Photographic Stories, Punjab
Comments 66

One time at a rural school in India

It was a time of purity. I wasn’t affected by socially suited media still. I loved being away and explored possibilities, more than even my liking to reading. I had only recently started thinking about teaching as i had left my job as a researcher then, at a publishing house and of course without any extensive hope, I wanted to travel.

Good friends are the keys to the future doors. Juin called me one day at her office, and introduced me to her lady boss, in another publishing house. I went prepared and had an absolutely beautiful experience meeting her. She shared her travel stories and laughed well at mine. I could feel she loved hearing few things about what i had planned and while doing so she put forth an idea that she had been thinking. Her organisation had been providing free education and meals to primary school children in some north Indian states and had no documentation of it. She wanted someone to travel to these remote villages and document children studying in their schools.

I found this very promising and exciting. Yet as days moved towards commitment and planning of it, i started understanding the task was huge.

In Punjab, On initial days i decided to use the local transport, i.e travelling in a bus to the villages where my first school was. But once there all my excitement evaporated and i started finding my work harder, and even found myself puzzled at a few situations; as schools were in the villages, there was hardly any transport and i found myself walking for kilometres or probably had to take a bullock cart once. Organisation had not provided me with accommodation; i had to find my bed. And that bed came kilometres away in the cities as small cheap hotels. And to even start from hotel to school in the morning and back was even more disheartening as firstly it was far, the room stank, and for first two days i found that i cannot reach on my desired time like this. This was really helpless. And after some self-contemplation i decided to go back home to Delhi. I will get my bike and come back again.

I was happy, and even though i could not do any work, i was hopeful for i have found a way back. On the road to home bus stopped at a station. I felt hungry and got down to have something to eat, buy water bottle, when i realised on coming back that the bus has gone. Like, my bus left for ever, and from my hands; My camera, Organisation’s handycam, my every other little investment, rucksack was gone for ever. I sank. Huffing, anxious I started asking around about the bus, number etcetera when a rickshaw puller came and asked me for 200 rupees, imagine 10 dollars ten years back; on the seventh second of my decision making he held my hand and told me to sit right away and rode faster than any man-handled rickshaw pulling i had sat on to some speed, hr turn he took, narrow lanes arching past old world order colonial faded color buildings, taking probably the ablest possible cuts in the world as if that rucksack was more his than mine. I reached that point before the bus even arrived. And within seconds the bus was seen arriving. And you might understand that sweat, respite that i should not ever start describing in words.

Home was here.

In a week, i was ready with my bike to leave and it came out to be such an important decision for my life, as from here i would not only go back to these villages documenting children but find strength and confidence to take motorcycle journeys all across India, on it for moths, for years to come and ongoing.

And this time when i reached the same village in Punjab on my bike, teachers of the school were so shocked or filled with happiness or guilt may be, observing my conduct or resolve that they spoke to someone in the village for me and made sure that i stay in the village, with the family at their place for as long as i want. Imagine having milk and village food, with company of elders and children playing in the field.

Lets see some images from this old journey to school.

This entry was posted in: Photographic Stories, Punjab

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Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

66 Comments

  1. To say that I love this post is an understatement. My longstanding admiration and respect for the way you have chosen to live your life were never greater until now because of the full details of your journey which unfolded in your unique, inspired way of writing. The world desperately needs special people like you, Narayan. I also think, after reading your post that you can use social media, Instagram the way David Attenborough is using – to promote your ideas and inspire those who could, converted from the self-indulgent way, change the world for the better, for the generations coming after us. Perhaps, even save it.

    Joanna

    Liked by 5 people

    • You keep rekindling like your own light, raising me, improving me with each word Joanna, for this i feel indebted, not in terms that i have anything to give you but indebted to the one divine for making this flow happen.
      You know even this unconscious of mentioning Attenborough but for many years, i have been trying to read, whenever i get in the mood to read books like he speaks. Its way far off, but it comes out as fun picking his speech wavelength; but you are right nothing can be bad only if the energies can be transferred to a non-indulgent way.

      Love
      Narayan

      Like

  2. wow.. interesting and hard at the same time. Glad that you choose to do travel and social work at the same time. feel jealous of your life.. ahaha.. Have a good day ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Lovely to have you and your words here. Half melody is as much a sweet melody 🙂
      Just that once you start becoming me, you won’t be even half jealous, and when you carry such a meaningful name Poshan.

      Thanks
      Narayan

      Liked by 2 people

    • ❤ Kirana. Thanks, yes just apart from those few minutes when i had lost everything. That was not adventure. ha ha. It was frightful 🙂 hope you are doing things happily as much healthily Kirana.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm…yes…I suppose an adventure does not necessarily need to have an element of fright or danger….it can simply be out of the ordinary and still make a good story to share. Hope it never happens to you again!
        I am happy and healthy, thank you. You stay safe too!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Radhika, passion is there yes i feel it and probably detachment to an extent does help in working better. Probably like all of us, this things, words are connected too.

      Thanks Radhika

      Narayan

      Like

    • Lovely to have you here dear Kritika, so right actually, even to be a teacher. Probably underrated but i don’t there is any other second things than be associated with children in forms that include giving.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautiful words Narayan, the pictures filled me with love. If i was half the person you are, i would be happy and content. Peace and love to you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a journey, capturing pure souls, absence of literally everything did not deter you. Im sure your bike and lenses have more stories to tell..if they could whisper…how the kids giggled away when you went back..the supersonic Rickshaw and his tales…above all your lenses which captured everything…every unspoken detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richa, it was my first big assignment, i was much delighted and excited. Though only in time i learnt about all these things but yes, even getting into a newer walls in a small village still excites me.
      I will try to share, yes bike has some lovely, memorable tales of falling many a times from and Camera, i cant even imagine. Sometimes i feel it would have been better to have only written.

      And Your words are as much delight to me Richa, always. ❤ to you

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Narayan, you are such an inspiration, for all how you do handle things in life with such an admirable positive attitude towards life and your surroundings, including your great eye that captures these children so naturally. Thank you for sharing your story. Have a blessed and inspirational week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • aaa.. so lovely to hear you, i wish i could write your name and not marsupial but as you said its funny and so you are, but may be happier than funnier 🙂

      Thank you, yes i am in love with how my country India, and south Asia over all which once was one region together, works. I am in an ongoing, investigating mode of her secrets and ways we all are here living. It is electrifying to tell you, how it is and if i only start introducing to you to it, probably that was why i could not burst but wisely started letting out here 🙂

      Lovely to have you, welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Narayan, this is a spellbinding post. The personal account is riveting. Gorgeoru photos! I never saw more beautiful children! They seem healthy and happy! ❤

    What do you see in your future after the pandemic is over? It will be difficult to top what you have already done, but I am sure you will find a way! 🙂 All the best! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

    • ha ha Cheryl thank you so much. Yes they were happy.

      hmm.. well i have imagined all possibilities and came down to two. My country is so huge, noisy brimming with children that i am happy teaching/travelling, speaking and writing. Though next year i was thinking of taking up studies again but this is a period of transition, of change, and i/we have to flow. Hoping that you’ll be knowing it about all 🙂

      Love
      Narayan

      Like

    • Dear Akshita, very happy to have you here. And ofcourse it is inspiring to know though friends and people along of the works one does.

      Your wishes are graciously accepted.
      Narayan

      Like

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