A journey back to Middle Earth…

Back to our Roots

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One of the key objectives of our trip and visit to India was for Milan & Nilay to see and experience the area which their paternal grandparents had originated from and spent their early years. For me it had also been 18 years since my last visit to the “gam” (village), so I was also very interested to reacquaint myself with images and experiences and possibly some people from the past. An uncle had kindly offered to my parents to show us around the villages, which was great as his knowledge of the villages and the people made our experience even more fulfilling. We first went to Kothamdi where my the house mum (Ba) grew up in is still standing and exactly how I remembered it, including photos of her family on the walls in the front room. We also met people who know Ba, very pleased to see us visiting and interested to know the connection. Later we went to my fathers village (Machaad) & where his house once stood again meeting neighbours and distant relatives who were very welcoming of “family” who had come ‘home’. Amongst all of this we also had a chance to go to see the locally famous “Dandi” beach, also made intentionally famous by Gandhi by being the location where he ended his epic “salt march”. We were also treated to a fantastic home cooked meal as well as fresh coconut juice from a tree in an uncles back garden. For obvious reasons it was a very different and unique experience of India than the past 20 days. The impact of migration from the villages to the West was clearly evident. There were many original homesteads and families which continue to live in the same area with similar lifestyles carried through generations, mixed with larger and newer houses from those who had gone abroad and come back to retire or build holiday homes. In any case an enjoyable day in a calm and peaceful rural environment and a contrast to the intensity of the cities we’ve visited. Regardless, the core culture and values from which I was brought up on are still clear and better understood through a visit like this, albeit very brief…

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