Rural Heartlands – The More it Became Known

The next day when I got up in the morning, it was a day I was rather looking forward to and hence, there again I hopped onto a Tata Magic and to my amazement this time the number of people who were accommodated in that vehicle were even more than what I thought would be a record set the day before. As I got down after an hour-long journey in the main town of Powayan, this time even though I could have taken a rickshaw to the outlet but I really wanted to walk till there so that I could take in as much as I could of this part of India which I had never seen before and to be true to myself, I did not even imagine that there is such a place that would exist in India (I guess Ignorance was bliss).

Being more at ease with the outlet staff after a nice last day, I had some real good conversations with them about the way people behave at this outlet, what have been their experiences at the outlet etc.

Till the evening it was more or less a day similar to the previous and as I was about to leave, the security guard tells me that it would not be possible for me to get a ride from outside the outlet at this time and I guess this time, walking back to the main town would count as an occupational hazard. There I inquired with people if there is a cyber café nearby where I can check if my train ticket has been booked. After struggling to explain to a few people what exactly I was looking for, I went to a medicine shop and asked a chemist hoping that he would understand what exactly I was looking for.

Phew! To my relief he understood that I was looking for a place where I could access internet and guided me to the nearest one. After walking for about 100 metres from the shop, there I reach Surya Cyber café and entered with a sigh of relief. But I guess it was only the start of some things going from good to bad to worse. The café had not had any internet connectivity for the past 3 days and told me to go back to Shahjahanpur if I wanted to access internet.

Thus, I look for Tata Magic or a Maxx, and there is one Maxx waiting to leave for Shahjahanpur and the conductor guides to sit in a place which I guess would be a nice 1 room flat for a mouse. But, to be honest travelling like that is one of the more enjoyable experiences of the journey. Now, after reaching Shahjahanpur, I enquired for about 45 minutes asking innumerable people if there is a cyber café here, but to no avail, as only a couple of them understood what I was looking for and they told me that there is no cyber café here. Thus, a bit disappointed I went back to the hotel and asked them if there is a cyber café there and the guy at the reception gave me a vague idea of the directions to the place and thus, I walked for about 500 metres east from the hotel gate and reached another cyber café but it was the same situation there too, the connectivity there too had been down for the past few days. The guy at the café told me that there was no other café there and thus, being tired after a long day, I thought it would be best to retire for the day.

Then, in the night I asked a friend in Delhi to check my email to see if there was any ticket that was booked for the return journey, but he checked and checked again and told me that there was no ticket. Thus, I then enquired from the hotel staff about any other way that I could get back to Delhi and they told me to take a bus to Bareilly and from there I would easily get a bus for Delhi.

Thus, next morning I walked up to the bus stand which was about a Km long walk and from there got a bus for Bareilly, which got me there in about 2.5 hours. Reaching the bus stand at Bareilly, I started looking for buses for Delhi but to my surprise I could not locate even one and there was no information written on the official boards about any buses to Delhi. I was like “Not Any More” and thus, asked a shopkeeper about how will I get a bus to Delhi and he tells me that this is the new bus stand and I would get a bus to Delhi from the Purana Bus Stand and I would have to take an Auto till there. Taking an Auto, I reach the stand in about 20 minutes and thus, I finally see 3 buses about to leave for Delhi. I get on to one which will be leaving in about 5 minutes and ask the conductor how much time it will take me to get to Delhi and he tells me that it will take about 7 hours. I stay awake for about an hour or so and then only remember waking up after about 5 or so hours about 20 Km from Delhi. And, after about 30 minutes, as I get down at the Bus Terminal in Delhi, my first journey into the rural heartlands of India ends.


  • Nandan says:


    After your first story, we missed reading the concluding part. I am guessing that you would take show us more of rural India very soon. :-)

  • Vibha says:

    Resourcefulness is usually at its best in Rural India. From the put together Jugaads to eight seater vehicles doubling up as six seaters, you’d assume that things are completely random. But they are not. Things work. Life goes on. Though a lot can be done to make things better in the rural India, residents usually make the best of it. Thanks for raising this topic.

  • Your story took me back , when I started my job in Ranbaxy in 1992. I was in Chemical division of Ranbaxy. We were selling chemicals to Thermal power plants other than to hospitals & Research Institutes & usually these plants are located at remote areas. We used to avail sharing Auto (long one) , Jugaad, tempo , tonga etc for our field work in those areas , some time it was so uncomfortable to travel by the these as villagers used to carry their cattle along with them in the same vehicles. Most of the time we missed our lunch as there used to be no eating place.

    Thanks for refreshing my that time.

  • @ Vibha – Yeah, I do agree with your point there that in rural India you can see the word Jugaad being used at its maximum level. At one time, I had to take a Mahindra Maxx to get back to the hotel and there were already about 20 people in it. But still the conductor did not say to me and the 4 other people standing next to me. He rearranged the seating arrangement like he had a magic wand and ensured that 5 more people could fit in. And as for the conductor himself, he was hanging by the open door for around 45 minutes.

    @ Mahesh – Great, that you liked it !! There are 4 more parts coming up soon. I am sure you would like them too.

  • Nandan says:

    Look fwd to next 4 part. Make them appear soon Chaitanya.

  • @ Nandan – Sure. I will be submitting the next one by Monday.

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