For people who don’t know what Pongal is, It’s a harvest festival celebrated by Tamizh people. The main objective of this festival is to thank the natural forces (sun,rain) and cattle which enables farming. Pongal is also name of a dish which is prepared especially in this festival, What I don’t know is whether the festival got its name cos of the dish or dish got its name cos of the festival, Whatever.
Then and there I used to run alone early in the mornings, Generally I do a 6 Km which starts and ends at my home. The best of my running route is a Km long lonely road which is surrounded by paddy fields on both sides. I always feel very refreshing and blissful when I run that part. At times I do pause my run and click pics of that freshening environment.
Today is no exception, though it’s a festival day I put on my shoes and started for the run. When I passed my favorite part I saw beautiful dewdrops on the paddy crops. I got a sudden urge to click them, so I paused my run and went into the field. While I was clicking pics I heard a voice behind me asking what am I doing. When I turned back, out of surprise I saw an old farmer with a Garden Hoe ( Manvetti ) and a Stick curiously looking at my phone. Had the following short conversation with him. Though we conversed in Tamizh, I had just translated it to English without any exaggeration.
Farmer : What are you doing?
Me : I was taking pics.
Farmer : Whats there to take pics, It’s just paddy field.
Me : (Smiled and Showed him some pics which I clicked) Some things looks beautiful to my eyes.
Farmer : So where you from?
Me : Sudarshan Nagar.
Farmer : (In a frustrated voice) That area used to be farm, But now it’s all buildings there. Even I don’t know when my land will be divided into plots and sold. My kinds go for construction work leaving farming. (pointing at the crops) There will be no one to look after it after I am dead.
(A small silence, Though I couldn’t reply, I understood his emotional attachment and love on farming)
Me : How long you have been farming.
Farmer : Since I could remember, In this same place. It’s my family occupation. Whats your name?
Me : Gokul, Yours?
Farmer : Annamani, (then he explained) Annam means Food and Mani refers to Grain. Its my father who named me, Though he was poor, he always felt proud being a farmer.
Me : Nice name,(my phone rings) It’s time, I have to leave, Happy meeting you.
Farmer : Happy Pongal.
Me : Happy Pongal, Thanks and Bye.
Mr. Annamani – I just requested him for a pose and he happily cooperated.
There can’t be better Pongal than this, conversing with a hard working farmer who didn’t get tired of agriculture all these years. What I felt after meeting him is, There is lots of hard work behind producing and preparing food, and lets not waste food. Happy Pongal to all 🙂