Touring the Indian countryside

Several months back I wrote about a road trip I took to the countryside, spending time in farms and talking with rural folk. The essay, “In random conversations with farmers”, received a lot of positive feedback for reasons that still elude me. However, since I went on a similar trip earlier this month, I thought it would be a pleasant idea to share my experiences once again.

To me, calling it the “Indian countryside” has often seemed redundant. Most of this country qualifies under that term. Urbanity is the minority here, so perhaps this essay should have been titled “A trip away from urbanity”. Nonetheless, I was out a little late in the morning, heading northwest. The roads were free from traffic, but the potholes made sure I had no other conveniences whatsoever. The occasional bus shuttling from village to village was all that I came across. These busses are often painted bright red, and are dear to the villagers — unless the driver happens to run over some cattle — to the point where they deck it with thousands of flower garlands covering the windshield.


This part of the district is yet to see any development. This has two consequences: the people are nicer, not nouveau-riche, and there are still dedicated farmers with beautiful farmlands. The problem, however, due to fragmentation over generations is that farms in India are now mostly minuscule by comparison to those in Europe or America. This, in turn, means lower likelihood of even partially good yield, which means most farmers end up earning extremely little over the year — something no government seems to understand or even talk about. Continue reading

Photo foray: One house with a lot to say

About a fifteen-minute drive from my house reside my relatives — distant relatives, but relatives nonetheless. And fine people too. Their residence is a sprawling, 78-year-old, single-storey house built in 1935 British India: a place oozing welcomeness and carrying an ambiance (of what appeared to me during the couple of hours I spent there) of serenity and distance, yet closeness, to the urbanity of Mysore city.

The living room has an architecturally simple but rich feel to it

The living room has an architecturally simple but rich feel to it

A stairway from an inner room

A stairway from an inner room

What is at the end of the stairway

What is at the end of the stairway

Photographs like this enrich blank walls throughout the house: a glimpse into history even as we stand inside history itself

Photographs like this enrich blank walls throughout the house: a glimpse into history even as we stand inside history itself

A classic Murphy radio that I just might fancy more than my Tune In account

A classic Murphy radio that I just might fancy more than my Tune In account

The feel

I admire and am excited by everything vintage — I’ll readily step into a time machine taking me back to Victorian England — and this little visit was no different. I am indeed very grateful to them for allowing me to invade their privacy and shoot their house more or less unrestricted.

The first thing I saw as I entered the house: a bookshelf by a window

The first thing I saw as I entered the house: a bookshelf by a window

The near-perfect bedroom: voluminous, high-roofed and warmly lit

The near-perfect bedroom: voluminous, high-roofed and warmly lit

A side-view of the old house, looking South

A side-view of the old house, looking South

The Madras Sanskrit Academy (c. 1940)

The Madras Sanskrit Academy (c. 1940)

Looking up, towards the roof

Looking up, towards the roof

The look

A fine lawn covers most of the grounds around the place in which potted plants abound and a scatter of trees rise from down south. With glass doors opening to a cozy portico and a smaller, wooden one serving as the main entrance, the place oozes old school sophistication from the moment you step in. Continue reading