Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chembai village and its lessons

Its been quite a while since I saw such a neat little village in India. I know that Palghat, a district in Kerala had about 64 villages and each of them had its own temple, pond or lake, and wells. I also remember someone telling me that these villages are kept very neat and clean. The picture that you see here is that of a village called Chembai.

This picture shows the houses on one row. The coconut trees act as the divider line. There is another row of houses on the other side. Just two rows of houses make the entire village. There are two temples in the village and one in an adjacent lane. The village residents make it a point to visit at least one of the temples before 7:00 A.M each day.

The day's routines - cleaning the house and back yard, daily prayers, washing clothes and vessels and breakfast are done in a regular pattern. Every house you see is kept so spic and span. In most of the houses we could see very old people, very happy with their own way of life, totally oblivious to mad rush of the rest of the world. These oldies believe in self-help, which according to an adage is " the best help ". The only dependency that they probably have is the dependency on Money which is understandable. Children, near and dear help them with the minimal money that they need for their living in the village.

People are very friendly with each other and try to help each other in need. They treat strangers with respect and care - could not help comparing with our lives in cities where we rarely are able to trust anyone. We were absolute strangers to the place and we were offered tea and a place to sit down while we waited for a distant relative, we would be meeting for the first time. I was super thrilled. I am not sure if I would have been very comfortable in trying to find an address of a person I have never ever met in a city; without a prior call or email to exchange each others' details.

From our two hour visit, I could see that these people are very good at networking, hospitality, and care so much for their pride and esteem more than money. Their confidence in dealing with life is much more than we all can comprehend.

As I walked back from the village to the road, still wondering about how clean the houses, wells, the street are kept, I could not help appreciating the friendly smiles of most old people on the way. They don't know us, and we probably wont get a chance to see them again, but each one of them smiled with such ease and grace that made me feel blessed. I didn't know what was missing in cities for a long time, until this visit to Chembai.

Now I know that what we are all missing in every day life is a lot - graceful smile, inner peace, acceptance, innocence, value for people, selfless friendship/hospitality, confidence that comes with just the idea of 'being' what we are and not 'having' what we are blessed to have, healthy pride, and the attitude of self-help, and zero dependency.

I am not presently trying to judge how much practical it is to get all these factors into our present day lives, but just thought stating these would help us to think better and be thankful for what we have and appreciate people and life better.

Life is too short to be spent brooding about what happened and worrying about what would happen. We just need to live for today. While we are here, we must be grateful for what we have and see if we can give some one's life a special touch, if we can make some one's day much better, and if we can simply see someone as a friend and if we can begin to accept life and people the way they are.

After thought: Accepting and 'Putting up' are two different things. Get it right. Some saying that I read says: Accept what you cannot change.' Putting up' is temporary, so it will not last long and you will have to say it out some day. You dont have to put up with things that dont work well for you for a long time.


Kite said...

Your post resonates my thoughts on 'simple living'...'meaningful life'.

Maya said...

Nice one Deepa. I liked your afterthought. It would be really good if we can adapt it in our lives

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