A blog about writing, reading, travelling and great characters I meet in life. I love these things more than cheese-on-toast times trampolines times monkeys.

Monday, 2 January 2012

A Hampi New Year

It feels like coming home.

I arrive back in Hampi on New Year's Eve and the welcome from the community is the same as before - smiles and handshakes and happy hellos. And this time I get a few hugs too, as it's my second time here in a month.

There are many tourists in town who have also experienced the Hampi effect. They came for 2 days but have ended up staying 2 weeks or more. They all say it's about the local people here - the welcome they've received from families who have lived and worked here for generations.

I'm back in town to meet with some locals who want to make a short film about the demolitions in Hampi. A court decision in December 2011 has ordered further demolitions in 2012 - over a hundred more homes and businesses are targeted for the second round of JCB demolitions.

And still the government's resettlement / compensation plan remains, at best, very unclear to the locals here. They say they have not been consulted about their future. They are living on a fraction of the income they had prior to the July 2011 demolitions. They have to find out the latest developments from newspaper articles and hearsay.

But the Hampi spirit lives on...

Despite all this, the community continues to smile.

On New Year's Eve, the local community celebrate and look forward to 2012.Families decorate the streets with a rainbow of 'rangolis' - vivid powder paint designs outside their homes and warm wishes for the new year.



Kids play in the street and the atmosphere is calm and friendly.

Locals offer every passerby their New Year's Eve cakes and sweet cashew nut treats. (Three slices of cake later, I decline further offers).

There are a few fireworks at midnight - but soon after the clock strikes 12, the town heads to bed for a good night's sleep. ZZZZZzzzzzzz.

I hope Hampi finds peace in 2012 and there are no further demolitions here. Hampi is just too good - exactly as it is.

To find out more, please visit the Save Hampi People Facebook page.




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