Rewa, the place I was born and brought up at - a typical small city in MP, where every time you get out of your home, you're sure to bump into at least 50 people you know - your relatives, your friends, your relatives' friends, your friends' relatives. Where the shopkeepers, postman, electricians, bai know you.
I used to get pretty irritaed when, as a teenager, every time I got back to my home, someone would ask - "Aaj PK School ke paas kya kar rahi thi?" or "Kyun, khoob chaat khaayi shaam ko?"
Every evening, someone would come over and talk about everything under the sun - right from PV Narsimha Rao's government to VermaJi's nephew's kanchhedan. Every evening (paani jaane ke baad) we'd spend our time shuttling between kitchen (chai) and drawing room (gap-shap), while every 7.3 minutes the doorbell will ring - announcing the visit of some neighbour, relative, chanda maangne waala, patient, patient's relatives, MRs (OK, the last three are specific to a doctor's home) and so on.
While shopping, name the thing and you know the shop you'll end up at. Greeting cards/Gifts - Vishal; Ice-Creams - Pick & Moov; kirana - Vishwaas; kapde - Apna Baazaar/Kanchi; sandals - Mayuri; cosmetics - Ada; bangles (yes, we buy a whole LOT of them) - khatkhahayi (some call it khatkhatayi, but I'm sure it's khatkhahayi - Rewa's ancient-most market). Phew!
It's one of those place where it's India in its truest sense. Where you can still find children playing cricket in the Football World Cup season; where people still read hindi newspapers - having sansanikhej khabar's like how a cycle got stolen from Nehru Nagar, or "Yuvti Apne Premi Ke Saath Faraar". Where you'd still find more 'government employees' than 'software engineers'. Where a girl living alone in Delhi is still looked at with awe.
There're still people - young girls, their parents, grand-parents, and some you not even know - who'd come to me and ask about how I live here, if the species living at Delhi (Noida is Delhi) is homo-sapiens, what we eat, why we don't eat what we don't, how do we go to office, how we come back - and all the other kinds of hows/whys/wheres/whats.
I can go on and on writing, but have to finish some work. So will keep it continued in the next part, if I can! Ciao :-)
Mitti ki hai jo khushbu
Tu kaise bhulaayega
Tu chaahe kahin jaaye
Tu laut ke aayega
Nayi-nayi raahon mein
Dabi-dabi aahon mein
Khoye-khoye dil se tere
Koi yeh kahega
Yeh jo des hai tera, swades hai tera
Tujhe hai pukaara
Yeh woh bandhan hai jo kabhie toot nahin sakta...