Bajju, Rajasthan. 9 pm
In Bajju, every morning I wake up for chai and smile at strangers, who break their 'Being strangers' tag with that beautiful smile. In a similar way, there is a 'Good-morning' which breaks the unwanted ice, in the rural area across India .
People living in Indian cities don't know this concept of wishing strangers, early morning. Coming from an urban Indian background, I also thought that this is a very western concept. I realised its importance when I spent days travelling with my foreigner friends. It would just be a smile, an acknowledgement to a complete stranger. But my recent shift to rural India made me realise that it is much more common here to smile here than anywhere else.
I don't talk to people about this topic here in this remote village in Rajasthan, so I thought I should share this on my blog and put it in the open. Why are we not proud of our culture which is about 5,000 years? This is getting lost in the Indian cities!
I guess the increased crime-rate in the cities has stopped making people smile at strangers, but has the crime actually increased? I doubt!
I know I can't smile at a stranger woman for safety reasons, but I can and I should at least at a 'stranger' man, making him more comfortable. At the worst, he will just think that I am mad, but who cares. Smiling doesn't cost anything. Literally nothing!
So, when I wake up in the morning tomorrow with pure breeze around and go for chai, I would fold my hands and in the Namaste gesture, I would shout out, 'Ram ram'! I am dead sure that I will get a loud and clear reply. I would be lost in my thoughts about how much the cities have to learn from their rural counterparts. And suddenly, a happy voice would break my thought process,
"Ram ram Sa!"