Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I'm sure when people think of India, they think of the Taj Mahal, the crowded cities with their teeming millions, the sacred cows! This is only a tiny part of India. The India we see in the rural countryside is the real thing! 80% of the land here is under cultivation--in the USA, that number is 15%! In the early morning on the way to the villages, the mist rises over the half grown rice paddies that are like a lush blanket of brilliant green. The sun burns through as thousands of field workers walk to their labor carrying their tiffins (stacked stainless steele lunch containers filled with food). At mid day, dragon flies dart over the landscape, and birds call from the trees and bushes along the road. The large canal that is the lifeblood of this part of Andhra Pradesh, is deep, wide and swiflty flowing. All along it's banks, women in colorful saris beat their clothes clean on the rocks, while bright Kingfishers with red bills and irridescent turquoise backs fish in the water. At sunset, the red sun sinks into the horizen, reflecting pink, purple and orange in the water of the rice paddies, as farmers herd their flocks of goats and water buffalo home. In the evening, dim lights illuminate the small huts and homes of the villages. Tired people sit on the ground in their little yards and share their supper in the gathering dark. On the way home from the first meeting, the new moon and Venus hung bright and close in the black sky, and the stars shine without the competition of city lights. Each night, the moonshine gets brighter, making the palm trees form shadows on the land. Fireflies twinkle in the ditches by the side of the road. This is the India tourists never see, that we have been privileged to experience!