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Awakening of the Paddy harvester in me on a weekend.

Awakening of the Paddy harvester in me on a weekend.

BuDa Folklore, an organisation dedicated to folklore research and folk culture, based in Honnavar, Uttara Kannada region.
Limited to 20 participants, the three-day workshop is open to students, working professionals and people from varied backgrounds as well. This paddy harvesting workshop is hosted by Savita Uday {one of the founding directors of BuDa Folklore} at the Buda site located in Honnavar near Gokarna in the Uttara Kannada region. The paddy harvesting season happens during mid-August. 
More than just an activity, the event focuses on letting you bond with the others in the group, creating some special memories and sharing stories, and all this while you are busy harvesting paddy from the stream fed fields. Come lunchtime, you might also get to experience a spot of community cooking with your new-found friends. Team ILK was lucky to experience the paddy harvesting workshop that was conducted by BudaFolklore in August 2019. Let us take you through the events that we got exposed to during the three days.
Day-0
An overnight bus journey on a multi-axle sleeper bus to Gokarna cross road from bangalore was pretty comfortable yet tiring due to the ghat section drives. Nevertheless, we made it to our destination at 6:40 am to see a minivan(jeep/open truck) waiting for us on the other side of the road and Mr.Uday waving at us with a greeting smile.
Day - 1
Along With 12 other urban folks and 5 women from the village who were our teachers for paddy harvest we set out on a one hour long journey to Angadibail(Budafolklore, Honnavar). The group was packed in the rear of the carrier truck and the absence of concrete in these roads made our commute felt like it took us more than a couple hours. 
The Buda team had briefed us about the practices they follow in terms of not leaving behind any chemical residue so it did not come in a slapping surprise for us to not use toothpaste or face wash that came from the urban stores. Instead we were given charcoal activated tooth powder(I remember using them at my grandparents' house as a kid) and soap powder made out of soap nut. #organiclife
We gathered soon after for a small round of introduction and a heart warming sumptuous breakfast before we set out into the fields to harvest paddy. We urban folks were trained and guided by the professional harvesters at Buda who taught us to walk in their shoes.In total we were 25 urban folks and over 15 paddy harvesters from the neighbouring communities.
We were all exhausted within a couple hours work whereas the professionals went on all day. After burning most of the carbohydrates in our body it was time we refueled ourselves. Of course volunteers at Buda had thought about this well in advance, and we could see Madhavi and Joel coming towards us with a big vessel filled with fresh kokum juice. 
To wash off the mud from the fields we went on a natural jacuzzi bath at the stream behind Buda before lunch. The soap nut shower was a bliss before the blissful lunch.

LUNCH TIME!!!!
Unpolished rice, vegetable saaru, beetroot chutney, Tomato-onion-capsicum salad & vegetable palya cooked in the traditional style felt incredibly flavoursome.

We had around 7 people in total from the local village who helped us cook lunch. The team members who had tried their hands on harvesting in the past had joined the kitchen community to cook lunch for all the members.



Post lunch time was free to ourselves till the evening activities began.
Some took a walk around the property, some got lost in their fiction books, kids continued to run around and sleep lovers like me who believe there's nothing better than an afternoon nap after a great lunch went on to do their own things.
The relaxing evening was followed by dinner that was cooked with love by Syamala akka and team.



DAY 2

The best thing about workshops at Buda is nobody is asking you wake up early to make it feel like you are accomplishing tasks (Like many other commercial off grid workshop places do). 7:50am was just the right time to start my morning stretch exercise, PHEW!.

I walked down to the kitchen area after freshening up to see a flask of herbal tea and the delicious breakfast being served.

Post breakfast we got to plough the fields and transplant a few plants/trees that were brought in to the campus from a nursery nearby By Mr.Uday and team. On our way back we stopped at the natural swimming pool that Buda has been working on and people took a dip, few swam, some went on to try out dives/jumps as well. #crazykids #ijumpedtoo 

Some who loved the paddy harvesting went on to harvest and relive the previous day to get better with their skills while some helped the kitchen crew.
                    

Lunch time was here again and the group got back to having meals together.

Yes, you guessed it right! Nap time
We had to rest and digest the food, restore those carbs and stay energetic as the evening event was one of the most interesting events in the schedule and everybody was looking forward to it. Buda had organized a kabaddi match, where Urban Folks would fight face off a group of youngsters from Angadibail. 
We mixed up different teams and played multiple matches until the sun went down, we played a few matches of ‘tug-of-war’ until we could find the winner. The tug-of-war rope gave up once the urban team had 17folks and the latter with 11. 

Evening, Gopi akka and team taught us to make traditional biodegradable crowns/caps using mango leaves.

Day 3
The feeling of the wonderful off grid days coming to an end did not let me sleep for long, morning tea at 6:30am was followed by random conversations until breakfast. Activity for the day was snail harvesting. (The only non-vegetarian part of the entire experience). I set out to the fields with 8 others to hunt down a few snails. Eshwarappa was our mentor and all thanks to him that we were able to come back with a potful. 
Symala akka and team were controlling the kitchen unit and awesome meals were on the fire stoves. The Big leaf you see below was used to make a delicacy dish named ‘Pathrode’. 
Syamala akka and her magical hands!
  
Pathrode, RIce, saaru, Salads, veggies, crispy fried snail, and the sweet dish for dessert had us all wanting for more and definitely not helping us back our bags with joy.

It was time for us urban folks to leave post lunch to get to our respective mode of transport. 

The memories, food, learnings and all the love will be cherished forever.

A big group hug to all of us.
Adithi, Pratyush, Meenakshi, Anish, Chavi, Sharad,Om, Anu, Pavan, Shakti, Bhavna, Mithali,Aastha, Abhimanyu, Divya, Yogi, Prakash, Pradeep, Pankaj,Purushi, Jyothi,Prarthana, Elbin and team Buda.

Until the next harvesting season!


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