Another world, another view
By Suha Chari
Sustainable Scripps Ranch
Having grown up in India, and only getting to the U.S. in my twenties, I’ve always been keenly aware of the world of difference between the two countries, in the normal lives of the people. This, even though I grew up in cities where running water, fans and cooking gas, along with telephones – and later – even TV, were all taken for granted.
So, after settling in San Diego, I count myself among those who lead a fairly simple life, with not much consumption of water, energy, etc. My pride extends to the food I grow, the soil I nourish and the advocacy I try to promote, for a healthier and safer environment.
What a shock and a pleasure it has been to me then, to be (visiting) among the mountain peoples of Yelagiri (in India), who lead what most folks would call an impossible life! The two kids next door come over each morning to read, write and play with the little toys I’ve brought with me. They are grateful and appreciative of every little thing, and most of all, like all kids, for the undivided attention they receive.
Their mother works from the rooster’s crowing (before dawn) to after dark, washing clothes by hand, cooking on a wood stove, keeping the surroundings clean, and the children sometimes help out.
Then there are the goats that the grandmother takes to graze in surrounding fields, the cows to be milked and the chickens to feed.
The children tell me that their grandfather makes things out of the wood that he cuts from the forest.
The boy, Gokul, has chores of feeding the goats, while the girl, Krupa, sweeps the floors and lays down the mats for sleeping at night. They both also wash their own clothes.
Being from the city, this still seems like an idyllic life. It isn’t just that these folks take good care of Nature and are very much part of it, but Nature equally holds them in her lap. I myself feel well supported by all that surrounds me: not just the people, but all the wonderful bird song, the various flora and fauna, the endless green in every direction, and the mountains all around.
The only question now uppermost in my mind is, can we, modern city folk, ever approach this kind of living? Will there be enough of this untold wealth to nourish the children of tomorrow, and can we make that happen?