Friday, May 13, 2016

Exploring REAL India - An escape to Village Calm

Unplanned rapid development, traffic overload and high pollution are terms associated with Bangalore these days. I remember the good old days about a decade back, streets lined with trees, cool weather all year round and so much calm. 
I miss those days and when i was talking about old Bangalore charm, hubby suggested we go off on a vacation away from the hustle bustle of city life. We all need a break from the tensed and busy lives and vacations are the best way to unwind, relax and bust the stress. 

The burning question was where to go?  I dint want anything boring like the normal sight seeing so I chose to explore and reconnect with my roots, villages of lucknow. 

So it was decided, one week of exploring the essence of REAL India with just a camera , no laptops and limited smartphone connectivity. This was going to be an  exciting vacation because it would be our first one with our 3 year old. Yes three years since our last proper holiday together, this had to be exciting and fun.
We booked Spicejet Airlines tickets from Bangalore to Lucknow . On reaching Lucknow airport from Airlines we headed to the charbagh railway station to catch a train for Lakhimpur . We could reach Lakhimpur even by catching a bus from Aishbagh but our little one had never experience train travel and this was the best chance to introduce him to Indian railways. 

On reaching charbagh my battery was already drained, I brought some magazines and comics for my kid and we entered the local train and grabbed a window seat. A lot had changed in lucknow, the last time I had boarded a train from charbagh was like 8 years ago. The journey which was to last a good 5 hours stretched to a grinding 8 hours because well thats how trains in the north worked. some things had not changed after all. But it was  a fun  journey which my kid is sure to remember all his life.  Watching lush green fields pass by and train coming to halt at various small stations was an experience in itself . 
The day flew by and at Lakhimpur railway station my cousin was waiting to pick us up. We would be staying at his place for the day. Next day we borrowed his car and from there we were off to explore rugged villages of Uttar Pradesh and pay super short visits to our distant relatives who lived there. 

From Lakhimpur we headed to patrasi village where we have some relatives. On our way to patrasi we stopped at sharda nagar which is a hamlet of sorts in kheri tehsil. Sharda river flows through sharda nagar and the view from here is majestic and calming. This place isnt flocked by tourists because it is so deep into village area away from town or city dwellings. We also stopped at a sugar mill and our tiny tot was excited to see bullock carts and tractors loaded with sugar canes parked all around the place. We even pulled out some sugar canes and chewed on the fresh raw cane. After this we were very tired and decided to go straight to patrasi .

When we reached Patrasi it was around 6 PM and it was already very dark with just some street lights scattered here and there, patrasi village seemed to have already called it a night. The freshness in the air was refreshing and all my husband was worried about was finding a charging point :D . Our aunt in patrasi had already prepared a lavish meal which consisted of lauki ke kofte, shami kebab and roti and we ate like crazy because we had lunch early in the day and hadnt stopped at any hotel because we could not find any good one on our way.  Next our aunt laid our beds on a charpai and while my boy dozed off I sat down to chat with my cousins and aunt, we had so much catching up to do.

Next morning we woke up early, we wanted to explore the real village, the vast green fields. My aunt has some acres of fields in which they cultivate sugarcane and wheat, it was time to witness the lush green crops. The crops were at a short distance from my aunts place so she suggested we take the neighbors horse carriage to the fields. Ofcourse we could even take the car, but whats the fun in that? Taking the horse driven tonga was a different experience altogether. My little one was both scared of being driven by an animal and excited too, but soon his fear vanished he was seen excitedly talking with the tonga wallah, asking him ye kya hai, abhi kitni door and stuff!

In the sugarcane fields it was like a lavish resort view. Trees of poplur lined at the edges of fields while sugar canes covered vast acres. Wheat fields were stretches of brown with not a faint sign of green, this wheat was ready for harvest explained my uncle. The fields of sugar cane also had some Jamun trees and the tonga wallah climbed up the tree to pluck out some fresh jamuns for us. The jamuns were amazingly sweet and fresh. We also toured some neighboring fields of peppermint and corn and by noon the sun came out in full glory and we had to find a shady spot or get sun baked. We decided to go back home as I was already tired. 

At home we had a quick lunch and a relaxed afternoon nap after which we decided to explore the small lake near the village. At the lake we saw many children having bath, some carrying clay mud in buckets and some guys fishing. It was a very raw sight. My aunt explained the mud was making chulhas on which roti is grilled.  
We stayed in Patrasi for 3 more days, exploring their small little market where we get the most colourful bangles , visited neighbors who wanted all details about the big city Bangalore. Infact one neighbour was asking me about cricket match in bangalore cinnaswamy stadium.

After a week of serenity, bliss and village calm we headed back to catch a flight from lucknow to Bangalore. This vacation was super light on pocket and rich in memories. My tiny boy is already planning his next village vacation.


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