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Old 8th August 2011, 10:56   #16
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Fantastic pics Biju, it really brings back memories. I just get misty eyed thinking about my trips, enjoyed your pics immensely. I still love to travel by trains any day as opposed to flying but given a choice i would love to drive...

Yea and i know what you mean by saying that one can get roasted in summers travelling to Andhra, i did my PG studies in Rajamundry, AP, but it was here that the bug to travel and wander really bit me and have coasted up and down the Chennai - Howrah arm of the GQ many times on my trusted Bullet.
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Old 8th August 2011, 13:38   #17
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Excellent thread and nice pictures, feeling very nostalgic going through your posts. Time for another drive to home :-). I can relate to many things you have written! I am a fan of your posts in cooking thread and this one is even better !! kudos to you man, keep them coming.
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Old 8th August 2011, 16:13   #18
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

@biju superb post and its too good in gods own country
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Old 8th August 2011, 19:50   #19
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

@aryasanyal
@ZENnist
@rjstyles69
@AP
@PGNarain
@Latheesh
@hate_tar

Thank you for your kind comments. And I am glad if these pictures took some of you back to your childhood days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Latheesh View Post
Excellent thread and nice pictures, feeling very nostalgic going through your posts. Time for another drive to home :-). I can relate to many things you have written! I am a fan of your posts in cooking thread and this one is even better !! kudos to you man, keep them coming.
Latheesh, you are close enough to your home to make this trip more often. I am jealous of Keralites staying in Bangalore/Mysore since they are so much more closer to home.
I am feeling bad that I have not posted anything in the recipe section for such a long time. Been too lazy to write them, although I do have some recipes to share. Will do that as soon as time permits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
...I still love to travel by trains any day as opposed to flying but given a choice i would love to drive...
...
it was here that the bug to travel and wander really bit me and have coasted up and down the Chennai - Howrah arm of the GQ many times on my trusted Bullet.
Yes, one should travel by train occasionally. It is a different experience. Wow..Chennai-Howrah on a bullet. I have some fond memories of bullet too. Unfortunately never owned one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
Its RORO service of konkan railway.[ RORO= roll on roll off]
Trucks are loaded on rail carriages and transported to south or north of konakn rail tips which saves time and some fuel cost for truckers.
Thank you Ashish for this information.

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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
@biju - What is the funda behind all these loaded trucks on the rail wagons? Any idea if this was done because the roads were inundated or is this some regular occurance? I must admit i am seeing this sight for a first time.
Amit. I have seen it a few times. So I guess it is a regular phenomenon. The drivers and others in the truck acutally spent their time in the truck and do their cooking etc. on the train floor. I believe NH17 becomes really bad during the monsoons and this is a win-win situation for the railways and for the truckers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZENnist View Post
....
one of the things i would like to add to the list about rain, is the smell of soil after the first rain. oooh, that's so lovely.
....
and then there are these flies that come out after the first rain...not sure what you call them in english..it's called 'eeyaam paatta' or 'eeyal'. they get attracted to light and used to fill the rooms in hundreds. we used to switch off lights in the rooms so that they stay outside. our cats used to have a gala time catching them.
...
I completely forgot about the smell of the earth after the first rain. They used to say that rabbits come out to eat the mud after the first rain.

And yes, I too remember our house being attacked by the eeyaam paattas. They would be all over the place. They sometimes appear here too in Pune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
...Those relentless rains, the lush green paddy fields , the steaming kattan kaapi(black coffee), the fisherman who brings his catch to your door from the backwaters.
....
Riju, I too (and my son) love kattan kaapi & tea. Even now sometimes I ask my wife to make them. Initially we had no cows at home and so it was always black coffee. Milk could not be afforded. And then even when we had cows at home, we were not too fond of drinking tea/coffee with milk. Somehow I have found black tea/coffee to be more refreshing than tea/coffee with milk.

I have to go out now. Could not post anything today while in office. I will be back by 10 and then post more pictures.
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Old 8th August 2011, 23:10   #20
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Biju - that discussion of eeyam pattas took me many years down the memory lane. I was always very unhappy for them, since they come towards light source with great vigour and dont know why they shed their wings. They used to the crawl on my text books, and I used to keep them safely on my table, only to see them helpless without their wings.

Waiting for the rest of the beautiful pictures
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Old 8th August 2011, 23:37   #21
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Paddy cultivation

Paddy cultivation is very labour intensive. In Kerala people cultivate this crop three times a year.

The process is quite simple.
  • Plough the field using buffaloes or oxen. This is done when the fields are dry.
  • Add water and plough again. And then flatten and smoothen the field using buffaloes or oxen.
  • Sow the seeds
  • Once the plants grows to a certain height above the water, pluck them and bundle them together.
  • Replant the rice plants keeping a certain healthy distance between each plant.
  • Let the plants grow
  • Drain the water off the fields
  • Harvest
    • Cut the plants from as close to the ground as possible
    • Tie them into small bundles
    • Tie the bundles into a large bundle.
    • Carry the bundle home
  • Seperate the rice grains with the husk from the plant
  • Seperate the chaff from the grains
  • Boil the rice with the husk in large vessels
  • Dry the grains
  • Take it to a mill and get the husk removed
All these sound simple. But you should get involved to understand how difficult it is.

The ploughing part is men's territory. But you need to first get the appointment with the buffaloes or oxen. Only a few households had them in our village. Then you search for men who can control these beasts and do the ploughing.

This is where we as kids used to have fun. Step into the mudd porridge and you sink into it upto your knees. We used to hunt for fish and something we used to call "Njavanikka" which was a kind of clam.

Seed sowing is also usually done by men. This is perhaps the easiest part of this whole process.

For us it was always my grandfather (mother's father) who would do this.

One then had to constantly monitor the water levels in the fields.

The next part of plucking the rice plants and replanting them used to be done by ladies. This is a backbreaking task. You have to be bending down the entire day to while doing this.

We had a few of our neighbours who also used to cultivate rice. And a few others who had no paddy fields. These were the people who would come to do this work.

Again the same story for harvesting. This is again usually done by the ladies.

In those days, each lady would be helped by her family members to cut and carry the paddy bundles back home. Then the threshing process will go on the whole night under petromax lights. There was no electricity in our village. We kids would watch them threshing which was a skilled job performed using the feet. There would be a lot of talk, black coffee and general fun.

At the end, the cleaned rice grains (with the husk) gathered by each family/person is measured and most of them would be paid in kind by giving them a portion of the rice grains.

It was a cyclical, never ending process through the year. My mother would help our neighbours. So there was mostly no outside labourers.

Slowly, people stopped paddy cultivation. It was difficult to get ladies to get this work done. As the older generation (my mother's) grew old and could not do the work as effectively as when they were young, they tried to get the next generation to do the same. But that was not to be. And soon everyone stopped the paddy cultivation. My village is nestled between two hill ranges. All along the valley people had paddy cultivation. Today only a small percentage of the valley is home to paddy cultivation.

Getting ready to replant the rice plants
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030442.jpg

Ploughing the fields
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030444.jpg

Replanted paddy plants
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030450.jpg

Replanting and ploughing in progress
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030452.jpg

Maintenance work
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030463.jpg

Weeding has to be done regularly
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030464.jpg

Eat all you can
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030458.jpg

And yes, we are still in the train
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030472.jpg

-To be contd.

Last edited by n_aditya : 9th August 2011 at 14:17. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 9th August 2011, 06:49   #22
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Biju - that discussion of eeyam pattas took me many years down the memory lane. I was always very unhappy for them, since they come towards light source with great vigour and dont know why they shed their wings. They used to the crawl on my text books, and I used to keep them safely on my table, only to see them helpless without their wings.

Waiting for the rest of the beautiful pictures
These are called flying termites or alates. They come out in swarms as soon as the first rains come to search for a new place to live and to mate. And they shed their wings after mating. So it looks that their wings are a short term feature of theirs just to help them move to a new location a little faster.

By the way, these termites are eaten by people in some countries.

================
Some of you know what this picture is about.
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030447.jpg

This is a large block of laterite rock. These are usually found along the coastal areas of Goa, Karnataka and and pretty much at all the places in Kerala. I am not sure if they are present at other places. This is rusty red in color because these rocks are rich in iron oxides.

Large bricks are cut of this and is used to build houses and boundary walls in these places. If you are lucky you can get enough bricks from your own land to build your house.

This looks like a Mangalore tile factory
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030457.jpg

And it is at a place that most of the people from Bangalore would have visited multiple times
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030455.jpg
Yes, Murdeshwar. See the statue and temple at the background.

Somewhere in Kerala or is it in Karnataka? I will look up the exif data to see where it was taken at.
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030476.jpg

River/backwaters and sea
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030478.jpg

I did not take pictures after this since it was getting dark and perhaps I was fast asleep on my berth.

But by night we reached home and the next few days all we had was this
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030628.jpg

-To be contd.

Last edited by pjbiju : 9th August 2011 at 07:13.
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Old 9th August 2011, 07:27   #23
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

@biju - You have mentioned that the paddy cultivation has stopped. Just curious to know what has it been replaced with now? Cash crops?
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Old 9th August 2011, 07:37   #24
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

@biju> Awesome photography. Loved reading the opening paras of your post. Monsoons are the best time to hit the road !
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Old 9th August 2011, 09:54   #25
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

@biju

Excellent narration and equally good photos to match it. Loved reading the log.

Rains surely does stir the inner soul
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Old 9th August 2011, 10:36   #26
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
@biju - You have mentioned that the paddy cultivation has stopped. Just curious to know what has it been replaced with now? Cash crops?
Amit, what has happened is this.

Some have changed the crops to coconut, tapioca, rubber, banana etc. But this means you should be able to stop the flow of water into the paddy fields or fill up the paddy fields by soil.

Some have filled up the paddy fields and converted them into housing plots. This is now not legal unless done with permission. Permission is required to lift soil from hills or other landmass.

Where water cannot be diverted or got rid of, people just stopped cultivation and left the fields to lie vacant.

Govt. is doing a half-hearted effort to revive this. Our own paddy cultivation has stopped because we simply could not get any labour. Today there are rubber trees in those 40 odd cents.

@nanduchitnis and Sachinj12. Thank you for your appreciation.

Last edited by pjbiju : 9th August 2011 at 10:38.
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Old 9th August 2011, 11:07   #27
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

^^Great account pjbiju!
While the pictures are great too, I appreciate more your efforts in capturing snapshots of a life that some of us have only heard of or seen during our travels. Country life is indeed challenging and I guess many of us are now opting to live the easy life. this is not wrong by itself but considering the change in dynamics, what would we eat if all of us decided to get into urban non agricultural jobs!
Anyway, I will rant about this later
Thanks again for the pics and childhood memories
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Old 9th August 2011, 12:17   #28
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Great TL and pics pjbiju, rating 5 stars!
Your long-bygone-monsoon-era rendering revoked a lot of childhood memories.
Pls do watermark your photos, they are all wallpaper material. Superb!
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Old 9th August 2011, 17:17   #29
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

Biju

Your narrations skills are superb. Adi poli.
While you took us with you on a journey in the train, you actually took us on a nostaligic journey from childhood to adulthood.

Great work and keep it going, I am hooked on to this thread now.

Subs
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Old 9th August 2011, 21:22   #30
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Default Re: 2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plat

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
^^Great account pjbiju!
While the pictures are great too, I appreciate more your efforts in capturing snapshots of a life that some of us have only heard of or seen during our travels. Country life is indeed challenging and I guess many of us are now opting to live the easy life. this is not wrong by itself but considering the change in dynamics, what would we eat if all of us decided to get into urban non agricultural jobs!
Anyway, I will rant about this later
Thanks again for the pics and childhood memories
Thank you selfdrive. Actually this is a topic that is close to my heart as well. I hope to get back to all this in my own way some day. As the old saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. But then anything that is not related to our essential/basic needs can be done away with. Aren't we the only species that have got its priorities completely wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul_sinha View Post
Great TL and pics pjbiju, rating 5 stars!
Your long-bygone-monsoon-era rendering revoked a lot of childhood memories.
Pls do watermark your photos, they are all wallpaper material. Superb!
Thank you Rahul. All of us have our own childhood memories that we hold so dear to our hearts. The saddening part is the inability to be able to live through those exeperiences again even if we want. Many things have changed to such an extent that they will never be the same again. Basically a lot of our childhood experiences are slowly becoming extinct. And we are not worried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subs View Post
Biju

Your narrations skills are superb. Adi poli.
While you took us with you on a journey in the train, you actually took us on a nostaligic journey from childhood to adulthood.

Great work and keep it going, I am hooked on to this thread now.

Subs
Thank you subs. I did not intend this to be a journey from childhood to adulthood. But it just turned out that way.

======================

We spent a number of days at home. It rained heavily every night for the first three days. And then it rained heavily during the days. The kind of loud rains that I was used to and have missed for many years.

And then it was time for us to return. During our vacation we visited many of our relatives after a gap of many years. So we did not go anywhere else for any trip.

We started from home to Aluva railway station on 16-Jul-2011. The train was to depart at 8:58 a.m. And as usual we were carrying a lot of stuff. Coconuts, bananas (typical Kerala ones), manogstin, rice flour laddoos (avalosunda), plum cakes, bread-fruit chips, banana chips, rice flour halwa, prawns pickle, fish pickle, meat pickle and what not. Except the cake, halwa and banana chips, the rest of the stuff were all home made.

This is a telling sign every Keralite returning to various parts of India. They would have heavy luggage pieces filled with Kerala goodies.

For the last one year, I have been helping my wife to learn a lot of typical Kerala recipes, traditionally handed over from one generation to the next. Many of those things were no longer made at home after my grandfather expired since it was under his supervision that some of those things used to be made. And so my wife has started her training quite earnestly. This includes some of my favourite childhood dishes. Some of thse are vattayappam, kinnathappam, pickles, kozhukatta, palappam, vellayappam, avalosunda, neyyappam, unniyappam. Also fish, meat and vegetable preparations (e.g. Kozhi marunnu). Some of you may think why is this such a great deal. I just want my son to experience some of the things that I grew up with. And all this is a novel experience for my wife who is a vegetarian and a non-Keralite. And she is doing pretty well in mastering these.

The train was late by about 2 hours. But then these days, the trains usually make up for the lost time on the way. One more advantage of travelling in 2AC is that you have a lot more storage space to stow away the truck load of stuff you are carrying.

The route we took.
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-aluva_pune.png

The train on its way. See the double tracks unlike the single track of the Konkan railway.
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030469.jpg

And I promptly settled down on my seat. It was pretty much raining or drizzling all the while. No photos.

And I went to the door to take pictures once we crossed into Tamil Nadu. The rain disappeared once we crossed the border. It was as if the rain was having a tough time crossing over the Kerala border. May be it should have to bribe the people manning the border checkposts.
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030796.jpg

Fields all ready for more rains
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030797.jpg

Waiting for the rains
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030803.jpg

The clouds checking out the hill top
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030804.jpg

Memories
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030848.jpg

Rolling hills
2011 Monsoon Trips : Romancing the rains. Postcards from the Konkan & deccan plateau-p1030854.jpg

-To be contd.

Last edited by pjbiju : 9th August 2011 at 21:44.
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