Karapura is a tiny village in the heart of southern Karnataka, set in the idyllic lap of nature – the Nilgiris to one side, the river Kabini on another and lush green tropical forest all around. Its location is its lucky charm, its passage out of the obscurity that marks thousands of remote villages around India – for it marks the gateway to the Nagarhole National Park.But it seems there is nothing else to distinguish this village from the hundreds of others we passed on our way: swaying fields of paddy, broken by small carpets of orange marigold in full bloom or the odd coconut grove; specks of hard-at-work bent heads and hunched backs contrasting against the fields; ramshackle huts and handmade barns dotting the vast undulating expanse of green; children running alongside the dirt tracks that is the only motorable access to the village, waving and yelling gleefully at the odd four-wheeler that passes by…and as you laugh and wave back, you cannot but notice that although only a hundred miles from the city, you’re in another world.The people of Karapura live in another reality – a reality where four-wheeled vehicles are a rarity to be waved at; the occupants of these vehicles – those slick city dwellers with their big cameras and their absurd ways – a curiosity; where life begins and ends with the paddy fields, the village church and temple, the tiny village school, the herds of cattle, sheep and fowl and the simple aspiration to keep one’s head out of poverty; where nothing breaks the peace except the odd SUV that roars into one of the tourist lodges that sit on the banks of the Kabini – those lodges that sit behind those enormous forbidding gates beyond which life and the way it is lived has nothing in common with the villagers’ life.

This is the Indian village – this is another life.

The India Chronicles | Another Life - 1The India Chronicles | Another Life - 1The India Chronicles | Another Life - 1

The India Chronicles | Another Life - 1

The India Chronicles | Another Life - 1

The India Chronicles | Another Life -1

to be continued…
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