My Experience With House Hunting In Rural India

by | Dec 13, 2018

Disclaimer: This piece is a light take on my experience in finding a house in a village on the border of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

I planned and had a hope for the time with India Fellow to be an amazing 13-month journey filled with new experiences, learning and development of my skills. More important, I thought of it as a year spent close to the lives of people living in rural areas, one where I’d lead a rural lifestyle myself.

Agastya International Foundation, the organization I am working with, does great work on igniting a spark of curiosity in children. When I joined them 4 months back, they were kind to provide me with good food and a comfortable accommodation. I was excited to have gotten placed with them, specially because it came with the facilities of its benevolent 172 acre campus.

When I started looking deeper than the obvious, I could observe the things around me and my work beyond the first few layers. It occurred to me that somehow by sticking to the guest treatment and physical comforts, I was being an obstacle to my own learning. Eventually, I decided to come out of my comfort zone and start living in a village all by myself. After all, the organization’s main sutra is hands-on learning. I guess that’s where the inspiration comes from.

Having made up my mind about finding a house, I started the search which did not turn out to be a task as simple as I thought it would be. A lot of families in the surrounding areas I already knew by now, were unhappy with my decision. They repeatedly kept telling me that staying inside the campus was a lot safer for me as there were security guards all around and that my life would be easier since everything was readily served on my plate. Yes, I understood their concern. But, my priorities were different and in my opinion, a village where these families live peacefully, I believe it could be equally safe for me, if not more.

Even though they were not in agreement with my decision, they came forward to help me in house hunting. Some of the strange and unexpected reactions I came across in this process are here:

  1. Bathroom troubles
    • People without bathrooms in their homes were not ready to rent them out to me because they felt I won’t be able to adjust to open-defecation.
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    • People with bathrooms in their homes were not ready to rent them out to me because usage of their flashy new bathrooms would make the house impure.
      tenor (6).gif
  2. Houses with thatched roof were not given because they thought I couldn’t maintain them.
    tenor (7).gif
  3. Pakka houses were not given because according to them, I had a potential to make them dirty
    tenor (1).gif
  4. Households with young boys didn’t even allow me to ask if they have a portion where I could stay.
    tenor (2).gif
  5. Households with young girls denied me as they felt that I would turn their girls into women with strong opinion, most likely against the mainstream.
    tenor (3).gif

After dealing with all these situations and obsolete patriarchal reasoning, I finally settled down in a semi-constructed house with generous people in the neighborhood and enthusiastic kids around. Right now, I am a bit too pumped-up to be on this roller-coaster ride which has just begun. Unsure if the decision to stay in the village will turn out to be mutually beneficial, I’m pretty sure that it will expose me to things that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience.

Half Half None

Half Half None

The following blog has been co-written by co-fellows Daraab Saleem Abbasi and...

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2 Comments

  1. Laxminarayana Doosa

    Do let us know more about those other experiences, if possible, in the same GIFfy style.

    Reply
    • Supriya Gudur

      I shall, definitely!

      Reply

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