Thursday, October 20, 2011

Urban versus Rural Life


In a comment of my last post it was mentioned that rural living might be good for some individuals. Present day urban life usually involves an eight-hour workday along with commuting that may be up to one to two hours a day for the round trip. This leaves little time for an individual for himself or herself and it is not surprising then that some individuals who go through that for most of their lives get dehumanized. It is not written in any scripture that the normal workday should be a fixed eight hours, day in and day out. I have lived in towns and countries where the work hours were from eight a.m. to one p.m. six days a week and commuting time to work was just five minutes. However, that is an exception rather than the rule. In ancient times the normal working hours of an individual varied throughout the year. There were weeks of round-the-clock work followed by weeks of lean hours. In modern times this sort of thing has become confined to a few areas of life such as farmers and soldiers.

Besides the problem of work hours a problem with modern life in cities is that busy hours throughout the year reduce time for socializing. Many urban dwellers are also forced to live away from green surroundings. I too live in an urban area. Some twenty years ago when I started to build a home here there were absolutely no trees here. It was a new area that was just being developed. Soon I began planting trees at home and on the street near my home. Then an opportunity came to organize the residents into a residents development and welfare association. As a founder of this association there was an opportunity to get more trees planted in the entire neighborhood. The first tree that came up beside my driveway was a cassia tree. For some reason it attracted all the crows of the area. Their crackling cry is really irritating and often I had to go out to stone them away. In the evening bats flew overhead in the garden and that too was a pain. There is another bird that lived in the vacant lots that has a horrible screeching sound especially at night.

Fortunately as more trees came up and more homes were built here the screechy bird has departed and the crows have left too. Instead there are over a dozen other types of birds that frequent the garden. I do not know the name of all of these but they are gray, blue, green, shiny yellow, black etc. Others such as kingfishers, owls and woodpeckers show up occasionally. I know the name of some such as sparrows, red tailed bulbuls, parrots, blackbirds etc. Their soft chirping throughout the day, especially in the mornings is sweet music for the soul. It is an orchestra of sweet notes and the composition is invariably a new one every day. It is only on rare occasions that a crow or two lands on the property now. I consider myself fortunate that there is a bit of gardening space around the home so that I can enjoy some of this music and greenery. I know it is not like that with many others in the city.

If I had to redesign my life, or next time around, I would move to or create the sort of rural area described in the previous three posts - A rural agricultural life with access to some essential modern urban facilities. This time though it is a bit late for that. It requires a man in the prime of his life, certainly no more than forty-five, when one is full of energy, for that. The population of the earth is seven billion strong now and there is hardly enough good land on our planet for all the seven billion to move to a rural life even if they wished to. Fortunately most do not care to. They prefer the pleasures a city life has to offer. Perhaps it is because of it that Nature has permitted the population of the planet to rise to such enormous levels.

With grateful acknowledgements to http://publicdomainpictures.net for photo. I really should snap some of my own with this is so much easier.

9 comments:

Rebb said...

Oh dear, Ashok, I’m glad that eventually the crows and other creatures that annoyed you dispersed, so that you no longer had to throw stones at them. We have a certain bird here at night that flies and squeaks. I don’t mind, but I know the caw of a crow can indeed be an annoyance.

I agree with you that you might try getting out into your beautiful nature and snap some of your own photos. “It’s much easier”—that is a sign of our times that we must battle against. All in good cheer. :)

ashok said...

Hi Rebb

I was trying to figure out what the word for the sound of a crow was. Glad to know it is a Caw.

There is so much wisdom in your words about battling the taking it easy syndrome as always.

The bird that screached here at night probabaly nested on ground in the bushes and screached whenever she saw a cat or dog prowling nearby. It is a gray and black sort of bird about as large as a partridge. Thankfully it has moved out to a quieter countryside I think.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,


"The eight a.m. to one p.m. work day six days a week and commuting time was just five minutes." That sounds great. Was it in a Arab country?

I agree with you that long commuting hours dehumanize us. I don't know how I managed to do that for many years. That was stressful.

What do you think of this idea? Create an rural life above the ground, and create an urban life underground. It might not work, but I think it is worth thinking to create a model.

ashok said...

Yes Keiko the 8 to 1 hours wewre in an Arab country. I enjoyed those for four years. My father often had those hours too off and on in the indian army and those were the hours for many in my childhood town in Nainital. 2 to 4 was relax or nap time or for children to do homework. 4 to 5 was tea time or visit for tea time for grown ups but children spent just five minutes for a glass of milk (it was mandatory) before running out to play with other kids until dusk.

ashok said...

Keiko the underground city may not work but there could be a few high rises in the permissible construction area perhaps for a high rise food procesing industry or some residences for those working in them or on the farms.

It is not necessary to restrict to food processing industries in rural areas any more. With the internet everywhere now these could be IT industries or call centers etc. (the non-polluting stuff)

ashok said...

Keiko, it would be quite nice to have the industry integrated within permissible lilmits in such a rural area. That way one would be on a busy town from the front door and a completely agricultural one from the back door and thus enjoy both worlds.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

I'm very surprised to learn about the working hours practice in India and Arab countries. It sounds very kind and human. Japanese work long hours, and some die from overwork. We need to add both cultures and divide by two. It's only fair. But Indians and Arabians probably would protest for losing their privilege. Hmmm. I wonder how and why we became the way we are. I guess we tried and tried into opposite directions.

ashok said...

Keiko it is not so any more in India as regards working hours. That was a long time ago.

But as regards averaging the practices of different cultures, that makes a lot of sense since different cultures tend to go to differnet extremes at different times.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

Yes, we learn from each other, for sure. That's good for us.