Thursday, 27 February 2014

Dalar: A Lesson in Life

Within the remote and serene confines of Binsar wildlife sanctuary, lies a small hub of activity. Children don’t shriek about here, they call out softly, “Jai” as you nod past them, with a smile. The women, not unlike other village folk, are busy with laundry and cooking, their bright woolen scarves trailing under those beautiful locks of hair; and the men, true to their quirks, sit around playing cards.

Dalar is a village comprising of ten families in all, and is, surprisingly, quite self-sufficient. Walking down two kilometers from the road, one often meets the residents, lugging firewood, herding ponies or just walking back from town. The ones who have just returned from the main town markets have a spring in their walk, and all await the luxuries of city life!

And yet, Dalar has a sense of satisfaction, within it. The primary school here has 10 children and 2 teachers. Praful is a jolly fellow while the other man is the epitome of the quintessential “master-ji”. My home for two nights here is the Dalar village home-stay that comes under Mary Budden estate.

While the Mary Budden estate charms one with its remoteness and sophisticated simplicity, the Dalar house has character, all its own. A two-story house made of stone and mud walls, passion fruit vines entwine the log-fence in the balcony and patio.

The rooms are a delightful blend of village rusticity and urban comforts. Huge armchairs, soft cushions and a decorated fireplace near the study table compliment the floor bed. The smell of mud and crackling firewood accompany one while sipping tea, plucking oranges from the garden or indulging in some local spinach or “lai”.

Ganesh-ji who runs the place has a family of five and two very well-behaved dogs- Laddoo and Robert. It’s such a wonder to see people who are happy living life, without ambition stemming from jealousy or the need to win.

The silvery moonlight bathing the porch, the silence and humming wind, the dogs and cattle, and bright colours is all that these people wish for and enjoy. No one wants a car, or air-conditioning or overly material pleasures. All they want is to live, learn and leave in peace.

Perhaps, the forest teaches one more than endurance. Perhaps, the forest instills in you the need to be just. Perhaps, the forest absorbs you and tells you, this is enough. Perhaps, more of us from the crazy urbanity should come here and learn the most important lesson of life- satisfaction.

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