Day 155 | 15 June 2015 | MIT, Pandharpur to Tondle Bondle | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Pranams to Sri M as the WoH leaves Pandharpur
  • A colorful array of turbans have been the hallmark of Maharashtra villages - Pandharpur
  • Oversized chapatis keep fuelling the padayatris - Pandharpur
  • Eagerly awaiting the first day of their pre-school - Pandharpur
  • WoH Day 155 - the scorching sun takes a day off - Pandharpur
  • The excitement of the beginning of the academic year - Malshiras
  • Hearty welcome to Sri M at Bhondle, Malshiras
  • The padayatris at the last stop before entering Bhondle, Mlashiras
  • Planting a sapling at break-point - Bhondle, Malshiras
  • An inviting urn of sugarcane juice in the air - Bhondle, Malshiras
  • Mud walls and sugarcane leaf thatch is the best protection - Bhondle, Malshiras
The walk seems to have got back into its rhythm again after much activity in and around Pandharpur. The day’s progress was to Tondle Bondle—a distance of 21 kilometers from MIT, Pandharpur.

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Halting every hour, including a stop at a petrol bunk for a small event, the yatris crossed into Satara district where they were welcomed by the next set of district coordinators, volunteers and a few people from the local community. They reached their destination point just beyond Tondle Bondle—a few minutes before noon. Passing through Bandishegaon and Dasur, they walked to the two villages, Tondle and Bondle, which are separated by a highway. Sri M planted a sapling during one of the breaks at Bondle and there was a traditional welcome at the destination point. In the hinterlands of Maharashtra, the whole remains the same, yet the parts change. The land one day is not so different from the next, but the life seems to change, the lifestyles become different, the feel of the towns become different. Houses here are usually made of stone and mud with thatched roofs. It is indeed amazing how man adapts to what grows in abundance around him. A few days earlier, the roofs were thatched with pomegranate twigs while here, the roofs seem to be completely thatched with thick layers of dried sugarcane leaves. The sugarcane belt here seems to ensure abundant supply of animal feed; farm animals are well taken care of. People are dressed traditionally, men usually seen wearing a white pyjamas - 'sarwar-kamej' and a colorful 'petha' and women almost always in colourful saris. Schools start late around 11.00 am with children spending their mornings helping out with family work. They walk or cycle to school, often on 'hand-me- down' generations old Atlas cycles, with two or three people on it—one driving, one sitting on the 'diggi' behind and one sitting on the bar in front. The younger ones don’t seem to go to school and are usually seen running around playing. Shops along the way are small and family-run, with some quantity of everything needed by a household. All items cost less than a hundred rupees and are usually local variants of big brands finding shelf space. Most often, the husband mans the counter and the moneybox and the wife or the child fetches the order. Almost always, the shops consist of a small room, with compartments cut into the wall or wooden planks serving as storage areas, with the exterior of the shops alive with bright paint and advertisement posters. Each shop is as good as a mini-supermarket! There being no Satsang scheduled on this day, the yatris relaxed through the afternoon and rainy evening. Sometimes, if one sneaks out late in the night into the open, all alone under the spectacular sky, there is a gentle breeze, the sky bedecked with wispy grey clouds slowly and quietly drifting past, concealing and revealing the moonlight. In that inky darkness, the quietness spreads inward.

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