‘I have no words to express how I am feeling right now…Its just like coming back to mother and moving into its tender hug’ My Grandfather said with utter excitement and Nostalgia..Me,my father and grandfather gazed at the ploughed up field with contentment. We had taken a decision of bringing our old ancestral land into cultivation nearly after 60 years .
Much of the land in our village is in the patches of rocky grasslands. And rest is ether a forest or a tropical plantation. However there are certain patches of a good soil on grasslands where one can carry out farming activities. In the old times, there were many such paddy fields. The Farming used to be rewarding enough to feed all the family members as all of them used to contribute.
The farming activity in our village always begins with festive spirit. All the farmers celebrate it on the wake of Monsoon by feasting on a Mutton Rassa and Bhat or Bhakri.Generally the event is organized on the first day of Mruga Nakshatra.(nakshatra means a constellation or certain pattern of stars causing certain conditions)..There is also a cottage called Mruga in a farmstay as all the cottages are named after rainy season constellations. The whole event of this feast is called ‘Mirag’.We thought of celebrating our traditional ‘Mirag’ to rekindle those old beautiful memories of My Grandfather.
We organized a small picnic for all the fellow workers right in our field. Everyone was eager and enthusiastic as it was our new start. We cooked right next to the farm which is beautifully surrounded by a forest. The cooking started with decent preparation such as making small chulla of laterite rock and preparing a small shade of coconut leaves to cover it. The heaven showered a rain in between which was bliss.
After a long wait the food was ready. The curry cooked on wood fire looked delicious. The reddish dark colour of the Rassa seemed inviting. We grabbed few ‘chandiwada’ tree leaves from the wild and used it as a plate. My grandfather says that such leaves were in great use in his childhood to wrap onion pakoda and to parcel any such relevant snack. Even the game like wild boar used to be paraded in a whole village after hunting and the meat used to wrapped in chandiwada leaves to distribute it among all the villagers. Any food item wrapped in such leaves tastes delightfully awesome.
The meal triggered few pleasant nostalgic conversations with each mouthful. It was truly divine experience to celebrate a meal with Panchatatwas(The Water, Air, Fire, Earth and Sky) which is the real driving force of a life. The reason why the ‘Maachli Farmstay’ is called experiential comes from this feeling of subtle connection.
The next day our farming activity started with a great enthusiasm. Each day unfolded beautiful moments. The Guests at Maachli willingly visited the place to experience farming. Its less about working in the fields but more about feeling of being Son of a Soil.