I have always taken pride in the fact that I have my roots in Zhavame- the enchanting village that continues to fascinate me for reasons more than one. Although I did not grow up here, I spent most of my school vacations in the village. There was no direct bus from Kohima to Zhavame then-during the 1990s- but I vividly remember my paternal grandfather visiting us and taking us, kids back with him. How excited we were to travel in a packed NST Bus to Pfutsero.
We would then walk all the way to the village- a stretch of about 10 kilometers and after settling in and everything, our days were purely that of farming and endless rural adventures.
It was here, I learned everything about terrace cultivation. Come rain or sunshine, as young as we were, we felt like one of them, farmers… endlessly toiling in the lush fields. As years passed and we moved to different places for higher education, that wonderful tradition of visiting our grandparents and helping them out during vacations slowly wore off. Little did I know that I would count these moments as some of my best childhood memories, not to mention the valuable lessons, and the warmth and affection that I received from my grandparents.
Now that I come to think of it, I feel a sense of sadness because most children today will never know how that feels like. To be out in the fields, to touch the earth with your bare hands, to drench yourself in the rain and never get sick, to toil and to sweat, to eat a meal inside a hut, to be really tired from a day’s work and to sleep off just as soon you hit your bed, just to be with nature, to be out in the wild, to hear birds chirping as you head to the fields…there are just too many things that have changed today.
As you go along in life, you realize that nothing beats experience. How I wish students today would take time out to go back to their roots! The best and the most fun way would be to form a group during your vacations and get out there- spend a few days in the villages, do things with them, learn from them…you know, just to get the feel and to experience the sheer joy of being out there.
I tell you rural life is extraordinarily beautiful! I always find that extra joy whenever I go back to my village. It also helps that Zhavame is blessed with gorgeous landscapes, is pristine and is home to the majestic Kapamodzü peak. Not to mention the many untold stories and unexplored places. And yes, the overwhelming cabbage cultivation that folks in my village have duly mastered over the years.
It could be any village in the world, but go, get the rural experience. You will definitely come back happier, healthier, and definitely richer in experience.