Monday, August 24, 2015

Mungaaru-the monsoon gathering

Monsoon. Thats what mungaaru means. We'd scheduled 

the mungaaru gathering for the 

“Independence day” weekend. And as much as anyone can quarrel with the idea of nation 

state no one can help loving the idea of freedom and growth that this weekend can birth. 

After all a bunch of city folk are going to disconnect their devices, plant some trees, 

transplant paddy and play kabbadi in a small rural area of Uttara Kannada- Angadibail.

Angadibail is lush and cacophonous, especially at night. The cycle 

of life in full glory. A perfect place to learn to surrender to life and be glad. A perfect time to 

do it. In Angadibail, this mungaaru we had so much to be glad for...

NEW things... OLD things... FAMILIAR things... MUDDY things... WILD things...

Late buses and multiple arrivals

No cell phone network

Changes in plans and flexible 


Carrying tree saplings  

    Planting them


Bathing in the waterfall and 


Fireflies, pill insects, tadpoles in 

pools of 

mud and croaking frogs.

Beera ..

The crazy goats.

Kabaddi matches and kabaddi 

players of all 

shapes, sizes and talents

Smiles and laughs;

People who know the rules and

people who 

don't. The referees

Transplanting paddy 

People who know how and who

 can teach you

Changing designs in the fields

A tiller, a scared cow and a 

human being 

doing the work of a bullock

Singing while you work

Mud fights

Aching muscles and happy 


Adults yak yak yakking

Children playing, adults playing. 

Children working   adults working

Made up games


Strains of the flute filling the air.

Night walks and sudden showers

Soap nut soap and Hemakka's tooth powder

Stone ground chutney

Serving lunch and being served

Kotte kadabu, ragi and rice rotis\

Wild colocasia leaf chutney and fig vegetable.

Kokum saplings to take home.

Leaf plates and a running stream for washing up

Dry firewood

Warm dry beds

Farewell hugs

Missing buses and drivers to catch up.

Next year to look forward to...

----Neesha Norohna

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kokum Harvest at Angadibail Forest-2015


 The day began with so much enthusiasm, a drive from the bus-stop till the forest center woke up everyone :) 
Followed by breakfast, made with love. 
Soon after a short break and letting them indulge into the forest vibe, we got to a brief introduction and the flow of the weekend.
“Few people meet first time, they feel that meeting each other was the purpose of their life.” 

 Sun kissed walks, climbing trees, and a lot of bonding.

 The participants were divided into 3 different groups (for fun) and to ensure everyone learns to work as a community.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” 
― Helen Keller


The process began with drinking some freshly made Kokum juice by Hema akka :)

The next step was to segregate the ripe and good fruits, beware of the worms that are hidden. The groups, got down to work at once. After the segregation each fruit were to be wiped clean.

The next step was to further divide the fruit and segregate the pulp and shell for the Kokum preserve.
“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.” 

After the separation, the Kokum fruit shells were smothered in sugar and directed put into sun dried clean glass jars. One big jar for each group.

After the main one was done each group was allowed to experiment with the Kokum shella and add any other ingredient apart from sugar.

This was a very exciting experiment, group 1. decided to add palm jaggery, salt and lime.
Group 2. added dried red chillies, jaggery, green chilli and lime. 
Group 3 added lime, cinnamon, jaggery, kokum juice, some kokum shells and pepper and lemon seeds.
After all the fun work together in the summer-ness, a well deserved treat was up ahead.

 Soon after lunch we got introduced to our tribe scholars Hanmi (river tribe) who shared and taught her beautiful art form to the participants.

Simultaneously, Subbi akka (forest tribe) who taught some of us to weave baskets from a creeper that grows in the forest. 

A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. 

There was so much knowledge exchanged, 
questions, stories, experiences...
language issues, laughter.
Yes it was as fun as you think!

Soon everyone set off on a time for themselves, group walks, explorations, bonding and being one with forest.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 
                                                                      ― John Muir

Slowly the night crept in, and we sat under the moonlit sky, chatting with our forest friends, and also shelling the Kokum seeds for another process the following day.
“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” 
                                                               ― Lemony Snicket

An adventurous trip to Yana cave temple. 
The day followed by with an introduction to the making of Kokum butter which is widely used for health and skin related remedies.

Soon after a delicious lunch, the process of weaving cane basket was taught by Ramachandra Bhattru.

The day followed by us having lots to share and circle time where we spoke about all the seamless journeys, the authenticity, no boundaries, a lot of space and the most important a major learning.
The weekend ended with a lot of smiles, a Kokum recipe handmade book, jars of kokum and a bag full of memories.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 
                                                                  ― Benjamin Franklin

Traditional Baskets and other weaving crafts with natural fibers in Uttara Kannada-western Ghat region

  While  weaving craft with natural fibers  is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say j...