A week in the wild…

“We sit in the fields and hush each other…. the birds have begun their song.

And we Listen….not one can be seen, only heard and its so uplifting and joyous.

So should one be in his lifetime, not seen, but heard and heard beautifully….”

 April 2013, I decided to embark on a heavy duty, spine bending, sustenance challenging trip into the Indian countryside. It wasn’t going to be easy for an adult like me who is used to country living, so what about a 4 year old spirited child who has never lived beyond the luxury of an air conditioned home or a 5 star suite and has only travelled in a cushy car or airplane!

In a burst of utopia, I charged ahead, booked our train, and began planning the rest of our itenary in earnest. I wanted my daughter to experience life on the other side. I wanted to peel away layers of damage bought about by a modern pampered lifestyle.When we were kids, my grandparents would take my sister and me on a rickety bus that would most definately break down a million times before it delivered us to our remote destinations. We would then spend months wandering the villages, exploring hills and jungles, making friends with the tribals and towards the end of our holiday, fantasize about instant noodles and clean bathrooms. Now, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and see the same wild through the eyes of my child. More than anything else, i wanted to discover her, and her….. me.

The train journey was a breeze. Sachi was thrilled about the ‘beds’ in the train bogeys. For most of the 14 hour journey, we played games,made friends who we shared food with, climbed from berth to berth, stepped down at every little station that came our way, fell asleep and awoke refreshed. This seemed good so far.

countryside  firefly in a glass jar

After the train ride, we got into a rickety rickshaw and travelled over bumps, and badly kept mud roads until i began to feel like my bones were going to collapse into a heap at my feet. We were knowingly, intentionally walking into the wild, a place where the air was crystal clear, heady with the scent of Moringa and wild flowers, pregnant with bird song. A place with no telecom towers, no internet, no whats-app or social media. A place with no soft beds, no ceiling fans and oil lanterns. I found myself biting my nails in anxiety. Had i done the right thing? Sachi seemed happy and bouncy but was I really ready for this? Cursing my bad judgement, i began wondering how i was going to spend a week in the middle of nowhere with a 4 year old but what came was a sweet surprise….

Over the week that followed, we stayed in an old mud house, in the company of bats, bugs and spiders as big as my palm. We roamed the fields like gypsies during the day, helped the farmhands in harvesting fruit, cooked on a wood stove and ate a simple fare of organic Daal and home grown rice out of dented Aluminium plates. We went for long walks into the woods, meditated under the open skies, learnt to listen and enjoy the call of the different birds, collected fireflies in glass jars, slept under starry skies and traced constellations with our finger. It is essential to mention we lived without any beauty regimes, no shampoo, good quality soap, mirrors, yet felt beautiful and complete and holistic within!

Being in natural surroundings gave us this sense of contentment and joy that only something as profound as nature could give. It is so important to be one with nature to be able to be One with oneself! We bathed at a well, drank the ORMUS rich waters, smelt strange flowers and teased the Mimosa’s. Sachi not once complained about the extreme change in lifestyle. She seemed like she was born for the wild. Is there anything a mother cant do when her child is an angel in disguise?!

By the end of our time there, we were genuinely sad to leave. We had glimpsed the preciousness of existence. No matter how many spunky lovers you have had, how much you earn and what you do for a living, all that really matters is how you live. I have always said such things, but now for the first time, i truly believe it deep in my bones.

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