Though Shruti grew up in Mumbai, her family comes from Kanpur area. Kanpur was a British cantonment named Cawnpore and was known as the Manchester of the East due to its mills.
The city is based along the Ganges river and is now most famous for its tanneries.
Whilst in Kanpur, we visited Shruti’s tauji (paternal uncle) and mamaji’s(maternal uncle) family. They were happy to see Shruti and me after the wedding.
Shruti stayed in her paternal house until she was 3 and this brought alot of memories back. She reminisced the house being completely different but remembered all the nooks and crannies.
Day at the Village
It was Shruti’s wish that we all go to their native village to see the temple and the old house. We were meant to leave really to make it to the village by 11am but running on the Indian Standard Time, we ended up leaving the house by 11am.
Along the way, we went through small and big villages through an unruly part of India. This area was famous for its dacoits and revolutionaries during the British times, the most famous being Chandrashekhar Azad. Despite this, the countryside was incredibly beautiful with rice fields and trees everywhere. As a added bonus, we saw some beautiful migratory birds in the fields. We also saw the traditional thatched roof or ‘kuchcha’ houses which were also beautiful.
At Shruti’s ancestral village, we visited some temples and the old ancestral property. It brought us great joy to set the area where Shruti’s great grand father lived with his family. On the other hand, it was sad to see the house in disrepair and people fighting over the property.
First Serious Sickness
Up until now, we had been avoiding getting sick. However, Shruti started getting a cold on the day in the village. However, the next day, the cold turned into a fever and a Delhi belly. Having a sickness in an Indian family is nothing short of a circus with everyone giving different advice and medicines.
Eventually though, the fever got too high and Shruti had to be taken to a doctor. Other than the diagnosis, this turned into an interrogation of why we are traveling for so long and why the doctor and our family thought it was a bad idea.
In any case, he gave us good advice on how to avoid water borne diseases. In a few days, Shruti recovered and we are thankful to the doctor for it.
Till the Cows Come Home
Having bad Internet connection and a sick wife, there was not much to do in Kanpur. The biggest entertainment was the cows in the area. Since the farmers cannot afford to feed the cows when they give less milk, they let the cows go walkabout all day. Therefore, like a cat, the cows go outside to walk, eat and then come back to the same house from which they left. Though it’s common in the fields, recognising the correct house in the correct street was amazing. As a final act of their skill, the cows moo outside the door at sunset to indicate their arrival.
We had planned to see a few things in Kanpur and Lucknow but all those plans took a backseat to Shruti’s sickness.