A few days ago, we visited a village in South India. As part of our travels in Karnataka, we planned day trip to Tumkur district, where my uncle is from.
We drove for about an hour from Bangalore, the IT capital of India; my hometown to Tumkur, stopping on the way to drink fresh coconut water. We saw fields of Ragi, Maize and other crops. A lazy cow ambled the highway. A careless driver threw used polythene bag from the car he was driving.
On our way to the village – named ‘Koli Halli’ literally meaning ‘Hen village’, we stopped by a field, where farmers were growing maize and other crops. Arecanut was drying on the fields. Women worked in the field and two women looked at us, curiously.
My uncle, our tour-guide for the day went up to them and asked them to show us ‘Ragi Mudde’ or a ball of ground Ragi Millet. Since my wife hadnt seen this local food, he was keen on showing this to her.
The woman went in, brought in a ball of Ragi and offered it to my uncle and my wife. ‘Please eat this,’ she offered.
In a moment, we had another woman walk up with a Chapati (bread) of Ragi, a flat piece to eat. ‘No. no.no’ said my wife. Not sure how to respond to this sudden generosity. Perhaps this was the meal that they had made, and were offering to us – strangers from the city.
We witnessed several other instances of generosity throughout our day in the village, but this was the first and most impressive one. It made me re-think the generosity of the rich and also that of the poor.