A wayfarer scouting for Arcadian tales: this is what Odysseys is about. Odyssey: a journey that changes life; a journey full of quest; a journey inward as much as it is outward.
I am not the regular tourist. I suppose I am not a traveler either. It is the call of the soils that I listen to and have been listening to since I was a child. Primarily a nature lover, all my moves in this life have been steered by this unquenchable thirst to drink in the rusticity of the countryside.
Deserted dusty roads of the autumn; the same turning to muddy grooves with deeper chuckholes during the monsoons; wicked chameleons changing colours and then in a blink of an eye disappearing into dense woods; tamed elephants passing by without a sound and with perfect tranquility, while the herds of untamed ones appearing in the middle of the night, intensifying the silence; breathless rustling of leaves in windy evenings in acknowledgement of the wildness of nature; faint commotions drifting from a neighbouring village in an otherwise quiet ambiance; giggling girls on the riverbanks, whistling boys on their cycles, sweating farmers and their caring wives; and most of all the villagers’ remarkable rationality, despite the visible naivety of thoughts and actions, untainted by modern homogeneous knowledge: the remote countryside is another world, from another era.
It is not the omnipresent alienation of a post-modern life which shoves me towards an escape to this another world; another era; neither is it the zeal of an adventurer, nor the curiosity of a zetetic. Being a bird of passage, constantly seeking change and growth, I scour the countryside often, in search of the wealth beyond the visible backwardness of the places; in the culture, history and the daily life of the people.
Having wandered only in India, I start this section with tales from India. Hopefully in some time, I’ll have tales to tell from other parts of the world as well.
Wonders never cease and so do the tales of backwoods in this world…
Photo credits: Bhaskar Adhikary