It might seem a bit cliche but time flies. It’s been already a year on the farm before I knew it and – I cannot agree more – that it is the most intense time so far I spent in India. Living here as a resident, as many of you might think, may bring a real rollercoaster to your life BUT living in the Indian village is a double dose of the same and that you know only living at least a day away from the crowded Indian megacities. Through ups and downs (mostly downs to be honest) I’ve seen a different, old-fashioned world that still exists in the XXI century. How lack of education creates “a bubble” people believe in and how difficult is to make them break narrow-mindedness, how difficult is to convince people that doing things the other way round is also good. That other habits, beliefs, and religions do not mean disrespect for their own routine. Through year-long misunderstandings, fights, tears I went through, I share some conclusions with you today – all of the below is based only on my personal experience.
Health is wealth
Never in my life had I so demanding physical adjustments. First months in the village spent on getting used to the completely different food habits, water, and air quality, food storage, and its conservation. Omnipresent flies contaminating food? Checked. Viral infections? Checked. Intestinal parasites? Checked. Insects bites? Checked. Athlete’s foot? Checked. So many things to watch out for, to remember, so little time to apply theory and turn it into daily habits.
Never in my life had I so many stomach issues. One by one, we all got stomach upset, fever, and muscle pains. And no, that’s not because of COVID. There’s something in the village air that tests your body and pushes its tolerance limits to a place you never imagined you might have. Sometimes I think it might be a kind of body detox from all the chemical food items we used to buy from stores. Or maybe reactions to pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides farmers use that contaminate water? Who will say? No one knows the answer till day.
Never in my life, I learned the importance of hydrating the body in the South Indian climate as well. After getting a 5-week long disease due to the less water intake, I would never recommend anyone to drink less than 2 liters per day. Being out of order cannot be an option in village life when you have so many things to do, and so many things depend on you. Usually, there’s no one there to take over your responsibilities as everyone here has their own roles. Being sick means you give double work = double trouble to someone who is already overloaded with his farm work. Take care of your health, nothing counts more in these corona times.
Education is important but farm life is importanter
That point might seem unbelievable but yes, in the villages – it’s very easy – and practical to skip kids’ school and education. Who else will do extra work if not your own kids? As per strict, traditional south Indian upbringing, they have to be obedient anyway and extra free hands to work is gold in the village work.
Remember, we are still in XXI century. This scenarios still exist in many, MANY Indian villages.
Thank God, we decided to homeschool our kids. After all, in corona times, when from March 2020 till Jan 2021 all the schools in Tamil Nadu are closed, this seems to be a good decision.
Stay independent, stay sane
In Poland, my native country, we used to say that family relations look good only in the picture. How true was this throughout the year! Would you believe, by sharing a village house, we created kind of a semi joint family with my husband’s brother’s family – and from that point, my Indian village life story turned into a real rollercoaster.
I guess I don’t need to add that living by a family who never went outside Tamil Nadu caused lots of misunderstandings. Cultural, linguistic, behavioral, social. I believe in each human sphere there was something that led to tension. Demanding to live the way we are not ready to fulfill, I wished for a day we don’t need to ask anymore anyone for anything to share. Sometimes life can be such a grind. How I wish many tensions would just melt away if sides were ready to talk, understand the differences, and compromise a bit.
Hard lesson learned.
Village law – dura lex, sed lex
Does anyone think village people lead 100% peaceful lives all the time? I guess not… If you have a village fight, there’s an unwritten law here that says many things may be solved by fists, forceful demands, dirty language, tricks and there’s nothing unusual those matters will never meet police doors. If so, no one will treat this seriously, oh, just a daily village fight. In such cases, I do miss any European country way of fair-solving problems.
Don’t fight with an idiot
The previous point leads actually to the last conclusion. You’ll never turn anyone into your side by words. If you disagree, showcase solutions and actions. That’s the best weapon. Village people quite often are not much educated so their way of fighting reminds a kindergarten fight about a doll that two kids want to play with at the same time.
One can think of living in the village, far away from crowded stressful city life, as a blessing and an ideal slow life concept. But before such a state of mind comes, filled with mindfulness, peace, and a relaxed attitude, lots of learning is yet to be done. This one year in the Indian village definitely pushed my personal limits. Starting from climate understanding, wildlife versus humans coexistence, village social norms to learning how to stay sane being away from crowds, from friendly like-minded people who support you whenever you have a bit of a dull moment. Life’s trials tested us badly here but I believe that also shaped us to be stronger and fight for our dreams. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, does it?
I hope this challenging beginning will create smooth path to the dreamed slow, less tresful life.
Yet home is where you are appreciated for being you, isn’t it?
I would love to hear your comments on this! Have you had any experience in village life? What do you think about it? Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious if you have/had any experience of yours? Any comments? – please share your experience. And if you liked the article – share it, click “Like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.