When I got married to my husband I knew I was in for a different experience. I wasn’t expecting good, bad, better or worse just different. I strongly believe that people all over the world are the same despite race, culture, language and geographical differences. My faith led me to believe I would be fine in my adopted family in spite of different traditions, food, culture and people.
I knew we were different people due to differences in our upbringing, the cities we were raised in, experiences we had amassed along our individual journeys. Six years after we got married decided to experience the life my mother in law had adopted. A life in a village in the southern region of the state called Odisha, formerly known as Orissa.
It’s been an enriching experience. Orissa happens to be a farmer friendly well organized state with little corruption at the grass root level. That translates into flourishing farm lands, rich farmers with assets beyond our city folk imagination. Life is pure manual labor from the minute you wake up, which is generally very early to the minute you sleep. This is interspersed with village gossip and politics. Something we city folk would miserably fail at as we have no talent in those departments.
On the face of it, everyone is nice, caring, hardworking, independent and proficient in the art of family drama. No one would miss a beat to participate in village gossip, politics, land deals and pettiness. But such is life in a small place, where people don’t lock their doors and food could be served from any kitchen. There is a certain openness in this place, where love and affection is abundant. However when it comes to land and money, things can change any moment. Family feuds can start at any time, sisters can disown brothers, marriage arrangements can be broken all over a land deal gone bad.
In such a volatile environment, I find myself a stranger and yet well accepted. I know I walk a very thin line, between being likable to becoming a threat. Nothing is subtle here and it amazes me that a lot of city folk think, the villagers are simple people. The ironies are interesting and I look forward to many more experiences.