Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wisdom stories from the Western Ghats Forests - dhik balli

It was the month of July,  Heavy monsoon time in the Western Ghat forests. Eshwaranna was busy in preparing paddy field with 2 more workers in our Angadibail forest . 

I was watching them from the distance . I saw Eshwaranna coming towards me holding something in his hand. It looked like a lump of sticky soil in his hand.
He showed me this damp moist soil  and asked me  to see closely "ಅಕ್ಕ ನೋಡಿ  ಇದಕ್ಕೆ  ದಿಕ್ ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಅಂತಾರೆ   - " akka ! see it is called dhik balli."

Balli in kannada means a thin rope, a thread or a creeper .ದಿಕ್ಕು(dikku) means direction. I was expecting a green colour creeper plant which may be like a compass - showing direction. To my surprise I saw a thin white thread like thing was lying on that lump of wet soil.

Eshwaranna told me if anyone crossed over this balli / thread / creeper knowingly or unknowingly they will forget their way home. This was true for cows also. He said it is common in the village if someone loses his way home while coming from the western ghat thick forests  they tell that person that you must have crossed the dik balli. He was trying to convince me how powerful it is by telling me "while coming from our other mud house to here - to this house (2km distance ) I would lose my way and get confused if I crossed this balli" 
I told him with a smile "Ah! beautiful excuse for your forgetfulness."

However i decided to take photos of this dikballi -a strange thread kind of a 'thingy'!

I got my camera out and was focusing on this thread like thing.
To my surprise I noticed it slowly moving . I screamed "ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಈಶ್ವರಣ್ಣ ಇದು  ಬಳ್ಳಿ  ಅಲ್ಲ .. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ಜೀವ ಇದೆ ..ನೋಡು ಅಲ್ಲಾಡ್ತಾ ಇದೆ "( Eshwaranna!this is not a creeper it has got a life ..look!how it is moving slowly and entangling itself )"

Eshwaranna looked lost . I thought Eshwaranna also was noticing this for the first time so closely in a moving state .
Yes! it was alive. It was slowly tangling and entangling it self for hours. I felt as though it was moving nowhere. It was clueless, there was no direction whereas it was named as 'direction!'. May be people also got lost like this creature when they cross over it... becoming clueless...and i was observing it with astonishment . Esharanna said it will die if soil looses its moisture. I asked him to leave it where he found it from. I wondered what kind of wormy thread like creature it must be. 

How it looks :
It was   extremely long and thread-like. It was  15 to 20 cm . The body diameter is about the width of a very thin pencil lead or a thread like . It was white in color, and frequently  twisted and coiled like a discarded thread. It looked little lifeless when the moisture was drying  on that lump of soil .It was directionless meaning it was going nowhere. But it has a name  -ದಿಕ್ ಬಳ್ಳಿ (the rope/a creeper which shows you direction ) and if you cross over this creature you will lose your direction 

Link : BuDa folklore 

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