t look Indian, I just flashed one of those “I’m not interested in talking any further with you” kind of smile (that weakly resemble a delta function in the parlance of Maths, existent only for a fraction of a second). But he was not to be discouraged. Why are you going to K. M. Doddi? I said, my father lives there. Oh! You stay in London (I have not yet understood what gave him an impression that I was from London, I wore a kurta)? I said no. It seems New York was the only other “phoren” place he knew about. So he asked, then you must be from New York. I told him no. So, he introduced himself, myself Satish. At this point, I had to tell him, Look, whoever you are, I want some time to myself, so please go talk to someone else!!!!!! He gave me a weak smile and changed his seat!

As the bus was travelling, I could see that it was pitch dark outside. An occasional flicker of light could be seen coming from some lantern hanging outside some house. Most of the time, it was a black nothingness seen from the window. All the time I was not saving my head from banging into the roof, I was trying to imagine an unlit place (with my stay in places like Delhi and Bangalore, it IS a rare sight)………and here it was, completely dark. A barking dog here and there, one or two people sitting on the roadside, talking…….and fields of sugarcane! This was all I could see……

And then, I reached K. M. Doddi. My parents came to pick me up so with a fast forward button, I was in present again. And I watched TV, and listened to some World Space Music! THIS was the world I could identify with more easily! It was almost a haunting thought to think back of times when I was travelling through pitch dark roads with not a soul around most of the time!

At night, when my Mom and I were chatting, she told me about how BACKWARD the place around is! It seems some girl had committed suicide as the people around termed her characterless and she won’t get married. All this because she used to talk to boys studying in her class of B.Sc. Maths (yes, this place does have a College with a strength of 8000 and 15 streams available, but boys and girls are not allowed to talk on campus premises). This forced me into thinking WHAT these people would think of me???? I go out with boys to eat out, watch movies, two-three days’ trekking trips!!!!!! Mom told me about how people actually stand in groups watching any girl who dares to wear a jeans! How they comment to the parents of “such” girls! It was nauseating after a certain point! I didn’t quite know what to think of allthis!

All that came to my mind was, is THIS the same India that I live in in Bangalore? Or it’s some other planet I’ve been transported to? In a way, I wanted to have nothing to do with this India, I was scared that THIS India shall shred me to pieces! Will think of me as nothing but a characterless nobody!!!!!

And today, I am back to this country of mine, with Internet, cell-phones, SMSes, “boys”……shall I call myself an escapist? I ran away from the India a big fraction of our population lives in!!!!!!! Which India is real? This one or the one I ran away from????



  1. June 27, 2006 at 2:03 am

    Quite interesting!

    India is quite a colourful country. No wonder tourists throng it.

    The suicide story of the girl is quite pathetic! But it’s just a matter of exposure. People there are not exposed about what the girls at more happening places are up to. If they did, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to realise how they are involuntarily stiffling the potentials of their daughters. Anyway, such problems tend to make us sentimental. They are problems about social structure, again requiring very fundamental transformations. Hence, they will take a long time to go; and yet, we will always be able to see their remnants here and there.

    I am trying to imagine that guy’s thought process when you shooed him off. Must he have felt humiliated? Or may be ‘honoured’ to be shouted at by a ‘memsaab’?! I wonder! May be he’d have gone back and bragged to his friends: ‘You know guys! I talked to a London wali today. And she gave me such a sweet smile! I think she liked me!’ 😉

  2. Pritesh said,

    June 28, 2006 at 2:49 am

    I guess the fundamental transformations in the Society is taking forever to seep into the deeper veins of this country. There’s such backwardness still prevalent in this country that it almost shocks me! And from the point of view of women’s conditions, it’s even worse……

    I hope whatever it is that needs to happen/to be done, happens/gets done soon!!! These women do need help……….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: