Thursday, 22 January 2009
last week from the 14th to the 16th of january, i visted the jenu kuruba settlement in mysore, karnataka. the trip was special in many ways - it was my first visit to a tribal settlement, the train journey into the wee hours of the night was lovely and a phone call while the train just touched the mysore platform was something that made the trip an experience to cherish. the train journey was interesting in the sense we had to get a midnight train from bangalore to mysore but the s1 coach that had to accommodate us was late and had to be attached to the engine. it was the first time that i saw a coach being attached to the engine. the phone call: i had not heard from the person since a long time and the person decided to call me at 4 in the morning and hearing the voice, a thousand bubbles burst one after the other making the journey hmmm! so lovely and invigorating. the journey to the settlements gave one ample time to take in the myriad colours of the landscape and meander one's thoughts into distant realms. the jenu kurba are the honey gatherers (jenu translated as thenu meaning honey in tamil). their way of life, their dance, their familiarity with the forest, the trees, the birds and everything around them prompted one to rethink about one's systems, way of life, et al. why does the tribal people's life always bring wonder to a city dweller like me. is it because i am far removed from a value system that is close adhering to nature. is it a different world view that forces one to reflect and contemplate. displaced from their original home - the forest, the community is still haunted by the memories of a once glorious living and dwelling inside the forest at a time when food and life was quite simple and easy. their philosophy of life is just as easy as the flowing kabini (a river that separates the kerala and karnataka state) who just makes her way in a dignified manner. i know that i can never be a tribal. i was once a tribal but my ancestors chose to 'modernise' themselves. the thought that recurs in me is that 'which tribe i would have belonged to?'