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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cumbum, Theni & around

A close friend hailing from Cumbum built a house (or was it a palace?) and invited us to stay there and offered to take us around. U get a place to stay, place to hog sooper home food and also he takes u around..any body in their senses wud have grabbed this and so did we:-) But am not going to write about their fantastic hospitality or the great food or how big and practical his house was..

He shud be a lucky chap to live in such a green place..filled with oxygen..the tamil month of aadi known for its wind was making a mark there and the whole surrounding was awesome..what more can one ask for when Kumili/thekkadi is just less than half hour journey from one’s home; theni, bodi, suruli also same time..
man! the whole route to all these locations was wonderful..very fertile lands all around Cumbum and the walks on the ‘varappus’ of the fields were a high point of my life..add one more- the fantastic bath we had in the Suruli falls – torrential fall I shud say and u wud feel like a public bash ( rough translation of dharma adi) or gush of violent massage..but an out of the world feeling..even if u do away with my unique experience said in the next para, it’s a must go/visit may not be very tourist friendly but one can stay in the typical small town hotels (if u r not as lucky as me to have a friend there) and go around..worth it!

We walked thru the fields and along the various very well planned irrigation canals, trekked in the hills above the falls, saw lots of inimitable n distinctive innovations to choo away birds from their crops. It was mostly paddy and coconuts all over, but the locals out there seem to be very daring and adventurous. They had variety of plants like cauliflower, cabbage, potato even grapes – absolutely alien to their land! Ofcourse so much of cardamom on the kerala side.We visited a grapes farm and it looked so neat and almost native, where as we were informed its only in the past few years they r growing grapes there. But, its not a cash crop. These farmers are paid Rs3/- (yes, three Rs.. sic) for a KG and we at the cities buy them by paying 10 times more. one more example of the 'middle man' enjoying the whole fruit (pun unintended). On questioned why they still continue inspite of the lack of viability, he said – we don’t know any thing else and we need to do something right? I was too dumbfolded to argue.
What stood out was a very stylish way of using the catapult and sling hand made clay balls to keep away the mainas which will destroy one full vineyard in an hour, though it does not eat the grapes! Perils of growing foreign (non-local)crops,hmmm..We went arnd and met more farmers and learnt some valuable lessons.

Update: I forgot to mention having witnessed the pumping of pesticide on to the grapes in the vineyard. man, it was like schwarzenegger was holding on to one of those big time AK47s and much being pumped on those grapes. so for a second time in my life, vouched not have grapes any more. the amount of synthetic chemical they paste on it, hmm..



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