Their Life, Our Lesson
Picture this: The river taking its time to glide and flow through the rocks. The Sun matching its reflection with the water, and the mountains acting as a calm background.
No really, picture this -
At Talli Pali, a village in Uttarakhand, a 5-mile-drive and a short hike away from this snapshot of the view, it is everyday life.
Step by step, on approaching the village, its clear view matches the clear picture it shows: of a world that is in sync with everything in and around it.
One could enter for the first time in this village but as you walk past every door, the distance between stranger and friend begins to blur. And that’s how the people of Pali welcome any interaction with people.
When someone from the outside world come to visit the village, all the doors of all the houses in the village are kept wide open. So much so, that they stay stubborn enough to not shut them till the said guests leave.
Open doors, filled stomachs, light conversations and lighter goodbyes: this is for the newcomers. For everyone who has been living there, knowing each other and being there for each other is more of a willing action than a kind gesture. In here, people are a part of the family. But that’s not where the family ends. Their livelihood begins where their family extends.
Here, what’s grown becomes their everyday meal, and what’s nurtured shapes into the beauty of the place. Part cultivated and part naturally grown, the plants, crops and trees of this village are accepted in every form.
While some of what’s grown is used for consumption, the rest becomes a means to earn for the future. What’s more than interesting, is to see nothing go to waste. Even the outer layer of dals is used as food for the cattle. Enter animals in the picture, and soon it is clear, that here, everything is connected.
“If we kill, we will be punished,” Kamla Devi notes, giving her bit on how the law of nature works. She shares that animals, wild or domestic, are not harmed for the sake of harming. While the wild ones like leopards, wild boars and hundreds of monkeys, are mostly shooed away, the domestic ones like dogs and goats, act as watch guards that protect the village. In return, the villagers eat less and share more because these animals are treated not just as mere animals but as loyal guardians.
From birds’ nests inside houses because it is auspicious, to borrowing wood only from dead trees, from sharing food and water, to making the most of everything and everyone within the limited resources available, this place is a living example of how we can all live.
And this Earth Day, here’s our lesson (or two) on peaceful coexistence, from the People of Uttarakhand:
You can either take a trip down these roads, and into the lap of peace -
Or, you can start small, right where you are. Be it the remote hills of Uttarakhand or the concrete jungle of your city, doing your bit is what matters. So, go ahead. Talk to that colleague you think you know. Make a friend out of that cat or dog you just walked by. Breathe in the fragrance of that flower which went unnoticed. Let everything around you, in. But most of all, let outsiders remain just that, outsiders. For example, discard that plastic cup lying on your desk. Don’t print that holiday list on paper. Plug off your already fully charged laptop.
Do your bit. Let go of the unnecessary and let in the natural. Ready?