Monday, December 22, 2014

iDemythify | And Humanity Redeems Itself [3/3]

This post is the finale on my 3 part solo travel experience in Madhya Pradesh...and continues from here

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One more friend… and then some more
Because I had my stay in Khajuraho already pre-planned ahead of my arrival at Hotel Surya, I’d also kept them in the loop on my change in travel plans. I’d requested for a pickup from the railway station. So en route from Orchha I seemed to have another rickshaw driver watching out for me while I was still a couple of hours away from reaching Khajuraho calling me to check-in on where I’d reached.
It’s a different feeling when you arrive at an unknown place and have someone waiting to receive you. Especially if it's a railway station. I was beginning to get used to this. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when he offered to be my tour guide around Khajuraho as well.

Under his 'guide-ance' Khajuraho was experienced.
Watching the sun set at the Eastern Group of temples in Khajuraho
Artwork, Khajuraho
How they'd weathered time is still a mystery
Perfecting it even at the base
Komorebi - A Japanese word for sunlight passing through a tree
Elephant figurines at Khajuraho
Erotic figurines constituting no more than 1/10th of the total stonework are found only at the conjunction between the hall of sanctum and the hall of divinity  

...Reaching Pranpur
My final destination in Bundelkhand was Pranpur/Chanderi. I stayed at the Amraee Rural Resort – a guesthouse that is run under the Ministry of Tourism as a part of the UNDP’s Endogenous Tourism Project to showcase Indian villages as tourism destinations.

Just as I'd found a friend in Asha for my homestay in Orchha, I had Gouthami from Travel Another India to suggest just the kind of itinerary I'd need to put together while in Pranpur. Thanks to her I barely had to request the property manager at Amraee for anything - he already knew because he'd been briefed.

Doodle on the wall in my room at Amraee Rural Resort
Koshal Mahal, Chanderi (3 kms from Pranpur)
Jama Masjid, Chanderi
Jama Masjid, Chanderi
Dusk, Chanderi Fort
The last click at Chanderi
And departing from Pranpur
While I was the only ‘guest’ at the property at that time I did have the property manager and support staff as company during my day and a half at Pranpur. Which isn’t a long duration of time – hence what transpired the morning of my departure left me thinking…

I was going to take the state transport bus to Lalitpur Railway station from where I’d take my train back to Mumbai. So during breakfast at the guesthouse when the cook enquired with me what I’d do for lunch, I replied that I’d grab a bite either at the station or have something in the train. For anyone who has travelled by train you’d agree that there’s hardly ever a dearth of food supply there!
To this the cook said, “Oh! You needn’t have to do that. I’ve prepared some lunch for you that I’ll pack so you can eat that on the go”.

I was humbled by his gesture. Strictly speaking, what I’d paid for had covered my expenses until breakfast alone. I felt extremely grateful and placed my packaged lunch in my sling bag.

At Lalitpur station, the trend of trains running behind schedule continued and my train was expected to running about 90 minutes late. It’s a completely separate matter that I reached the station 2 hours before the expected time of arrival. It was evident that I had a lot of time to kill which I seem to have evenly distributed between fidgeting on my mobile phone and keeping my senses open to any rail related announcements. It was rather amusing to find cattle parade the railway platform with a certain air of brazenness.

But something else also drew my attention away from my phone. A very old lady with wrinkled skin lugging a sack over her back which was already bent with age stood right in front of me, begging for money.
"Please give me a rupee” she said in Hindi.
In spite of her frailty I couldn’t get myself to take out that one rupee coin. And so I ignored her.

She sat next to me and began to rummage through her sack – I know not for what. Some moments later, she repeated her request for ‘one rupee’. I continued to ignore her. Then a third time she said again, "Please give me a rupee. I need food."

Food.

The word lingered in my head for a bit. I had food in my bag. I took that out immediately and handed my lunch packet over to her. She looked at it and pointed to the silver-foil package in askance - "What's in that?" I told her it contained potato vegetable and some rotis. She seemed pleased.

She looked away for a moment and then looking back at me with a smile she asked, “What will you eat then?”
I was left speechless.
I didn’t know what to say.
Her gesture was far more kinder and nobler than my act. I merely smiled back at her.
For a very long time after I was simply staring at the floor. The gravity of what I’d just experienced would take a while to sink it.

That's why this was the same question I started Part 1 of the iDemythify with..

And not just this one incident. It was the string of experiences starting from -
Jhansi to Orccha
Orchha to Khajuraho
Khajuraho to Lalitpur
– that had begun to put my faith back into humanity, one little bit at a time.


Why try to change the world when there’s still enough that can change you from being that sceptic?, I've heard myself ask repeatedly since that day.

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Have you been touched by kindness? Or a random gesture? By someone unknown? By someone you thought couldn't reach out to you?
Please do share your experiences in comments below :)

Happy Travels...

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If you've liked this three-part series on my experiences in Madhya Pradesh, you might also like these:
Awestruck in Orccha
Taken For A Ride At Khajuraho
Charmed in Chanderi
Girl Unescorted

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2 comments:

  1. Touched my heart - truly rural India is an emotional experience - you have captured it well.

    Gouthami

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming especially from you this means a lot, Gouthami :) Pranpur will always have a special place in my heart (& travel diary) :)

      Delete

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