Being a city dweller and coming from a place where anything I need is at a call, click of a button or Mum away, Kuveshi took my traditional beliefs on a roller coaster ride and restructured them for good.
Kuveshi is a small village, 12km from Castle rock, hemmed in by an enormous rainforest. It comprises of 29 families/29 houses spread over a small area not too far from each other.
Farming is their major occupation and they witness heavy rainfall during monsoon. Every family has their own livestock and two men volunteer every day and graze their livestock twice a day. Every household has a dog primarily to chase monkeys. However, they ensure the dog sleeps in the house at night and thus protect it from becoming a prey to the Leopard that frequents the village. One of the villagers nonchalantly told us that from time to time Leopard picks up their cattle, but they learnt to live with it. The sense of community is very strong and evident in the village.
They have two primary schools for their children-old houses turned into educational institutes-to choose from. There are two teachers, one teacher per school, coming from a close by village. There are six and twelve students respectively, studying from 1st to 5th grade. What’s interesting is all the six/twelve students sit in the same classroom with four rows of benches; however, the teacher customize their syllabus for everyone. I was glad to know that women also complete their primary education, so they can read and write. They also have a strong hold in the family life. I guess we could say this village is 100% literate. After primary school completion, children go to castle rock (12 km away) for their secondary education.
The school in castle rock has about 60 children and has a hostel which is run by the people from nearby villages. One family every month takes turn and volunteers to tend to the children at the hostel and facilitate their education.
There is no means of transport and the villagers travel 12km by foot to reach the only shop to buy any commodity. Introducing horses here would not be a bad idea, methinks.
Although electricity was discovered in 1740s and first introduced in India in 1899, my jaw dropped when I found out that, at the distance of 115 years this little village still survives without electricity. Only in the recent past a private wildlife research organization introduced the children to solar lanterns. I wonder how the children in the big cities playing Temple run and Pokemon all day, all night on their private devices would react to this.
These solar lanterns also helped the villagers in preventing snake bites and other such accidents while stepping out in the night.
TVs run on Batteries for one hour daily. Although most of the important civilization left the village untouched, cricket mania somehow made it in. When there is a live match on TV, the village gathers at one place with all the batteries available and watches it together. I shudder to think of the aftermath when India loses. This proves that India is truly a cricket crazy nation.
What really stirred my soul was how happy the villagers seemed despite their modest living. Of course they have their predicaments. But what is commendable about Kuveshi is that they are self-sufficient, something most people living closer to civilization forgot centuries ago.
The villagers never complained about not having good roads, fast-moving vehicles or power for that matter. Ignorance is truly bliss, I realized.
When Anant, our cook, told me stories about the village and their lifestyle, it dawned on me that we spend most of our valuable time on things that actually have no impact and very little relevance in living a good life. And most of the troubles we fret about are self-inflicted. For example: using cars for the smallest distance and whine about traffic, sky rocketing fuel and commodity price and low salaries. We cut trees to build metros and expand roads to accommodate rising vehicle population and worry about pollution and hair fall. A visionary once said there is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed and this village will demonstrate it very well.
I spent one night under starry sky while the glow worms played hide and seek in the paddy fields and calls of toads and crickets provided background music. It will take me months of meditation to experience the kind of peace I experienced here.
Although I spent very little time in this village I came out feeling very inspired. This village is the very epitome of the adage-If we fasten our attention on what we have, rather than on what we lack, a very little wealth is sufficient.
And this is a story of so many villages in India. Villages like Kuveshi have a lot to offer to the world and there is so much each one of us can learn. From time to time spending quite time in villages while learning about simple living and their ways has certainly enriched my mind and soothed my soul to a great extent.