Home Sweet Home

“A child on a farm looks up at the sky at the passing airplane and dreams of far away places. The man on the airplane looks down at the farm and dreams of home.”

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After working in the field with the ladies, we headed back to one of their house’s for tea. The house was absolutely perfect. Downstairs was for the cows, including a week old baby cow who was one of the cutest animals I have ever encountered. Then upstairs consisted of one room with a bed and some cushions on the floor to hang out on. There was no clutter, in fact, besides a few blankets, there was nothing. Up from there (after the most amazing tree stairs I have ever seen) was the kitchen. Outside the second story there was a balcony where some food was kept, and some clothes were hanging to dry. The house was small and cozy, and unlike most houses in the west, this house had character. It truly felt like a home.

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The house was made of very thick wood in order to keep the heat in during the winter. The ceilings were very low, so low in fact that I bumped my head for my very first time on one (at 5ft2, unless I am with hobbits, chances are most people around are taller than me). The doors were very short as well, which served the dual purpose of keeping the warm air in during the winter, but more importantly, of making you bow as you enter the house since a picture of one of their gods is always hung above the entrance. The roof was made of heavy stones that were placed like tiles. This is a very traditional house for the area, and it was great getting to spend some time in it!

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Our lovely hosts!

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I spent the following night with another local family, the family who runs my guest house. I was able to learn a lot from them since a few of them spoke English, so I was finally able to ask questions and learn more about their lives. Mostly though, I spent the day and evening with the three year old boy who quickly became my best friend. There are eleven people who live in that house in a very typical arrangement. There are the great-grand parents, the grand-parents, then two of their boys, their wives, and their children. The two wives are only twenty-one and twenty-two, and were each married at seventeen (their husbands are young too, only a year or two older). This is typical for India, to be married between seventeen and twenty, though there are now people who marry later than before as well. Though the previous generations had huge families (they wanted boys, so if they kept having girls, they would just keep having more children) but now it is common to only have a few children. The cozy house was definitely bustling with all the people, especially the two young boys, and it was a great family environment. Families here truly grow up together, the two cousins are growing up as brothers, with three different generations to raise them. It was a very large contrast to our small nuclear families in the west.

It was also interesting to find out how things are changing. The local dialect, which is normally used in every situation except at school, is slowly dying out. The current (young) generation is growing up speaking Hindi to each other instead of their dialect which will eventually lead to its disappearance. As I mentioned before, families are becoming much smaller, which means there is more food to go around and more chance for the children to attend school. Everyone also seems to have a cell phone now (though fortunately they aren’t always on them like in North America), even in the small villages where you wouldn’t expect it. There are many traditions which are continuing though as well. The women still wear traditional clothing (though the men now sport jeans, sports shoes, and brand name t-shirts), most families still eat with their hands, and the women still cook the bread over a real fire. Everyone still has cows, and the houses still have cushions, never couches, to relax on. It’s the little details like this, the things that are different than what I grew up with, which make traveling so much fun.

One thought on “Home Sweet Home

  1. hi shirin ,

    it was a pleasure to meet u on our way from hampta pass..ur travel story so far and way ahead is inspiring and i wish u the best of luck..the moment i saw u i could see the joy of living in the moment exuding from ur face

    ther mite b hiccups and we will pray for u but some voice within me assures me that u would live not only the next 3 years of cycling but even beyond joyfully like a free bird..my best wishes..tc

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