Monday, 29 June 2009

Break from the City

Our bodies and souls have been craving fresh air, trees that are not surrounded by concrete and wide, open spaces. So on Sunday we made an impromptu decision and went to an organic farm an hour from Bangalore called Navadarshanam (nope, we can’t pronounce it either) which is home to seven families living communally and run on Gandhian principles.

I don’t think we’d appreciated how much Maya needed a rural injection just as much as us. Alright, so Godmanchester is not exactly rural, but fields and meadows were never far from us where we previously lived. In Bangalore, all the orchards and open spaces are long ploughed up to build on every last metre of space and the closest thing you get to a field is a small patch of waste land, lorded over by lots of cows munching away at rotting fruit and vegetables. So yes, we all needed this. When we were being given a tour of the farm our guide, one of the community residents was almost apologetic, saying that there wasn’t really anything to see or do there. Perhaps he thought Maya would be bored. On the contrary, she was calmer and more at peace with herself than I’ve seen in a while. During the hours we were there, her endless tormenting of her little sister completely ceased, she chased dozens of butterflies, stroked the delicate ‘touch-me-not’ leaves which close up when you run your finger down the middle of them, shared gooseberries with some of the resident children, happily asserted her independence from us whilst we browsed in the library and chatted to others whilst she played outside and, most surprising of all, gobbled up every last scrap of the lunch we were given. The reason for my surprise is because this was proper South Indian fare, bursting with delicate flavours, coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds. It wasn’t spicey though and this obviously won her over. Deepa, delicious though her food is, insists on pouring in half a ton of salt and chilli powder into her cooking and Maya ain’t having any of it.

Sadly, I left my camera behind so the photo above of Maya in contemplative mood wasn’t taken at the farm but a couple of weeks ago when we went to Deepa’s temple with her. I really would have liked to have taken a snap of her at the farm because, as much as Maya enjoyed romping through the fields, she looked priceless – a proper little city chick. She was wearing pink peppa pig sunglasses, a white bandana which was tied a-la-Maya, making her look like a cross between Bjorn Borg and the mad professor, combat trousers and a pink spotty hand bag which carried her plastic mobile phone. If she owned high heels, I have no doubt at all she would have donned these too.

The irony is not lost on us that whilst Andy and I are both undoubtedly country bumpkins at heart, Andy is just embarking on his career in urban water supply. But hey, the way we see it is that we’ll make the most of all that city life has to offer during the next years and then when we’ve had our fill of it, retire to a peaceful field somewhere and live in a cob house and have chickens. Oh yay. And then Maya can go and collect the eggs each morning in her high heels with her array of sparkly pink bags. After all, country folk are pretty much expected to be a bit on the eccentric side, aren’t they.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fab. Just shows you, everyone needs a break from routine sometimes, and we can be very different people then.