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9/28/17

What do you make of rural folk who are disconnected from the earth?

I grew up disconnected from the earth. I am very aware of that. Even while growing up I had no illusions about this. You see, I grew up in the concrete jungle called Bombay. But growing up I didn't know of any rural folk who, like me, were disconnected from the earth.

When I was nine we visited my father's village. He grew up there and life was pretty much unchanged when he took us there. Food was cooked on wood-fires, there was no electricity, and we got around on foot, bicycles, and bullock carts. His village was right on the Arabian Sea, so aside from what people grew on the land (grains, vegetables, amazing fruit) there was fresh sea-food available. I remember a woman coming by with freshly caught lobsters one day. My mother (who was and is a strict vegetarian)said she'd buy them for us kids if the woman would prepare them. The woman went home, grabbed a couple coconuts (these grew everywhere), and made us a delicious lobster curry, the taste of which I will never forget.

Rural India has changed beyond belief and this is happening everywhere in the world. The rural lifestyle has been replaced by the Cash lifestyle. Emulating urban life, the rural dweller consumes much like her urban counterpart. Which means cheap and shoddy mass-produced goods, fast foods, and a digital lifestyle, all of which require Cash.

The very idea of living off the land is bizarre to people everywhere, both in urban and rural areas. The idea that our food, our shelter are gifts of God go diametrically against the Cash lifestyle. And thus it is that our rural folk just like our urban folk are completely disconnected from the earth.

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