Order, Chaos and Dreams

Order, Chaos and Dreams.

chhandigargh
Source: http://www.fondationlecorbusier.fr

Chandigarh, the capital of the Punjab, is a city designed as a symbol of modernity, casting off what was seen as the superstitious baggage of the past.   The anarchic streets of urban India would seem an impossible task for the orderly ideals of utilitarian architecture, yet here functionality dominates.   However, from the tensions between these two extremes of life, a curious art form was created.   Nek Chands Rock garden is a surreal labyrinth of figures, secretly constructed out of cast off material from the city.   There is a childlike feeling to this world, nothing is quite even and straight lines are decidedly wonky, yet it is all totally immersive.   The sense of space it creates is unreal, like it is several times bigger than it actually is.   Every time you enter a new area, it feels like falling into a whole new reality.   Having broken out of the confines of the orderly metropolis, the Rock Garden inevitably inspires people to see their home anew…

Immersion in Chaos

India, from the perspective of a confused Englishman, is an odd place.   There is often an unrelenting flood of sensory overload and a disconcerting lack of personal space.   Cultural/linguistic barriers can feel almost insurmountable, peoples body language is subtly but fundamentally rewritten and unfamiliar foods reinforce the sense of disorientation.     However, one of South Asia’s stranger destinations holds a different set of eccentricities.   Chandigarh, the capital of the Punjab, is India’s only planned city.   Commissioned by Nehru in the 1950s and orchestrated by utilitarian architect Le Corbusier, it was a brave bid to herald the coming of modernity to India.

There is a sharp contrast between the original section of the city and its chaotic suburbs.   Outside the designated perimeter, live poorer communities who have gravitated towards wealth and opportunity.   Here the diversity of life thrives; engines spew black smog and streets are lined with the detritus of everyday existence.   Men stand idly on street corners engaging in animated banter and every conceivable industry is undertaken on the side of the road (mechanics, blacksmiths, mystical healers, ear cleaners, hairdressers, chai sellers, tailors, etc).

A Functional Entity

On passing into the carefully organized center of the city, things change instantly.   Moving from the congested cacophony of the outskirts everything becomes calm.   The buildings are arranged along wide boulevards and all is scrupulously clean.   Concrete is the building material of choice and is applied with imposing geometric symmetry and precision.     Cars drive at reasonable speeds on the correct side of the road.   Everybody goes in the prescribed direction around roundabouts and no one unnecessarily uses their horn.

The city was designed as a grid system, with government buildings at one end, symbolizing the head of the organism.   City blocks are arranged in sectors and assigned numbers.   In the core of this residential area, is the commercial center, the heart of the city.   To stand in a spacious pedestrianised shopping district is a strange experience after a few months spent immersed in India.   Slightly disconcertingly, there are no rickshaws to dodge and haggling is supplanted by the modern innovation of price tags.   In appearance it could be interchanged with any bland city center in the world.   There is the usual assortment of chain shops and juice bars.   People sip coffee from polystyrene cups, sit quietly on benches, and obediently go about their day.   This is very much a progressive, middle class enclave and the only indication of poverty to be seen is the occasional old lady, cooking corn on hot coals to sell to hungry shoppers.

This ordered world, however, is not the full story of Chandigarh.   While the city was in its infancy, built from scratch and born out Nehru’s utopian dreams, another man was pursuing his own vision.

A Space for Dreams

A young official called Nek Chand had begun, in 1957, unknown to the authorities, to create a unique garden on a concealed patch of land.   Taking the excess material, the stuff rejected from the ordered reality of the new city, he began to construct a textured dreamscape of strange, irreverent gods.   Using broken plug sockets, ceramics, concrete, wire, rope and barrels, he shaped an entire, self enclosed reality.   Working by night, by the light of burning tires, he moved even the heaviest supplies using only his push bike.   The surreal maze is filled with hundreds of characters from the mind of its creator, every figure is full of dynamic energy and each seems unnervingly alive.   The straight lines and order of the city are banished here and replaced by complex organic forms which immediately capture the imagination.

Each courtyard is surrounded by a high wall, and the doors that take you from one area to the next are low enough that visitors must stoop.   Its creator suggests that this compels visitors to enter each section in a manner that is deferential to its assortment of deities.   It also adds to the uncanny feeling of immersion in this reality.   The whole, carefully balanced landscape draws you through its varied courtyards with a strangely magnetic momentum, much like floating through a dream.

Chandigarh Reawakened

The genius of this creation is by no means constrained within its own bubble universe.   It casts its spell over the entire city.   After a few hours lost in this interlinking labyrinth of concrete idols and mischievous sprites born out of discarded bike frames, these unreal dreams begin to leach beyond its walls. The rough, textured universe of Nek Chand begins to bring the cityscape to life.  Walking through the streets, inorganic shapes and dead materials begin to invoke the subtle ghosts of the mind.   With your imagination revived, odd bits of piping begin to look like lost arms and faces peer out from entirely coincidental patterns.    The accidental elegance of abstract forms is suddenly obvious and lucid.   The utilitarian city has reawakened its lost gods.

In 1975, after 18 years of working in secrecy, the garden was revealed to the authorities.   As an illegal development it was vulnerable to the threat of demolition.   Unexpectedly, however, the outcome was very different.   Chand was given a salary and a team of workers to realize his ambitions for the site.   The garden now has its safety reasonably assured; it is protected from the whims of politicians and is growing faster than it ever has before.   Giant swings, concrete trees and fish tanks have sprung up on the grounds.   Nek Chand has gone from being an outsider artist and an eccentric loner, to being internationally praised for his vision and artistic talent.      Since its discovery, there have been various attempts to truncate or demolish the garden.   Each time a threat has arisen, public outcry, even human shields, have prevented damage.   Talking to local people, the Rock garden is clearly highly valued.   It is a defining monument, inextricably linked to Chandigarh’s unique character, and a space for dreams in this symbolically segmented city.

 

 

 

 

 

Hitch Hiking.

Taking control and letting go.

It was a cold day in Swindon.   A small but vicious mob had coalesced out of each passenger’s private frustrations.   Egging each other into a frenzy, they collectively laid into a young girl stuck behind the help desk.   She’d had no part in making the train 30 minutes late.   She certainly hadn’t been allowed into the board room to determine First Great Western Rail policy.  The mob however, was looking for victims.  Their journey had been delayed, time had been wasted and somebody clearly must be at fault.   The emotion showing through the cracks in her professionalism only fed the crowd, who instinctively sensed that they had gained the upper hand.

For these people the allure of hitch hiking as a mode of travel might seem elusive.   It frequently involves standing for hours in the rain.  Even the shortest of journeys could potentially take days.   In addition to this you are exposed to the verbal abuse of motorists, who apparently can’t resist hurling expletives at anyone doing something slightly out of the ordinary.   As a way of getting around, it certainly throws up plenty of challenges.   Each trip is full of uncertainty and worst of all- there is no one else to take responsibility if it all goes wrong.

Despite its inconveniences however, hitching can be beneficial on both a personal and on a wider social scale.   Ultimately, the act of sticking out your thumb and waiting to see what happens is an empowering process.   It forces the hitcher to relinquish control of the parts of his journey over which he has no immediate influence.   At the same time it demands that he take responsibility for the bits of the journey which he is able to change.   Instead of acting as a passenger, he has graduated and become a traveler.

An illuminating experience.

An exciting aspect of hitching is the opportunity to meet a randomly selected sequence of people, all in an environment where they feel perfectly secure.   Whether they are looking to engage in conversation, debate or simply deliver a monologue to an anonymous person, people who pick up hitch hikers usually have something interesting to say.   Anyone who holds any interest in other human beings should hitch a few journeys for this reason.   Each lift is a strange insight into somebody’s world.

Previously I have been picked up by grocers, meditation instructors, rail safety inspectors, circus performers, antiques dealers, office workers and many other interesting folk.   Unstable Yorkshire-men have regaled me with diatribes on assaulting cyclists and unreasonable parking tickets.    Trusting elderly ladies have discussed embroidery and dead relatives.   Rich business men have attempted to win me over to religion while others have engaged in 300 mile rants concerning the ‘sick state of politics’.   Every leg of the journey is something new and unexpected.   The outcome of this roulette style social experience is that normal societal boundaries are broken down.   When people are pushed out of their private bubbles, you learn that most people in the world, regardless of their back ground, are quite nice and happy to help you out.

Changing Perceptions

There is no one type of person likely to offer a lift, although many who do so hitched in their youth and express the desire to ‘give something back’.   These people often talk of turning up in service stations in the 60s and joining orderly queues of hitch hikers.   Despite the competition for a ride, because it was an accepted method of getting around, you would be guaranteed to get picked up quickly.

Since those days something, it seems, has changed.   Often it is the same people with rosy memories of hitching in the past who now seem convinced of its perils.   Having kindly picked me up, a driver will often express sincere concern for my fate.   More than once people have suggested that they stopped only because the next person to pull up might have been some sort of ‘weirdo’ (Weirdo, I have deduced, is a subtle way of saying ‘axe murdering rapist’.).

The reasons behind this change in perceptions are difficult to unravel.   Presumably risks involved in hitch hiking have not changed substantially over the years.   The rise of 24 hour rolling news certainly seems likely to have played its part in proliferating fear.   Every disaster in the world is broken down into accessible headlines and fed into our living rooms.

Litigation also seems to have contributed.   Some professional drivers will not pick people up in case it voids their insurance or upsets their employers.   Many will not pick up women in case there are accusations of rape or sexual assault.

At the same time large portions of the population have become wealthier and more comfortable over the previous decades.   Thus the impetus to venture out of their collective comfort zone has generally decreased.   There are signs however, that this could all be soon to change.

A return to the road

Recently, for the first time since 1981 household income in England house showed signs of declining.   Concurrently the cost of travel is rising.   Fuel costs are rocketing upwards and even train fares are now set for a series of hikes.   These conditions would seem to lay the foundations for an imminent resurgence in hitching.   The only barrier that remains is the image of hitch hiking as a dangerous occupation and an underlying suspicion of strangers.   There is a chance however, that given greater financial incentives which are arising, these perceptions might be gradually overcome.

As more people take to the road and stick out their thumb prejudices will naturally begin to recede.   For every hitch hiker seen standing by the side of the road, hitching becomes a little more acceptable in the eyes of passers by.   For every person picked up, social barriers are broken down.   The best way that you can contribute to this trend, is to make a sign for yourself, head for the nearest motorway junction and see what happens.

Reclaiming the Roads.

Militant cyclists stage a soggy Coup in central London.  

A damp mass of hippies and all manner of urban cyclists.   Approximately 400 souls, huddled with their bikes beneath Waterloo Bridge, as the drizzle escalates steadily into a downpour.   They are waiting on something, although nobody seems quite certain what that something is.   Some of the lycra clad enthusiasts make mysterious references to ‘Critical Mass’.   Whatever the qualities of this phenomenon might be, they are obscured by the excited and contradictory statements of participants.

Some hint that it may be some arcane principle of crowd dynamics; an almost physical property to be measured by those with the correct instrumentation.   As if there might be an invisible tipping point in the growing potential energy of the gathering.   A fulcrum, beyond which it can flow without impediment, through the snarl of London traffic.

Others seemed to consider Critical Mass in terms of military strategy, as if we were a legion forming up to march on war.   They were waiting for the optimum force, the momentum required to deflect incursions of police officers and irate taxi drivers alike.

More still appeared to regard it as some sort of religious fervor.   A collective thought, like a species of hysteria building to its ultimate crescendo.   Sound systems, lashed to the back of bicycles, fed the infectious atmosphere which spread through the mass of people.   The acoustics of the bridge over our heads helped to amplify the chatter of cyclists.   Something invisible indeed seemed to be taking hold of the crowd.

Riding into the Rain.

Whatever Critical Mass might be, it eventually arrived.    At some imperceptible cue, the procession began to move.   The mass drifted at a relaxed pace towards the deadlocked carnage of Waterloo roundabout at rush-hour.   What possible results could be expected to follow?   Lycra clad limbs twisted into impossible shapes, bicycle frames contorted and wheels brutally despoked.

Despite these fears, at the point of collision, the unseen force of Critical Mass was clearly manifest.   Hundreds of cyclists merged recklessly with the traffic but each infernal machine, despite growling engines, seemed inexplicably defanged.   The hidden masters behind these behemoths goaded them into viciousness with no avail.   Horns sounded furiously but the cars sat like beached whales behind a wave of cyclists.   Occasionally these drivers would reveal themselves and hurl expletives at some straggler who, with a burst of speed, would swoop like a sparrow back into the flock.

So we were off, gathering cyclists as we went, while the diffuse consciousness of the crowd spontaneously determined our route.    The police were noticeably absent from the whole proceeding.   Previously they have harassed cyclists and thrown them into armoured vans, using minor misdemeanors as an excuse for aggression.   It is possible that they had a lucid moment of common sense and realized that running around with bright yellow uniforms and truncheons might be antagonistic in itself.   Conspiratorial talk from some cyclists cast innocent eccentrics as cunningly disguised policemen.   Alternatively, perhaps the authorities felt that there wouldn’t be any cyclists to police in the rain.   Either way it made the ride considerably more pleasant.

The mass was not restrained by roads, as a mere car might be, and it often took to pedestrian areas.   It turned monuments into sudden roundabouts and indoor shopping malls to chaos (to the horror of impotent security guards).   At one point, much to my confusion, every cyclist stopped and got off their bikes.   They then turned around almost in unison and started cycling the other way.   The front of the procession wasn’t in sight and the reason for this u-turn is still a mystery.

Every time a junction was reached, cyclists peeled off from the mass and used their bikes to block the road.   These human barriers served the important function of preventing cars from pushing in halfway through the procession.   This would be a dangerous place to have an impatient motorist and would have undermined the strength in numbers.   The tactic did leave individual cyclists vulnerable to the wrath of drivers.   Once or twice this came close to inspiring physical violence on the part of motorists.   On other occasions however, it simply provided an opportunity for good natured discussion between those on two wheels and those on four.   While some were unable to contain their fury at having to drive slowly for five minutes, many drivers seemed to see the spectacle as something colourful and fun to break up the endless commute.

What is achieved?

The whole experience was certainly entertaining (for bemused spectators and for those involved), but why are all these people careering around the capital, causing chaos and gratuitously angering motorists?   The answer to this question is different for every participant.    Indeed, as a confluence of individuals instead of an organized march, it circumvents many of the laws surrounding protests and requires no preset route.

The event has the straightforward and obvious benefit of getting lots of people on their bikes.   It gets them all fit and generally makes them happy.   It has more subversive strengths in that it highlights the sheer impatience that driving in London seems to generate.   Ironically, people who are obsessed with getting places fast, don’t seem to feel like they have any time to spare at all.

Finally, with its party atmosphere, the critical mass bike ride creates a suitably bizarre spectacle.   It raises the profile of the neglected cyclist on the roads of the capital.   While the car has been bequeathed hundreds of miles of perfect tarmac, cyclists are all but ignored by motorists and town planners alike.   Critical Mass forcibly takes some of the power back into the hands of the self propelled minorities.

Unfortunately, although probably inevitably, this post has failed to capture the exact atmosphere of a Critical Mass bicycle ride.   If you have reached the end of this article and you are still confused, perhaps more confused than when you began, there is an easy solution.   The last Friday of this month, clear your diary, ensure your bike is in a reasonable working order and pack your panniers with a poncho.   Then you too can set out on a surreal meander through central London and judge the Critical Mass phenomenon for yourself.   You might find that you have fun and it is just possible that it might even be sunny.

Lost in the Hills.

Nepal’s fledgling tourist industry has been hampered by political unrest and some immense obstacles to infrastructure development (largely consisting of the Himalayas).   Surprisingly this has not halted the development of a sophisticated tourist trap.   The country has two major cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara.   Within the prescribed ‘tourist areas’ of these cities, most western luxuries can be had and local chefs will take a vague stab at cuisine from almost anywhere in the world.   This is even true of some of the more established trekking routes.   If you wish to gorge on apple pie at soaring altitudes, the Everest or Annapurna treks are for you.

Thankfully, however, for those seeking a relatively unadulterated experience of Nepalese culture, the tourist route is extremely narrow.   Neither tourism nor the money it generates has diffused even a short way from the few more accessible destinations.   This means that it is refreshingly easy, at the expense of some discomfort, to escape the beaten track.

Once even a short way from the whirlwind of touts and tourist tat, it seems several worlds away.   Nepal is a rural nation, where tarmac roads are making their first intrusions and modernity is in many ways kept at bay.   The few roads that have been carved from the landscape generally balance precariously alongside dramatic precipices.   Valley bottoms are littered with the remains of wayward juggernauts and any accident brings the traffic to a halt for hours.

Despite the increased urban influx of the past few decades, many Nepali people still live in the villages where they were born.   Many (of the older generation in particular) will have never been further than the nearest town.   The isolation of these communities breeds resilience.   Traditional, organic farming practices have been upheld and a diverse repository of local knowledge is still treasured.   Most journeys are still made by foot, using paths worn into the landscape by centuries of use.   While Nepal is in many ways outward looking and international, rural Nepal has been relatively insulated from external influences.   If you ask local kids what their favourite food might be, it is always Dal Bhat, the simple rice and lentil dish, eaten twice a day, every day of their lives.

Beyond the end of the road.

Picture 297 (800x600)Sitting in the suburbs of England, it is difficult to stress quite how remote rural Nepal can be.   During a recent trip, I spent several weeks living and working on a farm in the central hilly region of the country.   I had just finished working for a rural development charity in India and hoped for a more direct experience of subsistence farming.   My aim was to observe and learn but also to participate in daily life and contribute my labour.   The convoluted journey required to reach the village where I was to stay is a good illustration of the distances and obstacles involved in simply getting around.

Public transport in Nepal is generally fairly treacherous and unfortunately, to reach my destination, I had to take several buses.   My journey coincided with the end of a 3 day strike (The ‘Maoist’ party periodically shut the country down in the name of the poor).   This meant everyone who would have been traveling on the previous three days were also on my bus.   Rather miraculously, the bus was judged by the driver to be full.   I wasn’t previously aware that this concept existed in Nepal.   Loading buses is like an extremely sweaty, 3 dimensional version of Tetris.   The bus conductor orchestrates the whole thing by scrambling over and under people to physically rearrange them.   On this occasion the conductor had reached the limits of his expertise.
This was not deemed to be a problem.   On top of the bus (and in turn, on top of a metre high layer of stacked luggage), there was room for a whole extra bus load.   Thus I travelled for 6 hours, precariously balanced on top of a bus, on top of a pile of luggage, with 40 other people, along some highly unstable mountain roads.   When you are clinging on for dear life and there is a sharp drop either side (as well as some great views), pot holes become more than a mere discomfort.

This was all fine; we slowly climbed up from the flat Terrai zone bordering India into the higher altitude of western Nepal.   The temperature gradually dropped and everyone managed to wedge themselves a little more securely as the journey went on.   A healthy sense of camaraderie developed.   The only issue was the police.   The Nepali police are not so convinced of the safety of loading luggage racks with people.   As a result, every time we came to a police checkpoint we had to take evasive action.   40 people had to climb off the roof and take a short cut off road.   We would then rejoin the bus (which only ever deigned to slow down for everyone to clamber up) after it was safely through the checkpoint.

Unfortunately just as we were almost at our destination, the police outwitted us with a mobile inspection post.   This meant everyone had to climb down and wait an hour for the bus driver to come to an ‘arrangement’ with the kind police officers.   After they had been given a suitable fine/beer money, they were extremely accommodating and allowed us to carry on.   The only catch was that, at least to create the appearance of safety (presumably to their superior officers), we all had to fit inside.   This was possibly even more dangerous than before, with everyone packed in so tightly that movement was impossible.

When I finally arrived in the general area of my destination, I found a hotel/house to sleep in.   It was a pretty tiny village which didn’t have any real facilities and was very surprised to have a tourist.   The next day, after some inquiry, I found I had the wrong telephone number for my host (who was still 45 minutes away by white knuckle jeep taxi and then an hours walk).   Thankfully, by determinedly drinking chai and making use of the information that naturally flowed my way, I found several people who knew him.   I was also rather forcibly adopted by a retired Gurkha and his wife, who kindly insisted on paying for my accommodation and sorted out the jeep for me.   After becoming on first name terms with most of the village (and even being taken to meet the local holy man who proudly harbored a pair of red sandals worn by the Hindu goddess Devi in his little shrine/hut) in the space of half a day, I was loaded on to a jeep and sent on my way.   On arrival at the end of the road, I made a whole new set of very excitable friends who, on account of it getting dark, gave me a lift, as far as was possible, on a moped.  After another very bumpy journey, I was close!   I managed to meet my host and he showed me the rest of the way on foot.

Hardship and Riches.

The village in which I had arrived is called Jharket, a collection of houses spread sporadically over a hillside with plots of farmland at precarious angles.   It is a 45 minute hike and a wade across a sizable river to get to the local shop (impossible in the rainy season).   To the nearest secondary school it is a full hour up hill (a mountain by the standards of any other country).   The village has no electricity and the nearest hospital is several hours away.

Picture 290 revisedDespite the porous soil and steep slopes, the village generates enough food to feed itself, although some farmers do migrate for work during the harder months.   Excess produce is often carried by foot to the nearest market, although it is more commonly traded with neighbours.   A close-knit community and an informal system of mutual giving ensures that nobody goes hungry.   There is a deep sense of pride concerning this way of life, kept alive through generations of each family.

However, the labour involved in sustaining a smallholding on this marginal land is grueling.   The working days are long, from first light to sunset, on two basic meals each day.   For my host and his wife; a couple in their 40s, supporting several children through school, this workload clearly took a toll on their health.   Mechanisation doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone in the more remote hilly areas.   The only bit of outside technology which I saw was a hand powered fan, for winnowing wheat, which had broken 15 years ago.

As a result, everything is done entirely by hand.   The wheat harvest for example, begins using sickles in the heat of the day and tying the crop into bushels.   The bushels are then gathered into piles.   These are carried off the fields using a traditional Nepali sling, which is balanced on the forehead (this is more ergonomic than you would imagine, although you do end up with a very itchy back from abrasive chaff).   The wheat is then threshed; which involves vigorously smashing each bushel on a large flat stone.   The light chaff is winnowed out using the wind and finally, the grain is ground into flour using an old hand powered grind stone.    Partaking in the harvest was, for me, a steep learning experience.  Quite a lot of the village turned up and looked greatly edified at the westerner, tottering up mountain paths with 30 bushels of wheat on his head.

In order to take the edge off the relentless nature of the work, any break is often enriched with a good glass of topi, the local rice based liquor.  Thus I found myself, sitting in the sun, swigging extremely lumpy fermented rice (somewhere between rice pudding and saki), in the company of some extremely formidable old women.   The women in the village did a large proportion of the hard labour.   By the time they reach pensionable age they have been ground down to a lean mix of muscle, sharp gossip and an unquenchable appetite for topi.   I certainly wouldn’t like to pick a fight with one.

In contrast to these sinuous old women, the children in the village spent every possible hour of freedom playing in the fast flowing river that runs near the village.   Diving for pebbles and chasing each other through the current like a bevy of otters.   Childhood is valued highly in a community where later life brings hardship and responsibility.   Every child, if sometimes a little reluctantly, took advantage of the nearest school.   Families dedicated their little excess income to this end, hoping for a better life for their children.

The pull of the City.

Bhim, my host, embodies many of the issues which Nepal, as a country, now faces.

He is a clever and dignified man, who had been educated and worked as a science teacher in the nearest large town.   However when his parents died, he was duty bound to return and tend the family farm.   He expressed sincere pride in his simple way of life as well as a strong sense of belonging, tied to the land and to the community.   He knew not only his immediate neighbours but also exactly how his family has been associated with their ancestors for generations.Picture 280 (600x800)

And yet despite this understanding, perhaps because of it, he clearly felt the pull of the city.   He saw with sadness, that if his son is to have a higher standard of living in the future, he will have to sacrifice this traditional lifestyle and the intangible wealth that goes with it.   Every evening, when the light had faded and the work was finished, he would sit beneath the stars, hunched over a battered old radio, listening to distant, crackly voices from Kathmandu.

It must be said that by the time of my own return to Kathmandu, I had developed a greater appreciation of its (occasionally) warm showers and pseudo-western food.   After a month of rising with the sun and working in the fields, I was more than ready to indulge in a little modernity.   Following a prolonged period without even the distant rumble of an engine, it was a shock to battle the chaotic congestion and dust clouds of the capital.   Sitting in a noisy bar, sipping a slightly toxic approximation of lager, it was difficult to connect with the rural tranquility of the past weeks.   Not so many miles away, families were living much as they had for centuries.

The people of Nepal have inherited a wealth of traditional knowledge and deeply felt community ties.    However, these are not easily separated from considerable hardships and uncertainties.     The challenge for the future is for Nepal to develop without compromising the resilience and riches generated by the subtle, diverse fabric of its society.

See Also: http://benjaminredmond.co.uk/2016/08/22/a-farmer-in-darkness/