Goodness runs into deep pockets. Pockets of the heart and of the countryside where simple village folk go out of their way to make visitors happy and comfortable. Our annual vacation during the week from Christmas to New Year took us deep into the heart of Maharashtra, some 250 km from the maximum city, Mumbai. Surprisingly, we received more than maximum kindness in that remote village. There wasn’t any phone signal or internet connectivity but the connections with hearts- simply wonderful!
The villa that we were temporarily housed in is located in the arms of undulating lush green hills on one side and the endless blue on the other. Gentle waves from the Arabian Sea caress the silvery grey sands while whispering winds rustle the delicate, slender palm leaves. Their fan shape fascinate me when instead of dancing to the tunes of the wind the tendril like leaves shimmered and glistened. Vibrating tongs is what they resemble. Can such mildness in Nature leave the local residents unaffected? They came across as quite caring. So tranquil it was, that the chimes strung right outside each brick coloured villa could be heard stirring a melody at each persistent gust of wind. It was mesmeric as the chimes swayed in an organised fashion beginning from the first villa, slowly arriving at the last one. Triskaidekaphobia (there are 13 villas in all) couldn’t take away from this melodious synchronised orchestra.
Our holidays had turned into a more relaxing one than we had anticipated when we had left behind the haunting madness of a metro city. Strangely, we did not miss the sounds we are used to- the buzz of the notifications, the ringtones of our mobiles or even the business e-mails.
Close to the end of our vacation, on a Thursday, I had fasted. I choose to eat a single meal, the evening one on such a day, abstaining from food. As was usual the attendants of the resort enquired about our well-being and if we had had our breakfast. An image of concerned family members! They didn’t stop at that and seemed very anxious about our pet, Max, who had accompanied us. Perhaps unsure about whether we were treating him right, they would now and again enquire if we had fed him and taken him for his walks! Such demeanour made it advisable that I sounded them that I would be fasting. They had me off their plate but needed to cater to my son and husband. Not to over-work them, I thought it wise to request an early meal in the evening- by 8. Eager as ever to please they, agreed. And that was the unveiling of their world, an insight into their kindness. As on every evening of our stay there, after sundown, we would cocoon ourselves in the cosy villas with our UNO cards till dinner time. Bonding time for city dwellers! I think I missed mentioning that the idiot box was just that a sitting idiot giving us an opportunity to revert to pastimes of the pre-tech era.
That vacation Thursday, sharp at 8, urgent knocks at our door broke us away from our game of cards. It was the attendant, summoning us to dinner. He parted with a message, please do join us for we will serve all other guests only after we have served food to you. You see we are anxious that you have not eaten since the morning. We want you to initiate the process of dinner and break your fast. I didn’t know whether to feel happy or guilty. Had I held back some hungry stomachs? Was I the culprit who had kept delicious food away from eager palates? I chose not to go that way. I opted to enjoy the hospitality, kindness and thoughtfulness that had come my way. This little action had made me feel special and catapulted these simple folks on my pedestal of the humane. I learnt a lesson of sorts- to think beyond, to make someone feel important, unexpectedly. To me, whose name, BINDU means a tiny dot, a small point, it was an uplifting, awesome experience. Something stirred within me. Emotions that seem to have settled too deep to be awakened had been re-kindled. An incredible vacation, an even more overwhelming experience at the close of a year which had been a roller- coaster ride of sorts.