By Kimberly Rowe, Mumbai: Purushwadi, a little known village located around six-seven hours road journey away from Kasara station in Mumbai has a lot to commend. With jagged terrains, immense greenery, sparkling waters, tropical sunshine, remote connectivity and scarce population, it has what our urban Mumbai should have but doesn’t. That is exactly what makes it a unique, learning experience especially for those who love adventure and a little difference in their normal, day-to-day lives.
This year the confirmation batch (2011-2012) of Our Lady of Victories Parish had a camp arranged for them to Purushwadi from 3rd November, 2011 to 5th November, 2011. The co-ordinator for the camp was Inir Pinheiro (Managing Director and Co -founder of Grassroutes).
Roll back the magic carpet of time as I take you for a ride through the days of our Rural Exposure Camp at Purushwadi. So fasten your seatbelts for the road ahead is not too smooth but it guarantees a lot of excitement to spice up your otherwise routine life!
Day 1 – We boarded the train to Kasara at Dadar. At Kasara jeeps were arranged to Purushwadi. After alighting at the gates of our camp, we were felicitated by the villagers in the traditional way with red tilak on the forehead and the Nehru topi. Being lunch time, we were divided into groups and sent to different houses where we were served simple but nourishing food which consisted of roti, dal, rice, vegetables with pickle. We were indeed touched by their kindness and generosity as they served us three meals a day continuously for three days. After lunch, we were allotted compact, comfortable tents in which we would spend the nights. In the evening, after a quick cup of black tea, we were taken for a trek to Sunset Point. We were also shown some caves and hyena footprints. A nightmarish yet adventurous experience was the night trek, as we returned to our camp with torches, helping each other on the rugged pathways. To end the night, a bonfire was lit, hilarious games were played enthusiastically and a trip to the local ‘haunted’ bridge was arranged. While on the bridge Inir helped us learn about the various stars and constellations which dot the sky!
Day 2 – The morning began with warm-up exercises and breakfast. We were then taken around to learn some village activities. From cutting of wood to drawing water from the well to threshing and pounding of rice, we did it all and did we enjoy it all! Next in store was the bathe in the river which was the favourite of most after which lunch was served on the banks of the river. Again after lunch, dips in the river were taken while a few others opted to jump across the dam and thereby cross the river successfully. The water gushing underneath while you jump across the dam had a thrilling video game effect to it. The rock climbing was where we learned how never to give up trying for what we want to achieve, however difficult the climb may be. Reaching the top of the 100 foot high mountain had a ‘Top of the World’ feeling to it. The evening was filled with games like cricket and tug-of-war where the villagers challenged us. For the bonfire night, tribal dances were performed by us for the villagers who were the judges of the event. At midnight, while some chose to sleep, others sat around the bonfire and shared spooky ghost stories!
Day 3 – Running around the field for exercise certainly woke up those still asleep on the last morning. After our breakfast of poha and black tea, team games were organized. The games were full of fun and frolic, cheers and yells and had a dash of competitive high spirits! But all good things come to an end and so immediately after lunch it was time to pack our belongings and leave the peaceful, serene village.
As the train changed tracks, it seemed like we too were changing tracks and going back to our modern style of living. The camp at Purushwadi will always be remembered for it taught us hard-work, punctuality, the value of a simple but good life, team spirit and other values whose importance we would perhaps otherwise never have realized. Purushwadi indeed influenced all of us immensely!