Surpassing any other local food combination rice& curry has become a peculiar meal in countries like England. But the story of rice is much more robust in the Asian sub continent where people have majority meals around rice preparations. Global popularity of rice hasn’t come as a surprise, yet there’s so much more excitement to a rice harvest for the rural population. Our tropical regions produce nutritious and tasty varieties of rice through out the year, depends on favourable weather conditions of the region.
In the past annual harvest meant much more than gaining a sacred cellar full of rice, it was the season of festivities and games. Also there was harmony since the whole society joined hands to thank Nature. Men and women worked together in getting the paddy reaped for an exciting sequence of transforming golden grains into our favourite rice, kids also used to take part by helping or leap into wet fields to play natural games. In the rhythm of monsoon showers, soaked with mud on their wet bodies, walking with the upbeat folklore, farmers used to carry bundles of paddy for separating the grains with their dancing legs later in the night.
We had fond memories of sleepless nights during harvest seasons, enjoying fun filled evenings with interactions with all local people and delicious rice kanji with seasonal delicacies specially prepared during this occasion. People appreciated the sense of responsibility and kids grew up together with out religious or material differences. But today situation has changed, agriculture has become a farmer’s business and unbearable cost and lack of enthusiasm decides the outcome of every harvest.
There’s a reason for touching the rice story, as part of this year’s harvest we are celebrating the true layers of harvest’s beautiful process at Rasa Gurukul, to show the world how significant it is for the future generation to experience all the ancient rituals in agricultural practices. While lot of us live far away from the source and rely on supermarkets to supply our food ingredients, kids are completely missing out on the importance of their connection with Nature and in particular farmers who are pillars of our food chain. Huge number of passionate, small farmers are going through a tough time, isolation and price wars, accumulated debts and lastly changing weather patterns. Its very important to mobilise young population of the country to recognise and appreciate the contributions of our agro community.
A significant item of the 24 hours long festival on the 16th September 2017 is playing in watery paddy field after the harvest. Recently a group of tourists were taken to show the location in the wet fields where spectators will have an opportunity to play with local people. All the young people jumped in to the wet land and had a blissful feel of mud bath, apparently it was unbelievable fun for them that they came out only after 5 hours and looked very happy with the whole experience. That was good enough example to see how young people are prepared to experiment and feel comfortable in an old tradition, it’s a just matter of holding their hands and walking down to a village where life’s still simple and unchanged.
History of a rice fields talks so much about the beauty of our villages and harvest always brought the most memorable moments of life. Whilst saving most of the crops for their own consumption, families equally shared with workers and poor neighbours. Looking at the bright blue sky, feeling the relief after a moderate monsoon. Nanu, a veteran farmer and folklore performer kept on singing loud gazing at the first flowers of our rice shrub. He said,” we will have a good harvest and fantastic payasam (rice pudding) after the 24-hour long celebration in this field, a much awaited journey back to my childhood”.