There have been these moments in life where I have tingled with anticipation – moments where I wanted to live few minutes ahead of me, simply because I wanted to know so much. Coming to Devpur to start our first stint as volunteers was one such day. Here we were, on a journey deemed unconventional by everyone, taking the first plunge.
We had a lot of visions about the journey – minimalistic lifestyle, slow travel, getting involved with locals and a general sense of belongingness with the place we are travelling. But as we drew closer to the village, what triumphed was a sense of curiosity about what would be our home for weeks to come.
Devpur Homestay and The White Eagles School are located inside the Darbargarh (Village fort) and are run by the princely family of Devpur. Our first day here went in basking at the quaintness of the place and exploring the village. The ancientness of haveli – a semi ruined exterior kept this way to retain the charm – was the biggest draw.
I have relocated to new cities all my adult life – for education and jobs. The settling down process is both exciting and lonely. I had come to accept the fact that no one will give me a second glance in the multi-story building of Mumbai or Bangalore while I move my luggage in or inquire about the nearest grocery store.
At those moments, I used to flashback to my childhood when the new occupants of nearby house wouldn’t need to cook for at least a couple of days – thanks to the neighbourhood. Our first day at Devpur was a page out of the same book. We were overwhelmed with how easily we were accepted by the school and the village in general. My western outfit and our very obvious non-local presence were a non-issue. People on street openly talked. Conversations opened at a mere smile and no questions were too personal. We are now the “English teachers from outside”.
There is a lot that we have to explore in Kutch and within ourselves. This slow-paced, closer to ground lifestyle promises self-discovery and not all of it will be hunky-dory. So it is with this anticipation, we embark on an unchartered territory, hoping that a sudden availability of time and an unburdened surrounding will bring out the best in us.