Two Countries.

While on my way to work today, I felt like I drove over something small but sharp, and suspected a puncture. I got off the road and got out to inspect the tyre. I was right. I was weighing my options as to change the tyre then and there but risk reaching the bank all sweaty, greasy and filthy, or to drive with it anyway until I reach the shops near the bank.

I heard a tinkle of bell behind me. I turned and came face to face with a buffalo cudding away. A boy was perched on top of her, in a bright red t shirt, dirty purple shorts and a chappal in one foot. He had a small stick in his hand and a snot down his nostril that he kept sniffing while chewing his lower lip. He kicked the buffalo on one side making her turn to her left. He pointed to the car and asked, “It’s finished?”
Slapping his buffalo he said, “Jump over this one, she will drop you where you want to go.” The buffalo of course was indifferent to both of us. I smiled and shook my head, declining his offer. He shrugged, and rode away towards a big mud puddle, possibly to allow the buffalo to slosh in the muck, to get respite from the blazing sun.

I wondered. One one hand we have barefoot labourers with blisters on their feet with cars passing them by, without even slowing down except for photograph. On the other, we have a boy offering me a lift on his buffalo when he thought my car was broken. I know it sounds like a sweeping generalisation and presenting a binary picture of the rural and the urban attitudes, but one has to engage in order to know that the difference is real. The natural impulse of the people in villages is that of empathy and extending assistance as natural order of the day.

There are two countries within my country.

One thought on “Two Countries.

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