It was all unplanned and I mean really unplanned. Things moved so fast. Since Pankaj made a plan for us to come to Bombay and then go towards the interiors of Maharashtra we backtracked our trip.
Bhim decided to come to Hyderabad first, spend some time and we would take a train to Bombay together.
Then another plan was made, to go to my partner Srini’s village and this was something that was in the anvil for some time.
We had been going to the village quite often since last year. An escape from the chaos and humdrum of the city and also to calm down the chaos that was inside us.
After being in the hospitality business for almost 11 years we had enough. People, cities,places,noises and so called friends and social niceties. We were done literally with the society around us and the village was our second home now.
So when Bhim dropped in from Bangalore on a bright Saturday morning we decided to head off to the village.
After packing whatever we could pack in our car for the next 3 days we headed off to the heartland of Telangana.
And this is where it amazes me, no matter whichever part of India one goes to, even fifty kilometres away from the city you will see how different and diverse the towns are.
Right from the dialect to the geography to the people to the food. This kind of diversity I bet you can never get in any other country in the world.
Telangana is a semi arid region being on the Deccan plateau and when one gets away from the sprawling city of Hyderabad you know where the heart of the state is.
The dry arid region has its own beauty as we drove in the hot summer and our smiles got bigger as we left the urbanised city and saw bullock carts,tractors,sugar factories and lots and lots of centuries old Banyan trees enveloping the roads and I truly hoped they wouldn’t be destroyed in the name of ‘development and infrastructure’ by the current governance in the state.
Srini comes from a long line, generations of Reddys, Patels or Patelas as they called them heading their village, constituency and regardless of the party or the power that came in, it was their family the people looked upto.
His family especially his father looked for the betterment of the village more than using their power over them. And this was really fascinating to understand, to know the dynamics of the people and the community there. Times were changing, people in the village had cars, bullet motor vehicles,money but certain things remained the same, the reverence,in house system and the hierarchy.
It took me some time to understand how it works at grass roots level. It also told me how far away from reality the urbanites and the so called liberals and intellectuals were.
After 3 hours of highways, tolls, narrow roads we finally reached his village. From the hustle bustle there was an instant calm as we drove into his ancestral house. Coconut trees, birds and the sound of cows and bulls from next door neighbours.
It was almost 6 pm on a bright evening, as we chucked our luggage and sat in the open verandah. I could see Bhim’s eyes softening and there was calmness, total calmness in all of us.
Srini showed Bhim the century old house as I waded to my favourite place in the house- the kitchen! It was a delight for me to cook here every time.
The old kitchen with the skylight and the old stone grinder was an absolute wonder in today’s times. I imagined how busy it must have been when the joint family system was running those days.
It was dusk with only the crows making its evening routine and the village went silent. Srini being the guy he is took out chilled beers and we sat in the open courtyard looking up at the full moon sky peeking from the coconut trees. It was perfect, just perfect.
Over songs of Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and S D Burman, we chatted for hours as Srini gave a gist of the history of the village, his father, the family to Bhim and of course entertaining us galore with his way of connecting dots from politics to psychotic ex girlfriends to our girl Bella( our Saint Bernard (fur baby) entering politics! 😁
Time stood still as we laughed our guts out, and it seemed like the Full Moon was watching us in its splendour and saying, Am still here and I will be here for sometime.
It was pretty late at night by village standards and Srini slept off while Bhim and I took out a Durrie, placed it on the courtyard and lied down looking up at the open sky.
It was beautiful with only the rays of the moon lighting up the whole village. No lights were required. We spoke, laughed over the most inane things about life and people.
And this is the thing I realise more and more about relationships and friendships, if there is no laughter there is nothing else. One must find humour and laughter every single day otherwise it really makes no sense to life.
It was around 2.30 am and if not for the mosquitoes creeping in at that time, we could have slept in the courtyard. But before that I proved how stupid I could be by slapping my face so hard trying to squat a mosquito!
Maybe it was the beer for it surely helped numb the pain for the time being while Bhim laughed and rolled knowing how hard I slapped my own face. The effect of that would be felt tomorrow morning for sure 😁
Finally we retired for the ‘morning’ having no idea how crazy the following day would get.