The Tharavad

go The twelve months of the year, were divided into the wet, damp months of the monsoons and the dry, hot months of summer. The seven day week, started with a Sunday, when they went to Church and ended on a Saturday, when they got ready to go to Church. Everything started and ended in the Church, the pivot of their lives.

source url There were no Clocks to tell the time. Nature did. The Cock and his crow decided when it was morning. The shadows of sunset and the grate of the crickets decided when it was evening. The rest of the hours were occupied by chores, that often bordered on the repetitive and the tedious.

see url For directions, they went back to the sun. Everyone, knew which side the sun rose and which side the sun set. North and south were easy after that. If your right hand pointed towards Sunrise, your left would point towards Sunset and your Nose would point North.

see url The homestead, set in a rice field, was a red brick house with an open courtyard in the centre, which looked up at the skies to let in air, sunshine and rain. The sloped roof, held up by wooden rafters, allowed the monsoon rains to beat on the red tiles, before it slid off the edge as a sheet, to splash on the gravel below. A wrap-around verandah ran almost completely around the house, as a thin boundary between the Inside and the Outside.

source site A wooden staircase started in the dining room and climbed precariously up to disappear into a dark wooden loft, perched on the top of the house, which served as a store. The children loved the rickety steps. It was technically out of bounds, potentially dangerous and it opened up all sorts of exciting possibilities. They would sneak up to play in the loft and sometimes, they would curl up and fall asleep in its cozy warmth, to be rescued only at mealtimes, when the head count found them missing.

rencontre avec femmes beninoises The busiest part of the house was the kitchen, a large room at the back overlooking the courtyard where the kids played. Only when the house went to sleep, did the kitchen go quiet. Otherwise, it buzzed with activity, traffic, smells and smoke. There was always a meal to be done and mouths to feed. The kitchen was the hub of the house. Washing up after a meal, was never a problem, even when the pack count was high, as they usually ate out of bio-degradable banana leaves. After use, these were thrown in a heap outside, for the crows and dogs to shred, before they became compost for the fields. The firewood stove sat on the eastern side of the kitchen, to face the sunshine that flooded in and sanitised the kitchen, as it came alive in the morning. Near the entrance facing the courtyard, stood a large earthen pitcher on a wooden stool. Every morning, it was filled with buttermilk, watered deliciously thin and flavoured with green curry leaves, pink shallots and amber coloured slivers of ginger. A refreshing cooler, for the dusty family that traipsed back in for lunch and a welcome drink, for the visitors who passed through the little house by the canal, near the banyan tree. Each household had a labour task force of men and women who worked in the fields to bring in the grain. The landed gentry would have starved, if these mere mortals were not on their payroll. Unfortunately, despite their utility, the labourers were treated as untouchables at best .

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