I find myself constantly removed from the fast banter of city living and placed in remote towns, where a natural lifestyle has been practised, with few alterations, for centuries.
Cities usually instill desire and the mountains for the traveller, evoke satisfaction. Quiet, early evenings, the birdsong at dawn, the sure-footed shepherds spending all their days in forests, the excitable visits to the local market and homes of friends —all set at a natural pace of living, lost in the quagmire of cities.
There is an elegance to “slow” living; one has the time to reflect, to nurture, to experience and to create. Walking through the by-lanes of a town in the Himalayas, I am greeted by warm smiles of an open, friendly community and the local grocer who keeps his shop open at dusk, for the barn swallows who have made their home indoors, to return. In a village in North-East India , I find the hand-made bamboo houses on stilts, with enough warmth and space beneath, for domesticated animals. In the mist-laden walks in a hill-town in Southern India, I am humbled by the assured confidence of a man who prefers the satisfaction of simple living over material ambitions.
And in all these remote places, I find one constant— true wealth comes not from desire but from self-contentment.
Photos: Shivani Dogra
Cover Photo: Meghna Ghosh