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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

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bringing Mud back event at Chetpet, 11/12 June 2016 -Hero of the day!

The recent “bringing mud back” event organized by OFM at the Tre OFM, Chetpet was a nice hit. Ofcourse it was a very lively and refreshing thought (full credit to Rekha and Partha) to bring the mud back..and to envisage taking earthen cookwares, terracotta jewelry and to let kids (& elders) to try their hands on the potters wheel, literally was something fantastic..

To complement this was the sales of native seeds, organic food, kambu n ragi koozh, organic traditional snacks (kamarkat, millet laddus etc), drinks like herbal tea, panagam, cashew milk butter milk, coconut milk (for the vegans, ahem..) and the all organic bajjis n was all lipsmacking and fabulous..

No wonder this was a big hit..and it attracted so many people..the number of calls received by us has been phenomenal..esp from other parts asking how to conduct one such event in their place..atleast 10 people have vouched to conduct such an event.. what more can one ask for..and many will take to buying terracotta products - for their own benefit and also to support such livelihoods.
But its not such a romantic story all the way.. the potter Arjunan who was brought with his potters wheel (and his products) was a magician without a wand..he could make what ever with mud in no time.. when one of us tried and failed and others laughed, he casually remarked- I got scoldings and smashing from my father for 6 months to make one ‘vilakku’ (lamp!) don’t make an issue guys he said with a smile..
On Day 2, our Arjunan asks for a few mins off saying he has to go out and come..for what we asked and he says ‘ he wants to buy a dress’..and even before we could be happy thinking shud we get him a Tula, he says, he wants to buy a security dress..WHAT? yes security dress bcos he has decided to quit pottery and wants to go for an interview the next day (in the city!) to get a security job..
how sad..and we cant do anything..thats exactly what is happening to so many of them..they are just vanishing from rural India to get in to those cooler climes – the ATMs and STPs as dignity, not enough money, the perils of urban poor- we might all think..but the reality is starker than all these my friends..
( let me digress a bit here: a small take about the real India that is Bharat! This man when he was given more than what we had spoken as a fee for his 2 days ‘training’ at the exhibition, was very reluctant to take more than what we had spoken. We were so happy with his work and wanted to give him more, but he was so reluctant..and then  he removes 2 hundred rupees notes and gives it to the 2 kids of the ‘host’..thats  Rural India for you..its always about giving..and it never about deeper greed..)
And we OFMers are yet to come out of it..but that’s the reality.. a couple of years back when we wanted to find a potter with a bigger wheel to  make a big pot for a farm near Maduranthagam, we had to vist more than a dozen villages to spot one..and its only dwindling..and where will we go, once we realize its importance..not just to save or better those livelihoods but to have such fantastic products for our own selfish uses?
Did you know? There is 100% nutrition retention for all food cooked in earthen pot wares? Did you know the big rich oligarchs eat our of terracotta utensils & tavas? Did you know that even in a hot furnace like Chennai the food remains good till next day if cooked in mud pot? Have u tasted dal or rice or curd made in eatherwares? (talk of nutrition- the nutrition retention for stainless steel and aluminium is less than 20% and there goes ur cooker..and what of Teflon and indoliums? Oh better not to talk )
So this event was about bringing mud back to make nice products, dirty our hands, pain in pots, make/buy terracotta jewelry and also buy the range of cook wares that were present..after all its for our health and taste..that many understood and so picked up lots..
No its not over yet..
I have another story here..remember, I was talking of the many people who came and called us..of those who came, there were many interesting folks..there is something with the tamil film industry villains and their goodness..almost all of them have been ardent supporters of organic movement (starting from our inimitable Nasser to pasupathy to kishore) today it was Yog’s time (yes that  well built, frightful bad cop in suthu kavvum!). he was there appreciating all the products and food and spoke so well about the importance of the stuff and he and his family has been ardent organic consumers..apparently his mom is a good cook who takes cooking classes esp on millets cooking! Wow..
there were so many nice people like that who came there..
But my pick of the lot is Dr Abraham from Kodur (cuddappa dist)..This dentist is a real freak! He came with a potter from his village whom he has been supporting for some years now and help selling his products. So his interest in to earthen wares has been very high and he was kicked about such an event. Incidentally this  doctor, gives away millet packets to all his customers when they come in the first time with a pamphlet and urges them to go for millets. He pushes them to throw a millet party or atleast distribute millet payasam to their neighbours and spread the message:-) he also talks organic..he has helped this potter (who came along) to fire 3 kilns and helps him sell all products locally! He has even asked him to make fish trays, and many fanciful items..such a colourful doctor..who lives in the beautiful seshachalam vallaey..enabling such good deeds apart from his profession and grounded in his village!
Such events always throws up fantastic people and colourful personalities..this one is so special isn’t?
He is my hero of the day! Dare to differ?

(PS: all our events it was a plastic and litter free event! no flex..see those beautiful cloth banners..another livelihood consciously bettered by us! and with all these food and sales of produce no plastic cover! our events these days are zero waste events! yes we are very proud!)