Unforgettable Adventures: Exploring a village in Bihar, India

“Ah, the charm of villages! We all have our own experiences of visiting our ancestral villages, and let me tell you, India has an endless variety of them, just like its cities. Now, I recently embarked on a one-day trip to a village, and boy, did it leave me with some unforgettable experiences that I simply had to pen down.

First things first, let’s address the age-old debate about urban versus rural hospitality. I used to believe that people are people, regardless of where they reside. Some are warm, some are cold, and some have more attitude than a diva on a catwalk. But let me tell you, my beliefs were about to take a twist. I stumbled upon a goat and fish farm that showcased the sheer laboriousness of village folks. Then, I attended a marriage ceremony of my friend’s sister, which shed light on how villages still have room for improvement in the realm of humanity. And lastly, brace yourselves, because I must mention the legendary palm wine that has become the talk of the town in various parts of Bihar these days. Cheers!

Now, picture this: I live in Asansol, which happens to be at the border of Jharkhand and Bengal. The name of the village I ventured to is Sagarpur in Bihar, just 322 kilometers away from my hometown. Several trains make their way to this village and trust me, it’s a journey. You either have to disembark at Gaya or Anugraha Narayan Road Station. From Gaya, it’s a two-bus transfer extravaganza or a local train ride, while from Anugraha Narayan Road, you can hop into an auto-rickshaw that will whisk you away to the village within an hour. After two hours of sleep, 11 hours of waiting, and a dash of adventure, I finally reached the village at the crack of dawn. Sitting in that auto-rickshaw, my heart was pounding with excitement, wondering what surprises awaited me. And boy, was I in for a treat!

Now, let me tell you about the road to this village. I expected a dusty, bumpy ride, but lo and behold, it was accompanied by a canal that flowed gracefully beside it. Who knew villages could be so picturesque? Well, the canal doesn’t have water at the moment, but fear not, it’s a June thing apparently. As we approached the outskirts of Aurangabad district, it felt more like a miniature city. However, once we delved deeper, the village revealed its unique character.

At last, we arrived at my friend’s ancestral home, which had been locked up for a month as the family members were scattered across different parts of India, pursuing their livelihoods. As we approached the doorstep, we were greeted by mischievous Bengal Black goats frolicking around, while birds sang their melodious tunes by the nearby river. You see, the reason I was eager to visit my friend’s village was the proximity of their house to the river. I mean, it’s literally on the other side of the road. I had imagined a flowing river, reminiscent of those in Uttarakhand and other states, but alas, it was a sight that tugged at my heart. Unfortunately, the river was drying up, with stagnant pools of water dotting its bed. Blame it on the sand business that has recently sprung up. Poor villagers are oblivious to how their sand extraction activities affect the environment. The sand beneath the water flow is being whisked away, both naturally and due to human interference like mining. Sand mining from riverbeds is illegal due to its detrimental effects, but alas, the unbalanced removal of sand disrupts the river’s equilibrium. Anyway, putting that aside, the moment the locked door swung open, I whipped out my camera and snapped my first photo: the sturdy door that seemed determined to ward off any unwanted intruders.

As we stepped into the house, everyone sprang into action, cleaning away the dust and cobwebs. Unfortunately, there was no electricity at that moment, but the early morning breeze provided some respite. I attempted to take a nap, but my bubbling excitement refused to let me rest. So, I embarked on a stroll with my friend to explore his vast expanse of land. In villages, land measurements are discussed in acres, unlike, city dwellers who deal in square feet. He proudly showcased the trees on his land, mostly Sheesham and some Bamboo. The land was teeming with vegetation and crops they had cultivated. They even had a palm tree. Across his land, he pointed out the local government school, colored in orange, where government teachers get posted. Sandwiched between the school and his land was a cricket ground, complete with a pitch that was recently made. My friend proudly proclaimed that whenever he comes to the village, cricket becomes his daily routine at 4 PM. Ah, the joys of working from home!

After our little expedition, we freshened up with a refreshing shower. With no electricity, we resorted to fanning each other and slept amidst a symphony of sweat. But fear not, dear readers, for the power gods smiled upon us, and we awoke to a fully functioning fan. The moment we opened our eyes, we were raring to explore the village. My friend introduced me to the local leader, who was probably younger than me and had a peculiar daily routine. When we contacted him, he was snoozing away. Who naps at 11 AM in a village, you ask? Well, apparently, this guy does! Together, we ventured to an ancient Banyan tree with branches that seemed to defy gravity.

The trip to a village by Rahul Tiwari
The Banyan Tree

Under the shade of a majestic banyan tree, we engaged in endless chatter about the past and its mind-boggling transformation. Just as I settled comfortably on a branch, a wave of scorching heat hit me like a sunburned boomerang. Seeking refuge, we headed to the local club, where kids were more engrossed in mobile games than a cat chasing a laser pointer. The elders, thinking they were dealing me a winning hand, insisted I join their card game. Little did they know, I had as much clue about cards as a penguin has about flying. Nonetheless, I played the role of the observant rookie.

Rejuvenated from the indoor escapade, we returned home to a tantalizing lunch of daal, chawal, mashed potatoes, salads, and achar that could make your taste buds somersault in excitement. Attempting a power nap, we discovered that even the sandman was on vacation. So, we decided to embark on an expedition to a nearby goat farm, which was just a hop, skip, and a “baa” away. And boy, was I in for a surprise! The farm boasted a mesmerizing variety of grass, taller than a basket ball player. It seemed like a mini Jurassic Park for goats. There, I met the superstar of the farm, a buck named John, with a coat so dazzling it could give any Hollywood diva a run for her money. The farm owner, a modern-day cattle whisperer, shared his journey of transforming theoretical knowledge into practical wizardry. Hats off to the guy for making dreams come true while surrounded by bleating supermodels. He even told me that he wakes up at 4 am to feed the goats and runs 5 kilometers everyday, only to return to his humble abode for a well-deserved slumber. His relentless routine had me in awe, so I had to inquire, “How do you manage it all?” To my surprise, he grinned and exclaimed, “Oh, it’s a piece of cake, my friend! Beats any 9-to-5 grind because it grants me the glorious gift of time for myself.” Talk about a life worth aspiring to! I couldn’t help but be impressed by his fearless devotion to the goat empire.

Inside his farm office, were shelves stacked with goat medicines and a stove that occasionally witnessed culinary adventures. The office even boasted a bed with a view so breathtaking it could give the Mona Lisa a complex. Lying there, I marveled at the landscape and the goats’ graceful grazing, almost like watching a reality show called “America’s Next Top Goat Model.” But the real scene-stealer was Johnny, the goat with the charisma of a rockstar. I bet he had a secret contract with a goat modeling agency!

Goat Farm in Bihar, Rahul Tiwari Blogs
Johny The Buck

Energized from the farm escapade, we headed to the cricket ground to witness a battle of willow and leather. Cheering on the players, we raised our voices higher than a sound system at a rock concert. One thing that caught my attention was the village’s natural mosquito repellent—sitting on the grass was more enjoyable than a cozy date in a high-end restaurant, minus the extra bill!

As the game wrapped up, we received another invitation, this time to indulge in a mind-blowing experience—palm wine. Forget grapes; this was divine nectar extracted from palm trees. And guess what? Alongside the palm wine, they even served chicken! It was a magical twilight scene as we sat on the ground, sipping on Tadi, hoping it would transform us into slightly tipsy superheroes. But alas, the taste resembled sour yogurt juice, making us question if we accidentally stumbled into a goat-themed smoothie bar. Nevertheless, we downed glass after glass, waiting for the tipsiness to kick in. Instead, we felt more lazy than a sloth on a Monday morning. But hey, the starry sky compensated for the lack of intoxication. Those stars twinkled like diamonds in the sky, while the moon serenaded us with its celestial lullaby. I yearned to lie down and drift off into a dreamland amidst the stars. But duty called—I had to attend my friend’s sister’s wedding.

With three bikes, five adventure-seeking boys, and a 25-kilometer ride ahead, we embarked on a journey resembling a motorcycle gang in pursuit of the ultimate adrenaline rush. Oh, did I mention I had to catch a train to Asansol after the party? Talk about multitasking like a pro! Packed and ready, I bid farewell to my friend’s house and set off for the wedding party. As the night embraced us with its dark, star-studded cloak, I couldn’t help but find the front light of the bike annoying. I mean, who needs artificial light when the night sky is putting on such a dazzling show?

After reaching his village I observed that the village presented a striking contrast, like two separate worlds colliding. As I traversed the rugged and narrow roads, it felt like embarking on a treacherous expedition rather than a simple journey. The stark disparity between the two villages was nothing short of shocking. One boasted pristine cleanliness and meticulous maintenance, while the other seemed trapped in a chaotic realm of disorganization and neglect. The absence of a proper drainage system only exacerbated the unsightly conditions, transforming the village into a lamentable mess. When I inquired about this disheartening state of affairs, the answer echoed a dismaying truth—caste divisions. It became evident that despite the shared warmth and hospitality of the people, this village had become a forsaken outpost. I ventured toward the nearby river, eager to explore its tranquil allure, but alas, a pungent odor repelled me. It became clear that no matter how fervently the government endeavored to uplift rural areas, the persistent grip of the casteist mindset hindered any true progress. India’s villages, divided by caste lines, perpetuated a system where individuals were expected to confine themselves to a specific village assigned to their caste, a detrimental practice for the nation as a whole. Regrettably, it appeared that little effort had been made by any government to rectify this grave issue. The stark disparity between the government’s showcased reality and the harsh truth on the ground was a bitter pill to swallow.

Nevertheless, I surrendered to the infectious joy of the wedding party, devouring scrumptious delicacies and capturing selfies with my friends as if our lives depended on it. As the night progressed, it was time for me to bid adieu and return to Asansol. Just one tiny glitch—I didn’t have a train ticket! No worries, we devised a plan faster than you can say “chaotic Indian railways.” My trusty friends agreed to escort me to the station, 25 kilometers away, and I hoped to catch a local train to Gaya or, if the stars aligned, a direct train to Asansol. The only catch? The train bound for Asansol would arrive at 1 AM, and I was still lingering in the village, caught between adventure and a ticketless journey. With the clock ticking and the train’s arrival imminent, we embarked on a night ride through the village on our bikes, feeling like nocturnal rebels on a mission. My friends’ determination to ensure my safe journey back home showcased the true essence of village hospitality, with a sprinkle of James Bond flair. I hopped on the bike, channeling my inner Evel Knievel, and zoomed through the smooth roads of Aurangabad district, like a speed demon in pursuit of a locomotive mirage. And lo and behold, as I arrived at the station, the train stood there, as if it had waited just for me. With only five minutes to spare, I leaped onto the train, bidding a hasty farewell to my friends, who vanished into the night like the ghosts of unforgettable memories.

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