We started walking in the early hours of the morning and this dog walked with us for almost an hour. He was like our guard or messenger or perhaps, God manifested in the form of a dog to support our cause. We had been given a lead to visit a family of socially neglected and looked down upon the untouchables in the hamlet—Chhapi.
It’s shocking but true. India is one of the few unfortunate countries in the world that has this taboo community in almost all the regions. And, we knew this very well while hunting for the address of this family. We asked a man on the way and he lost his mind.
Why do you want to visit that area?
I made him understand, politely, that it’s none of his business. He didn’t cooperate much but after an hour of hunting, we found the place. Yogesh Mathuria called this man up and he agreed to come to pick us up. We’re standing on the crossroad where we’re at the center of attention. It seemed like every shop, every customer, every dog or cat was looking only at us at that moment.
He was so surprised and shocked upon learning this fact that someone really wants to meet them. Anyway, we reached the venue somehow after an hour of asking and getting lost in the village. Upon reaching the location where he told us to, he came running to meet us. It seems that he was coming to rescue us or something as we’re the focus of all the shops around and for the first time, after many years, I felt like an alien from X999 Galaxy; some 3.3 x 109 trillion light years away from our planet.
But, we met after sharing few calls of where are you, I am here types, he took us to his little home in a nearby place. The place was filled with beautiful little homes and colorful people. There was a beautiful woman washing utensils, an ultra-healthy stray dog barking at us, lots of fine dust kissing our feet, little children running here and there, mud walls displaying their tribal art, the fragrance of some pungent food and finally the gutter water flowing here and there.
A typical picture of a remote and destitute Indian village!
They first served us a sweet dish with dry fruits and later we’re served lentil and rice in the same utensil. It was so tasty that I kept licking my finger. We’re served chilled buttermilk and the women of the home were doing the fan for us; like the women used to do to the king in olden times. It was an AWESOME lunch and after that, we exchanged telephone numbers and offered our goodbyes. Our hero came to escort us to the outskirts of the village. He also told us the way forward.
On the way forward, we had only one topic—the hospitality of this untouchable. We the people have coined them a name, keep them neglected and suppressed but there is so much love in their heart. There was no feeling of inequality in their heart. Maybe, it’s us, the over-educated and uncivilized lots who create differences because they are simple folks with only love in their heart and glint their eyes. While, most of us in the cities have—almost—forgotten the hospitality toward guests, these forbidden heroes are keeping the head of our culture high.