Wednesday, April 14, 2010

13. Village life

Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India

A lot of locals and expats ask me what I think of India. I usually give the same boring answer – nice, beautiful etc. I’ve been trying to come up with a more meaningful answer. I keep thinking to myself “it’s not as Indian as I expected”.

As I sat mulling this thought on Bruce’s balcony, I looked out and saw the following, all at once:

Bir - 08
Woman doing her washing outside and hanging it on a tree

Bir - 09
Cowpats drying in the sun (which they burn for warmth)

Bir - 10 
Barley being harvested by hand with a sickle.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been in Bir or Manali, and in both cases I’ve stayed in local houses in small villages, so I’ve witnessed local village life. And village life in India is probably the same as village life in any developing country – living hand to mouth off the land. It’s fair to say that I haven’t seen “the real India” yet.

Here’s another example of the laborious methods they use around here – these people sit by the side of the road breaking rocks all day, with nothing but a hammer. They break the rocks into smaller stones to make concrete. No crushers here.

Manali - 16 - Breaking rocks

Every day I see labour being used instead of machinery, especially on building sites – the chain of workers tossing bricks to each other along a line, instead of employing one man and a wheelbarrow. The reason – labour is cheap. Still, it’s an economic tragedy. People shouldn’t be employed doing stupid tasks like breaking rocks. If they had a crusher those people could instead be doing something more productive – like planting crops.

1 comment:

fahmi nazarie said...

Waw! U travel all aorund the world just by yourself? I like your spirit to know others people's life..