Post for …..JO’S MONDAY WALK

30 odd kilometers from the commercial core of Gurgaon, Haryana, India, is the village belt pickled with fast disappearing farms. The lure of lucre or easy money tempted landowners, their sons and grandsons, to sell their land to builders and real estate developers, thereby hastening urbanization of the green belt or the lifeline of Gurgaon and neighboring cities. The result…a never ending vista of high rises and commercial complexes and a rapidly depleting green cover and water bodies labelling the Cybercity Gurgaon, once itself a ‘Gaon’ (village) in its ancient avatar, as the ‘most polluted city’ in the world.

A few held on to the legacy and with new landowners or landed gentry take care of their farms or retreats from city life. A friend bought a few acres, 15 years ago when there were still farms around, and as she says ’I came here everyday (still does) to supervise the sowing and tilling, meeting neighbours and watch them smoke hookahs while their women tended to the kitchen and families…a simple life. Now luxury vehicles have replaced bullock carts, while mud huts and ‘Chai’ bulldozed for air-conditioned bungalows and evenings at pubs and shopping malls. There is money to splurge, to compete with city kids.

img_4935Parveen turned her acreage(s) into a solar-powered haven shielded from petrol fumes and dust with profusion of trees, fruits trees, vegetable patches and flowers, an effervescent green-ness. The spacious cottage with minimal furniture in keeping with rustic lifestyle, is stocked with modern amenities fridge, cooking gas, air coolers, 24/7 electricity. Appropriately named ‘Kalki Mystic Farm’ this is an ideal location to spend a blissful week or weekend.

We exhausted an invigorating weekend at the farm, walking the mud and grass paths under shade of trees, relaxing on charpoys (bamboo bed with rope netting), roasting sweet potatoes on wood fire and waking up to chirping birds, cackling geese and frisky sun-rays….purgatives that we badly needed. The distant burst of firecrackers adding to city pollution failed to dim the twinkling stars in our patch of clear night sky.

Two days of nature pampering and we turn our car towards the highway of noise and pollution….to the world’s most polluted city….Gurgaon