7th Feb, 2017, I made an unannounced visit to Gajarwadi, a small village in Niphad taluka of Nashik, Maharashtra. A day that brought multiple smiles on the faces of the villagers, the same smiles with which I had returned home few months ago.
Guru Gangeshwar Ashram in Trimbakeshwar is an ashram for all. People visit this place who come to Trimbakeshwar to find solace with a true heart, regardless of their title. A beautiful place as it goes, it was constructed by Late Mr. Kishinchand Hemnani, who happens to be my maternal grandfather.
Having seen my family serve people who came at the Ashram and donate food to the folks of Gajarwadi, I accompanied them to see the village grow and develop over the years. From schools to regular water supply to sewage system, the village adopted changes in a very healthy way.
The last time I had visited it, I had my camera with me and an hour of time. Before I knew, my camera went ahead to click photographs of the simplified people and rural methods, I recorded the joy in their noises and chuckles in their whispers. I saw the happiness when food was provided, little fingers holding plates, women hesitantly coming forward and everyone returning home with a merrily filled stomach. I clicked the school kids who happened to be more disciplined than the kids from cities. When I returned home with randomly taken videos and photographs, my mind worked into making a short film, a brain child that wanted to bring this village to the world’s light.
I decided to make a documentary for the world to acknowledge the drastic difference and changes over a small span of 2 years.
Gajarwadi might look native on the upfront but technology has started to make its mark on the village. We saw the school well-furnished and spacious for the kids to learn at, combined and gracious efforts of Nashik Zilla Parishad and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of companies like Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited (which had donated a high end Projector, bags and sweaters to the school kids). Also the school is eligible to few Government programmes. I also got to know that there had been Fashion walk shows where students from a Fashion Academy had designed clothes for the school kids who competed in a Ramp walk show.
When I had almost completed my documentary film, I was so excited to show it to the kids and villagers. I travelled to Gajarwadi with a friend unannounced and met the school head, who supported me warm-hearted and arranged for sessions to show the documentary through the school projector (I noticed to my surprise this projector was so better than the little one I had carried). The amazed expressions, kids calling out names and teasing those who appeared on the screen, seeing their mothers who might never had been before the camera brought tears to their eyes, joyful tears of astonishment. This sure did made my day.
When sometimes we lose the serenity in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, I think of Gajarwadi and feel happy to make an attempt in decoding the village’s simplicity.
You can view the movie Here