The tattered and worn-down bus that I drove back from a farm visit didn't offer much comfort especially for a car-sick prone Sizemore. The smile on my face couldn't be wiped off though as I was considering the opportunity I took advantage of. The visit to Dhavalgaon was exactly what I was looking for when I came to India. It provided a lens into the opportunity I have here. As I interviewed the guru farmer of the area (this is the best way to describe him as he is the primary source of the best pomegranate seeds of the area) I observed the capability I have to grow a hardworking farmer’s income. I couldn't help but also appreciate what can only be described as paradise. The rolling hills of Dhavalgaon are painted not only with the same golden landscape of the beautiful California hills, but also stripes of lavenders and lush greens that make for a perfect border for the meandering river that cuts through the valley. It’s trips like these that I love, and am invigorated to work.
On top of this, another farmer invited for me to come back for another visit. Wanting to return to the beautiful landscape (oh, and, yes, do some consumer needs reports as well) I, of course, said yes (so you will be seeing pictures once my phone is repaired).
Fortunately for me, this was not the only invite that was extended this past week. As I was socializing with new friends in downtown Pune, I ran into a player from North East United FC. In town for a match against FC Pune in the ISL's inaugural season he was generous enough to help acquire tickets for a couple of my friends and me. Although I am not much of a soccer fan, I had a blast watching a fast-moving country establish a new national sports scene.
These two invitations are a perfect representation of the dichotomy that is India (ok really there's like a million different Indias but whatever). One invite showcasing the fast-growing wealth and integration into world culture. The other representing the part of India where there is plenty of opportunity for development work. Although they are worlds apart, one thing always remains the same. Everyone is running forward as fast as they can here. Just as one soccer player is contributing to an advancing the national sports scene, a farmer is getting a degree in history to get a leg up.
Things here might not be organized. Things here may not be equal. But, this place is stumbling forward quickly. It's a three-legged race with two billion legs running on their own and it's only snowballing into a larger force.