As some of you would have noticed, I was not Blogging for quite some time. The reason is that I have been too busy. I am working 13-14 hours every day, including weekends. After working continuously for three weeks I was in a desperate need for a break and just then it came, in the form of a volunteering activity. Months ago I registered as a volunteer for a tree plantation work, and they scheduled it last Saturday.
Our journey started (after a bit of delay) at around 9 in the morning. The bus was an old KSRTC bus, which gave a bit of trouble in the journey as its radiator was a bit upset. We were going to a village in Dodaballapur taluk. The place is around 50 KM from Bangalore. We had just crossed Yehalanka when we came to know that the direct route to this village has been blocked, by some rasta-roko andolan, so we had to take a diversion and go by a route that nearly touches the Nandi Hills (a popular tourist spot for Banglorians). This route, although a bit longer, was very beautiful. The mountains, the houses, the fields, everything seems to be just like a perfect picture postcard. The people from the villages, through which we passed, looked surprised to see our bus going in the direction, not very frequently traveled by this big vehicle.
We reached our pre-destined village in a happy mood. Most of us were too excited, as this was our first experience to see a south Indian village from so near. After a quick briefing, about the importance of check-dam, water harvesting and the methods of the same, we were at work in the fields. Planting trees is not such a tough work, if most of the groundwork is already done. The few villagers, who were around were very friendly. I had the freshest tomatoes and groundnuts of my life, straight from the fields. And there was this poor little snake, who it seems, got the maximum camera attention in that one day, than probably it would ever get in it’s whole life. The work was not too much and there were over 30 of us volunteers. We quickly finished all the work. The group, which organized the whole event, had brought the lunch. After all the hard work (truly speaking it wasn’t that hard), the lunch on a small hilltop, tasted wonderful.
After a brief round of group photos, we went to this famous temple in the nearby village. The temple was an ancient one and was quite popular among the locals. There were quite a lot of monkeys around. The monkeys at such places are quite smart. They are always after any colorful plastic bag, as they think there would be some eatables in it. Here too, I saw them pulling plastic bags from the hands of people.
A few of us did a bit of shopping in this temple village. Some brought the chains and lockets from the temple shop; some others brought fruits (Pomegranate, it seems was very cheap there). On our way back we came by the direct route as the strike on this route was called off by then.
The whole experience was wonderful. It came as nice little break, at the time when it was very much needed. I made some new friends….and yes, I got a volunteer T-shirt too, but the one thing that I gained most, is the wonderful experience.