Sunday, June 06, 2010

March 2009

Visit to Kalyanpur
While Appa was in Bangalore, Amma and I continued our exploration of the hinterlands around Ambikapur. The highlight in March 2009 was that of a visit to the village of Kalyanpur near Ambikapur. We saw fields of sugar-cane, stacks of sugar-cane, hills of haystacks, farmhouse with cows, goats, hens and buffaloes. A highlight of that visit was understanding the jaggery process: The sugarcane was first crushed to extract juice, juice boiled in huge vats and then balls of jaggery were made. The ladies in charge of the juice boiling department were constantly on their toes trying to prevent me from swimming in the concentrated sugarcane juice. They were saying in their Surgujya dialect "Arre o babu.. kudh jaye ho tho gud ban jaye ho (English translation - Hey kid.. don't jump.. or else you'll become jaggery).
Having come to a farmhouse, like every self-respecting kid from Singapore, I was expecting to see Barney there with his jingles and was very disappointed when I could not find him.
I also saw huge mounds of potatoes and I had fun sleeping on all those potatoes. The fields and the vegetables were so green. There was also a ride on a tractor. All this was capped off with a nice-little bath at an irrigation-pump delivering water to the fields. I saw a cow doing haggu in the open and I asked Amma why these cows didn't go to the loo to go about their business.
And then there was Holi. It was a huge difference from staid Singapore where you may get fined for throwing colors or colored water on assorted strangers. Out in Ambikapur, Holi is a spectacle. I was busy collecting pichkaris and colors and then making the holika in the street along with the other boys. Holika-dahan where the stack of all the wood and sticks and leaves and other assorted flammable material were finally burnt was a great deal of fun. The next day, we played holi from 7 am to 7 pm with both colored water with pichkaris and dry colors 'gulal'. The mystery to me was why everyone were shouting 'holi hai' (it is holi) when everyone knew that it was holi. Tag this to the list of unexplainable human eccentricities!!!

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