Arbina shies away

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.

 

Read here and here

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Taken on August 1, 2006