I have always been impressed by the simplicity of the villagers. I recently had the opportunity to visit a village on the outskirts of Dhaka and the experience was the same. We were on a boat with our team on a team building exercise. The organisers informed us that there was a village on our route along the shores of the river and if we were interested we could stop by.
This was a village of potters. We stopped by and some of us ventured into the village. As we landed, we were welcomed by a group of old villagers sitting on the bank. They were clothed in simple muslin and were just relaxing on the shores. They welcomed us with warm smiles and made us feel special even as we landed. Then we went to the first hutment. They were a group of artisans who were making a idol for worship for a religious festival in the ensuing months. They not explained how they go about it but also were willing to share their idols for photographs.
Then we met a group of goldsmiths. They were hand crafting silver and gold jewels. They were happy to share their products and explain the process to us. There was absolutely no attempt to hard sell anything to us. They did not take undue advantage of a group of tourists to sell their produce taking advantage of our visit. They were not at all disappointed when we did not end up buying anything from them.
The third hutment was a potter making pots for making yoghurt. He explained how it was made and then fired in the kiln. He further explained how it is marketed in the city. He also did not try to sell his pots to us but was more keen to explain the process of pot making. This is unlike the city folk, who do not lose an opportunity to sell their produce even when we do not need them.
The last hutment was that of a lady potter who was actually making pots from mud through a manual process(as in the photo above). When asked if a motorised process would have been more helpful and productive to her, she replied that she could not afford it and she was happy to do it the manual way. She happily displayed how effortlessly she converted raw wet mud into a beautiful pot . She then explained how it is dried and then heated in a kiln before is it cooled in sand and then goes for sale.
The best part of the trip was when this lady had kept some mango fruit dried up in a open mud plate. When some of us enquired as to what was this used for ? , she explained the process of making dried mango papad. She further added that it was taken by the villagers as a side dish and also helped in neutralising the summer heat. She requested us to wait and offered us a sample of this tasty mango papad. She did not accept any money from us as she said that it was just a small sample for us to taste it.
Such is the simplicity displayed by the villagers. I am not sure if we get corrupted by materialism in life. As we live in cities with all comforts of life, we forget the basic human values of life. We are not interested in welcoming our guests. We are not keen to share our knowledge or skills. We guard our physical territories as if someone is always looking to invade us and attack us. We are commercial in all our dealings and look for economic again in all human transactions.
It is time to wake up and go back to our roots.
It is time to learn “simplicity” from our village folks ?
S Ramesh Shankar