Sun dried to rain drenched..

..best describes my trip to Rajasthan. I reached the obscure village of Mundwa on a bright and sunny day. I feared the relentless sun would melt me away. Images of the Wicked Witch of the West melting away came to my mind. Except that she melted away when Dorothy threw water on her and I was liable to melting away in the complete absence of water, all due to the beautiful, round, flaming ball of fire that dominates the weather in the Thar desert. The very next day it poured. Poured so much that the narrow kachha roads of the village turned into running streams of water, courtyards got water logged and people stared up at the skies in surprise. It isn’t supposed to rain so much, in such little time in the desert. The day was obviously an exception.

There is nothing that beats the sense of euphoria that envelops one and all when it rains in the desert state.  The sense of relief that the people experience is palpable. The rains have been much delayed this year and the people were uncertain if the rains would come at all. Many hadnt sowed their fields. There is no point of sowing seeds if you engage exclusively in rainfed agriculture. If the rain gives your village a skip, you not only miss  harvesting a crop that year, your labour, time and seeds also go waste.   But the blessed rain turned up this year and effectivley put everyone’s worries aside.   The combination of the general atmosphere of happiness  and the smell of the fresh rain  hitting the parched land makes a heady mix.  Rain has the ability to uplift anyone’s mood. I dont think anyones can escape it,least of all me! Of course, its a different matter that the sun zapps away all the happiness and excitmentent exactly 24 hours later when it reappears it all its fiery glory, evaporating even the slightest evidence of the rain.

The trip was a great learning experience professionally. So if I chose to not crib about the horrid travel to and from the place and the not-so-great living arrangements and the insanely oily and spicy food, I can call the trip perfect. Great people, lots of on-field learning, fairly compliant weather, a trip duration just right. What more can one ask for? A railway platform or  hiking gear. I am not kidding. That was the only thing missing in the trip. The Government of India has the money to extend the railway network to the smallest of places in the country. Unfortunately it doesnt have enough money to build railway platforms and bridges. Which basically means that when you alight at Mundwa you have to jump off the train , land on the tracks or rather the rought, sharp edged stones that are laid in between the tracks and find scrape way to the exit. Getting off the train is easier than getting on it. To board a train you need hiking gear. Nothing else will do. I am sure you will understand working against gravity is hard enough. When you are weighed down with a travel bag that contains goods worth a few kilos, it only gets harder. You would never realise how high a railway coach is unless you stand on the track, at ground zero, and look up. It is high enough to make you feel like a dwarf and make the whole boarding process a serious challenge.  And if you are standing on the tracks right under the blazing sun  waiting for the train, the approaching engine and the caterpillar like coaches trailing behind it are gauranteed to scare you spitless. Watching large, impressive feats of engineering moving at high speeds towards you is anything but fun. It looks like I might have to make a couple of visits to this place in the near future.  I fear for my safety.. and that of others. And for that reason alone I am starting a fund. One that will be handed over to the Government to help it build platforms all over the country, starting with Mundwa. Its either that or investing in a life insurance policy.  Readers are requested to donate generously. Donations exempted from tax under 80G.

012

Yes, flowers bloom in the desert too. The humble bougainvillea adds a splash of colour to the landscape.

lemons

Nimbus grow by the hundreds. People should use the harvest to set up a lemonade business I think!!

wood

The stump of a cut tree offers an interesting texture to those who take the time to stop and notice. Why the beautiful tree was cut in the first place, I know not.

doorway

The narrow enterance to an office. The laal pathar used  here is the choise of material for all construction in the area. The easily available stone is what makes kachha mud wall-thached roof type of houses very rare in the area.

037

Switches curently in fashion.

pond

A small artificial pond created to provide water to an adjoining small patch of agricultural land.On the left top corner of the pond is a bird. There were lots of pretty birds in the area but birds are so difficult to capture on camera.While they are camera shy in nature, I am verbally loud in expressing my excitement at spotting them and not soft enough in my approach towards them. A great combination to scare the poor things away.

pomogranate

Pomogranates-low water intensive and easy to grown. You might note,the land in Mundwa is absolutely flat. The texture of the soil is similar to that found in other parts of the state but there are no sand dunes anywhere. I like many others expected to see sand dunes all around. Sadly disappointed. 😦

the land & the sky

The lone tree, the dry earth and the cloud specked sky.

054

“Mhari photu kaade hai” said the oldest lady. For those who donot follow Marwari (I speak as if I do), I traslate “Our photo is being taken”

kair

Pretty pink flowers of the kair plant, the fruit of which is used to prepare the much famed kair-sangar sabzi.I love the sabzi and also the pickle made out of kair.Sluurp..

tree

A gorgeous tree,begging an artist to replicate it on paper.

pond

A shot of Lakholav pond, the largest of the four ponds situated in the four directions of the village. Dont miss the steps leading down to the pond, a very typical Rajasthani architecture. I found the greenest areas around the two  ponds. Most of the rest of the land carried a dehyderated, parched look.

tortoise tree

The day’s rain causes a temporary stream to develop. The kids frolick in the foreground of a tortoise shaped tree.

sunset

Resplendent colours paint the sky at sunset.

drenched

Raindrops cling to the leaves of a tree I cant identify.

098

A picture taken hastily from the train window on the homeward journey. Somewhere after Valsad.

32 thoughts on “Sun dried to rain drenched..

  1. saw only the pics! 🙂
    Lovely.. will come back and read in detail as well.
    okey!

    Lot of work to complete…
    finish up work first..

    But, glad to see a post from you Mandy! 🙂
    😀 😀 😀

  2. Dont even veer towards complaining…
    oh but i like complaining!;P

    your having a whale of a time… !!!!!! shucks… I could use such a trip….
    actually i worked like a dog.. just coz i dint write that, dint mean i had a min-vacation, u know!!

    talk of greedy people….

  3. look you brought rain with you =)
    yes i did!! thats what the villagers said too!!

    you are so lucky you get to travel for work!
    i love to travel.. i wud love it more if i cud do it with a few more luxuries tho!:P

    every time i ask to travel – there are no funds 😦
    tell boss to keep funds aside for u!!
    lovely pics!
    thanks!

  4. Did you go on work or pleasure? This looks like you had a wonderful time.
    work,work..all work..

    Btw I love the pics…especially the one of the tree 🙂
    thanks

    PS: When your building the platforms, can we also have a chai-pakorawala on each platform 😛
    i wud LOVE that!!!! no chai or pakora was in sight there…

  5. I’m spellbound by the pictures. Such variety in the desert state!

    Though I too expected to see sand dunes.
    just like me…

    You’ve painted a very beautiful picture of the place by your words.
    thanks you.

    And I bet the place lacks much more than a railway platform. Many places in India do.
    Yes, the platform was the least of their concern.. it only seemed to be my concern, honestly speaking!!!

    You anyway have enjoyed the trip, but I enjoyed it too by reading about it here. And seeing your post, sigh, is in itself a joy! 🙂
    oh wow…im touched… :O)

  6. aaah i love rajasthan and those are some gorgeous pics and u described it so beautifully too
    thanks Mon! u ever been there??to Raj. in general i mean..

  7. Beautiful post Mandira with pics to match 🙂 Wow…didnt know about the shortage of platforms! I can only imagine what you went through. Seriously how do you get on a train even with the hiking gear?
    dont ask man.. it really wasnt easy.. u need someone to drop u to the station.. u clamber up.. and then the person hands you ur bag.. not a feat to be managed single handedly..

    But the place looks beautiful! Is the last pic on ur return journey?
    yes it is.. was pouring when i got back home..

  8. Lovely pictures, Mandira, and very interesting narration of your trip, too!

    Particularly liked the pic of the huge tree with spread branches.
    hey manju..thanks a bunch..

  9. Wow mandy! U took rain with u there! Did they worship u n give u offerings??
    😀 😀
    no, they dint… but they said very nice things about my feet! something to the effect of my having shubh feet since they bring the rains along with them!

    Soooooooo true! Rain does uplift the mood!!! Tho I don’t like it in this city mandy…yucky mucky roads to wade thru….i’d enjoy it better in the woods!!!! Wowie!!!! 😀
    monsoon here is a battle.. never let anyone who romaticises the rain make you forget that…

    Aiyo!!! U jump of train onto tracks?? And then u climb back???? With baggage…
    Given my height….I wud need ppl to prop me up. Given my weight…no one will volunteer
    😛 😛
    boss, the height issues is applicable here too.. and the weight issues u just make up for the heck of it!! i know from the pics!!!! dnt lie!!!

    U started a fund???? This was more serious than I thought….i will err…..*looking at depleted wallet n sad bank acct statement* will get back to u mandy!
    *crafty hopes mandy forgets this fund soon concentrates on the astrology career instead*
    since no one besides u even mentioned the fund in their comments, i think i can safely say the project lies suspended…

    Bougainvillea!! Lovely! U know, I remember that song from movie “Sir” which has atul agnihotri smelling the bougainvillea n then giving it to pooja bhatt and she too smells this…and when I got my hands on a creeper full and tried….it had no smell! Bollywood….PAH!
    i was reading those lines(havent seen the movie) and thinking “but why is agnihotri smell a flower that has no fragrance??? ” lol.. this is wat bollywood does to gullible souls like u! lol

    WOW!!!! Nimboo!!!!! I LOVE lemons n I LOVE nimboo paani! Yup, given the heat there, they shud do a lemonade stand 😀 😀
    Arre…cut tree 😦 wail….
    nimbu pani rocks!!!add kala namak and it super rocks!!!!

    Lol!!! U scared away the birds by loud excited exclamations?? See mandy…lets hug okie? My sista!!! 😀
    *crafty n mandy do the sister-reunited hug again*
    u too??no, really??u tooooo????

    No sand dunes? I always imagined…and I think was conditioned by our films also, to think that every place in Rajasthan will have a few in the vicinity! Lovelt snap of those pomegranate flowers! They look so similar to closed hibiscus buds to me!! 😛
    yes, no sanddunes… not a single one..even i always thot every place in Raj had dunes… i was obviously wrong!

    Clouds n tree wala snap ME LOVED!!! Its really lovely! Mandy!!!
    me too!!

    Awww! All women posed! 😀 hmmm….how much marwadi did u learn? Say something else in it!
    haha…not too much.. cant learn a lot in 3 days na…picked up enuf to follow 13% of wat was being said.

    WOW!!!! Mandy!!!!! The pink flower snap!!!! Desktop Wallpaper Material!!
    I see its ur header too…it looks pwetty!
    thank you, kind lady…. i am honoured by ur kind words..

    That tree is just…well…majestic!! Sigh, mandy, I cringe at this city of ours really 😦

    Did u get to step down in water of the pond?? It looks damn inviting!
    nooooooooooo..it was dirtyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!! its used by humans and cattle alike, u see! 😛

    Tortoise shaped tree! Yeah! Ur right!! I wudn’t have thot of it like that! I wud have thot of just what picnic parcel to take n sit under that tree! 😛
    Ur sunset pics r always gorgeous mandy! Really!!
    i noticed the shape after someone pointed it out to me.. im not that bright either! 😛

    Me loved this picturesque tour of Rajasthan!!!
    HUGS!

  10. Lovely pictures and you know what…it reminded me of ‘Manorama 6 feet under’.
    manorama what??? please enlighten! i only know of manorama year book!

    • It’s a Hindi movie. 🙂
      oh like that aa.. u see i dont follow movies too much.. so i tend to be lost when ppl make references to them!

      The pictures reminded me so much of that.

  11. wow. awesome! I LOVE the pictures. you have a good camera too, it seems. and a little more will power than me, apparently. am failing miserably at the restricted blogging thing!

    thanks, MM.. the camera is a no frills point n shoot digi that my father bought a few months back.. the will power is a little difficult.. between this blog and the other, i still think im spending too much time in the blogosphere!! may be u shud do one long post a week instead of numerous smaller ones… wudnt that help in restricting time spent on blogging ? i think it wud..

  12. Hey girl !! Hows you?
    heeeey!! long time!! how have u been??

    Your post is fantastic and the pictures simply fabulous. Like MM said, you have a great camera. And the person behind the camera has a keen eye too 🙂
    now my camera is great. i thot my picture taking skills were great.. sigh. 😛

    Loved the description and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it 🙂 Keep writing girl 🙂

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  14. The lack of platforms is really sad, and I am sure the government can find the funds if they cut down a bit on their personal security.

    Loved the pictures, you literally brought Rajasthan alive for us… the bird I had not even noticed until I read the description… I agree they are constantly flitting and also camera shy… the ponds, the children in the stream, the red stone stairs… Thanks for sharing all these 🙂

  15. 🙂

    love love love the pictures and words going with em even more! Rajasthan has been on my to do list foreva! sigh!
    dont keep it on that list!! go make that visit,A!! SOON!

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