Finally, getting off of roof tops, I resumed my walk along the main road that led to the outskirts of Khandwa in one direction and to the center of town in the other. Starting off towards the center of town, I noticed a rather unique, frugal and maybe even energy-saving method of disposing off trash. There were ditches in the ground along a section of the road that appeared to be designated for incineration of trash. There were trucks parked on the road and were barely visible through smoke emerging from those trash incinerators. I learned later that this activity was performed every morning, to get rid of the trash that was strewn all along the road during the previous day. A sight that again reminded me of a scene from one of those ‘Road Warrior’ movies.
Realizing that the center of town was probably not the best place for a walk, I turned around and walked in the opposite direction, headed for the outskirts of town. The pavement and shoulder seemed to merge halfway, or maybe the pavement had just worn off along the edges. Motorized vehicles competed for whatever was left of the pavement. Well, at least there was an abundance of greenery around. Apart from some run-down, dusty dwellings, I noticed coming towards me a tractor with a tank-like trailer. On closer observation, I saw that it was a mobile water tank – the city’s drinking water being transported by a tractor! Fascinating, to say the least!
Walking along the road, I came across a very familiar sight – a pack of stray dogs taking it easy by the side of the road. On one of my walks in Mumbai, later that month, I was chased by a pack of stray dogs and had to climb over a wall to escape their attack! Anyway, coming back to Khandwa, and my intriguing morning walk, I noticed a bicycle parking lot of sorts. Yes, bicycles are a rather common mode of personal transport for the average person in small-town India, and one often sees bicycle parking lots along city roads. Along with stray dogs, seeing people walk on the roads, seemingly oblivious of the vehicular traffic that may run into them, should not be surprising. Noticing a truck, or a lorry, approaching, I decided to continue to walk safely on the dirt road, I mean, the sidewalk.
On the other side of the road, there came into view a colorful structure that I instantly recognized as one of the many temples that one usually sees along busy roads. These temples are the focal point for local folks on their way to work and it is common practice for them to stop and say a quick prayer and acquire God’s blessings for the day. Taking a closer look at the temple, I realized that it was probably among the better looking structures in this neighborhood, adorned with intricate drawings, carvings, and colorful religious notations. In contrast, right behind this temple loomed a rather plain-looking structure that resembled an abandoned parking lot, although on closer observation, it turned out to be a building under construction.