As an outsider, the first thing you notice in Sirohi is all the freely roaming cows and the infinite number of temples. It seems odd coming from Mumbai, but to the locals this is just how things are.
My first week here I noticed all the quaint little things that made this “small town India”. It made me pleased to be here and blissfully absent from the future. It’s now been four months since I started anew here. I’m not yet settled, but every day I spend is one day less living in the city where my heart is.
The story of how I found the place where I’m living now is a funny one. I had come out of a colony where I had gone house-hunting without finding anything. I was standing on the side of the highway waiting for a rickshaw, when a man on a scooter stopped next to me. He asked me if I wanted a lift and I said yes. On the way I told him I was looking for a place and he said he had one to show, so I agreed to go there with him. And next thing you know, I’m moving into this little one-room place on the terrace of an old house overlooking the ancient Sirohi Palace. One look at the view of the mountains had me.
The practice here though is to ask you your caste before you get anything. That’s something that comes with the package and I can’t help. Maybe some day things will change, I don’t know.
My first week I was also introduced in School. Azim Premji School, Mandwa. My workplace, and almost feels like a second home. It’s been a whirlwind so far, with the kids being totally chaotic and me trying to teach in that storm. Slowly I’m learning though, and I know the tides will turn.
Here’s another funny story from “small town India”. A few days ago, I was home sick and lying in bed facing away from the door which was open. Without me knowing a monkey entered the house, climbed atop the fridge and grabbed a packet of Parle-G. I turned around and saw this thief with the loot in hand and started shouting at him. He was too quick and ran off and jumped over the roof to another house where he opened up his booty with utmost ease and began enjoying, without sharing with his friends. Intelligent monkey!
So that’s how it is, I’m taking it a day at a time and I’m trying to learn as I go. My fate is not known, and that’s a good thing.