Sergio Bertolotti – Gujarat
Crossing Gujarat by car is a singular and unexpected experience,
You travel on a single wide road, a clear line between cultivated fields, farmers at work, shepherds with herds of cows and flocks of goats and sheep, until you reach small villages where daily gestures -beyond time- gain the scene.
Deviating from the most beaten track is certainly a winning choice.
Gujarat is a land that is home to landscapes, unique natural contexts and the most extensive maritime border between Indian states.
The almost exclusively rural region is also crossed by three-lane highways that pay the price of being on the millennial path of transhumance of flocks so, with some surprise you can find yourself in front of a group of sheep complete with a shepherd who look at you with curiosity and endurance.
In tribal villages, artisans continue to use traditional techniques for weaving, embroidering, printing… You find yourself thrown through time and you enter slowly, without being aware of it, in a slow and essential atmosphere where -in spite of modernity- the archetypal scenarios of ancient cultures are imposed.
You naturally notice the sādhu, who exhausted from having recited the mudras, lies down in the middle of the street.
Seeing a small cloud of dust in the distance can be synonymous with an event that is confirmed as exceptional when you get closer: the beating of the wheat by hand. That same grain that you find always sifted by hand in a contrast of modernity with the reclining man who uses his mobile phone.
The educational precepts (washing hands) go beyond the usual channels of information and you can find them on the wall of the village like trompe-œil.
In small villages, points of sale are improvised, the entrance of the shop becomes a showcase and the colors of the lady on the door are diluted with the shades of “outside”.
Even in the cities the surprises of the modus viventi are confirmed and a gentleman, perhaps the owner, stands guard over a practically empty shop.
In Gujarat, behind the curtain of the apparent contrasts between tradition and progress, we live in a constant flow of days, ways, facts… which, for nothing, intend to give way to modern times.