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I remember, last time when I went to Khirkiya, my grand father’s place, a small village in Madhya Pradesh near to Itarsi, I was very much influenced by the life of the people there.
They use to wake up early in the morning, and start their daily activities even before the sun rises. Women would go to that river near by to fetch water, would get the fresh milk from the cattle, and their aroma in the early morning create positive vibes in the homes.
Kids would wake up early, and would give a helping hand to their mother and father in the early morning activities, before going to school. Men would only open their shop after doing morning prayers.
People there use to be so naive and led very simple life. Their life was confided in that village only, but they use to live like it was a complete world to them. They had all the things needed for a happy life, which was a 'good and positive attitude'.
They use to live like a family, and shared good and bad times amongst themselves, where at the time of marriage in somebody’s place, whole village would celebrate, and not a single home would lit a lamp at the time of death.
I remember, once there I had an opportunity to have a ride in a bullock cart to a farm situated in the adjoining area of the village.
Riding in a bullock cart was in itself an awesome experience, and especially because it was a first timer. The continuous tinkling of the bells moving with the bullocks, the irregular slapping of hunter, the aroma of the market, temples, farm, cattle, fields, and the people passing by along with the tip top tow sound of bullocks made the journey unforgettable.
As we reached the village, I found many men and women working, with baskets on their back or a cutting knife and a dagger in their hand working in the field. There was a well there, which they used for irrigation purposes.One farmer came to me and having confirmed that I was no harm, showed me what all he was growing, then we discussed about his routine, and how his work changes with the seasons. He described all the things very excitingly, but slowly his reactions changed, because he had a shortage of water and electricity, and only due to which he was expecting a major loss this time.
But he also informed me about one thing, that there was a society called ‘Happy Farming’, which was going to give them a generator on loan, with manageable terms, and an additional facility of water for their farms; that time I could see a ray of hope in his eyes, a hope for his motherland, for his village, for his family.
After two days, some agents visited the village to meet the farmers there, and gave them the assurance of getting the generators and the extra facility of pipeline installed.
It was the first open interaction of the village people with the outside world, with the people who came in never seen before cars, wearing some strange outfits.
I didn’t get the opportunity to see that happiness when the generators installed there, I suppose it was the beginning of the modernization of that village.
Ten years have passed since I last visited here, and this time with the eagerness to see the village I closed my eyes and was lost in the scent of the fields coming from the window seat of the train. I was lost in the running sound of the train and the flowing scent of the fields.
I found the railway station clean and big with digital displays of train’s information, and was happy to see that village had really developed in those ten years. There were various shops in the area adjoining to station selling different types of items that a traveler could require, and then to my utter amazement there was also a three storey hotel outside just outside the station. There were internet cafes, small restaurants, shopping complex and almost everything that one could expect to buy from money. That night I had a sound sleep in my grand father’s place, with a thought to wake up early to go to that same farm, where I visited last time.
There was some thing changed in the mornings there, not much people were around except some old ladies cleaning the courtyard of their homes. At first I didn’t notice a change, and proceeded to catch a bullock cart, but I forgot that the time had changed, and now there was an auto only. Bullock carts were there but only for transferring bigger things to farms or near by areas.
I reached that farm in not more than 5 min. I found no body there except a barren piece of land and was a bit confused and shocked on seeing that, I wondered here and there, and then saw at some distance an old man sitting facing his land. I went to him, and found that he was the same man whom I met ten years earlier, but I soon realized that he didn’t seem to remember me. I asked him about this land, and he told me that there was no body to look after it, and that his sons work as a waiter in the hotel near to railway station. He explained, “My grand children spend their time watching T.V and playing, so there is no body left to look over the land. My children want to leave the village, to earn more and more money, and so they are working in that hotel for the search of an opportunity. I have everything here, electricity, water but nobody to look after it; I don’t know what to do”
I after sympathizing with him, told auto driver to leave, and started walking back to village. I then realized the whole condition of what had happened in those ten years. People came here and modernized the village, gave village various mundane things, but didn’t tell them how to use them. The people here got lost in that illusion and nobody realized what had happened with them, and now there was no turning back.
I then understood why all the markets were closed in that early time in the morning, and why there were only old ladies busy in there morning activities. If this continued, then a day is not far enough when this village would be covered with greed, allusion, fame and pretension every where. There would be malls coming in these barren lands in the coming future, and if that happened with every village then at first the city which the people here were following would be vanished first, and then the village itself. People need to realize that modernization is just a change which would come with time, and which is good of course but people also need to understand the effects of the modernization in their changing life style.
I got up when the train suddenly stopped at the Khirkiya railway station, and on seeing people here and there realized the end of my dream. I was moving slowly and observing the things around, and then wished ‘Please God, don’t make my dream come true”