Unable to get over just how popular my first “Village Visit, Haryana” photo story was, I keep my ears open for any time my parents are planning another jaunt to the village. Although this one was no jaunt, it was work-related and offspring needed to sign some papers and show their face at an office. The camera came along – I wanted to photograph more than I had the last time. Also, since it had been three years since the last photo story, I was sure things would have changed. And they had.

To beat Gurgaon office traffic, we had planned to leave early – but as all “large group” travel plans go, we left much later – yet earlier than when the traffic seems unsurmountable. I also need to mention that “dress code” had been advised to the “blogger sisters” by Dad who said, “Don’t mind – don’t be offended – don’t feel bad – but please dress appropriately for the village – because you know how it is.” We do know how it is – even though we would be there for just a few hours, the family members we met and who hosted us, might be given a hard time by the rest of the villagers if there was something that WE did that was considered inappropriate.

Thankfully it’s getting colder by the day, so wearing something full-sleeved wasn’t a “style consideration” anyway.

More on that later – I’m sharing photographs from the to and fro drive here. We drove from new Gurgaon to old Gurgaon to Najafgarh to Bahadurgarh to Sankhol. After leaving the immediate vicinity of the metro areas of Gurgaon, everything looks the same. Traffic can be worse because roads are narrow and there’s all kinds of mammals on the streets. Cows, buffaloes, dogs, and so many more people.

We always get stuck in Najafgarh because of the vegetable market and the general narrow roads and single-lane carriageways with no dividers – drivers routinely go onto the wrong side just to get ahead and this can cause massive delays.

The sun was out, so the inside of the car was hot. Visibility has improved since Diwali, although air pollution is still at its peak and is slated to get worse over the next 4-5 days in the NCR.

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This was around where the Dwarka Expressway is being built. It hasn’t been connected to this road yet but looks like a fancy wide road that might help ease some of the strain on NH8. Lots of new construction along this way, I’m guessing, in anticipation of the Expressway – prices will be high accordingly.

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This was in Bahadurgarh where we were being shown a plot of land that my parents own. No one could identify which plot of land it was exactly but this was the general vicinity. This was after we’d visited the HUDA office, which I’ll include in the next photo story I’ll do.

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Bahadurgarh, which is where my Dad is from, was all but unrecognizable because of the Delhi Metro being built right down the middle of the main road. I could barely even recognize the “pakora wala” and his shop, which is right opposite what used to be the entry point for my grandfather’s home. Lots of shop fronts and commercial establishments all along this road and lots of posters on the Metro pillars touting some form of politics or housing or fitness regimen! I was most surprised by the last one – but then was quickly reminded that wresting etc. are on an upswing since some Bollywood person did a film about this. ( Salman Khan or Aamir Khan I’m told. )

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On our way back, this herd of cows hogging that side of the road prompted traffic to be diverted onto our side of the road and we suddenly found a Haryana Roadways bus headed straight for us at breakneck speed. Those fuckers don’t stop for NOTHING! And they’ll honk the bejeezus out of you if you’re in front of them and don’t give them way.

There was some mustard fields alongside the road but they looked thin and bleak as compared to the lush ones I recall. It isn’t exactly mustard season yet, so maybe they’ll look fuller soon?

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Stacked cauliflowers above. To protect their “white” heads, they are stacked like this and transported and they don’t even need to be put into boxes or covered or even tied up! Looks like a lot of work though. Saw several of these along our way back.

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Mom had spotted nice stacked green chillies at the Najafgarh vegetable market when we were on our way to Bahadurgarh. I missed those because I was sitting on the opposite side of the car. But on our way back, I had my eyes peeled and how pretty they look!

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Some people and “khaats” I saw along the way. Photographed these from inside the car, so there’s some weird reflections. These are only some of the interesting subjects I saw along the way – and Najafgarh isn’t exactly a village anymore. Even at the village I barely saw anyone wearing traditional Haryanvi garb. Not judging them, but to my city-trained eyes, the colorful garb always makes me happy – not least because I get a good photo out of it.

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So that’s everything from the drive. More next week from our stop over at HUDA Bahadurgarh and at my Mom’s village at Sankhol, where we had lunch and I got stared down – AGAIN – by their buffalo.

#EyesForIndia

 

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