Living in the country side

In India (and most of Asia), country side has 2 meanings – 1. Rural villages, 2. Lonely farmlands. Villages offer a close knit community where every knows and watches you. Lonely farmlands offer ample of solitude and nature.

We relocated to a lonely country side a few years back. Till then, I have lived in many cities across countries. I had always dreamed of living in the country side. Yet, nothing had prepared me for the real country side. Life in the country side is completely different from city life. From small aspects like cleaning and shopping, to financial and economic aspects, my entire view of life has undergone a drastic change.

Farmland 2

At first, beautiful scenery and wide open spaces were mesmerizing. Once I got used to the landscape, the next thing that caught my attention was the variety of life around – lush farmlands, cattle, goats, hens, dogs, and a wide array of birds.

Then we updated our modest little home into a spacious cottage. I spent a wonderful time exploring the world of Eco-friendly materials and design of open spaces.

Living in wide open spaces gives one the opportunity to read nature. Passage of seasons is beautiful and rhythmic. Everything in Nature, from soil to animals and birds are aware of the change in seasons. They change beautifully and adapt graciously to nature’s ways.

It is only us humans who find it difficult to adapt. Living far away from civilization presents a whole host of difficulties. Adapting graciously to this place has been a constant challenge.

The nearest grocery store is at least 6 km away. If I run out of sugar or salt mid way during cooking, I cannot buy supplies immediately. So, I have to keep tabs on my grocery usage and buy well in advance.

On the other side, the generosity of open spaces is over whelming. If I take a walk, I mostly return home with something to cook. In the rainy season, we get a never ending supply of wild mushrooms. In addition, there are plenty of beans, greens, curry leaves, coriander, yam, sweet potato etc growing around. Farmers around are generous and share their harvest easily.

It is easier to stay fit and active in the countryside. Reason being, you end up doing all the work around the house! Garbage disposal is a multi step process. You segregate your wastes, bury kitchen wastes, pack all plastic wastes and take them out to the trash can in the nearest town, burn dry leaves, paper wastes etc. We do minor plumbing, wiring and repair works, modifications around the house. It does sound like a lot of work.. Is this not enough to keep one fit and active?

The best advantage of living in the country side is about cutting down on unwanted spending. We do not get lured by window shopping. Clothes are brought when they are needed, not when the store has a sale. We rarely eat fast food, instead cook up snacks more often at home. We buy furniture after months of searching for the design and price we have in mind. Online shopping is difficult as home delivery is not available to remote farmlands.

Farmland 1

When spending decreases, savings increase. So we could afford frequent trips and explore places. No impulsive purchases during our trips.. except when the travel destination offers something that we need.., at a better price or quality.

Every minute is quality time spent with family. Views and scenery are beautiful. Life is slow and peaceful. I have become a different person since I started living in the wide open country side.

I am at peace now.

 

 

 

 

 

Joint family – the delicate balance

Grandma’s, aunts, in-laws, cousins, kids,… and you have to find your place among these many people who live under one roof. Joint families are heaven for many, and a living hell for many. What makes it a heaven or hell?

The obvious answer is people and relations! Having one nagging sister-in-law or an interfering mother-in-law can make the joint family very difficult… Yet it is possible to lead a peaceful life in every joint family.

Kahani-Ghar-Ghar-Kii

Image source: TopYaps

Problems:

1. How do I retain my individuality, when I am expected to play the role of the perfect daughter-in-law?

2. How do I continue my hobbies / work / career when I am cooking and doing household chores all day?

3. How can I plan / delay having kids without answering questions?

4. Is it possible to retain my personal space and privacy ?

5. Can I protect the personal life between my spouse and me?

Causes to these problems:

Not one.. but many ūüôā

The most common reasons for these problems are immature people in the family, very delicate relationships, etc…

saas bhi kabhi bahu thi 1

Image Source: The Sunday Tribune

Yet, there are ways to deal with these problems:

1. Take heart; you are not the only person facing problems. There are so many others in other families and in your own family too, who face problems. Many have found ways to deal with their problems and lead a peaceful life. So can you, if you have the patience and strength.

2. Watch, understand and accept people around you…. If you have an interfering aunt or mother-in-law, accept the fact that she has been an interfering person even before you entered the family. Interfering in other’s life ¬†is her Nature and character. Protect yourself from her interfering character.

3. Keep away from people whom you have problems with. If you have to stay in the same joint family, then try avoiding having frequent conversations or personal discussions with people whom you have problems with.

4. If you are asked questions about your personal life / personal finances / career etc.., keep your answers short and simple. Giving lengthy answers and trying to defend your self will lead to unnecessary discussions / arguments.  You do not have to justify your personal matters to anyone else!

5. Keep yourself occupied with your hobbies / career / social activities. Focusing on your family will wipe out your talents and self -esteem.

6. Keep doing what you are good at… It is the biggest boost to your self-esteem. For example, if you are good at something (business / administration / teaching / sewing / cooking etc..), do not give it up for any reason.¬†

7. Protect your personal life with your spouse. Have personal intimate discussions with your spouse on matters that concern you. Of course, this requires co-operation from your spouse as well.

Happy peaceful women

Image source: Examiner.com

There is a Tao saying:

Rather than make the first move
it is better to wait and see.
Rather than advance an inch
it is better to retreat a yard

The bottom line:

It is quite natural to have likes and dis-likes. We can like members of our family, we can also dis-like them. But considering someone as our enemy will make our life difficult. It is better to retreat or keep away from people we dis-like. Why waste precious time in fighting or arguing… why involve in mind games?

The secret to a peaceful life is to ignore silly minded people. Focus on more important things. Keep doing what you are good at. Become financially independent. Do not lose your self-esteem or peace of mind at any cost! 

— These observations are based on my own experience and from other’s close to me. Your additions to this list are most welcome.