It is getting to the end of the monsoons here in Alwar, which means the temperature of the air is just right, the sky a bright shimmering pale blue with giant cumulus clouds floating about. There is a slight smell of wood-smoke in the air, a smell that will probably stick with me and remind me of my time here. Alwar distict is not distinctly Rajasthan. Its proximity to Delhi, Haryana,and Uttar Pradhesh has shaped a Mevati identity which seemsto have absorbed several regional identities into one. Probably a little more time here and I could possibly make sense of this identity but for now I'm here in the village of Chandolli taking notes in my note pad.
I am sitting under under a khejri tree (Prosopis Cineraria)- revered for its shade and fodder in this region. Perched on its branches, in the early afternoon one might see a common hoopie, or rather hear it. And beyond the shade of the khejari, over the dusty road, the thatched roofs of the village are visible under a cover of trees, surrounded by fields of bajra and scrub bush; on the horizon, in a blue shimmer of heat lies the Aravallis like improbable overgrown termite mounds.
Behind me I hear the sounds of school girls as they recite their 6
times multiplication table.
"Che gune ek che, che gune doh bara ......" and so on in a sing song
rhyme. The school building on first appearance may appear merely to be a modest one room yellow building but in the last four days I have found it to be the staging post for an amazing transformation where village girls are given the opportunity to do something more than their long list of daily chores.