Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Bus Driver and the SI's cap

The bus from Chittoor to Kothapeta. Fifteen minutes out of the bus stop, the bus halted. The driver called the conductor, "I left the cover on the bench we were sitting on. Go, bring it."
With characteristic accomodativeness the rural passengers settled for the delay. I pulled out the dabba of lemon rice, and my daughter, Nagesh and I had our delayed lunch.
One curious passenger, "What was in the cover ?"
Driver, "SI s cap. I normally don't take things to deliver. But this was SI." (SI- Sub Inspector)
A conversation continue on these lines, straddling many associated topics, including more and more people.
In half an hour the conductor trudged back with a cap in a blue plastic cover. A khaki police cap. Each one of us felt a personal sense of accomplishment. 
The bus restarted.

Water divining

The water diviner.
They were looking for a water point just outside our home. He had a coconut in on his palm, anointed with kumkum and turmeric. At certain places the coconut lying horizontally on his flat palm would rise erect.
A point where the coconut rose miss was noted, and marked out with a rock.
The water diviners and geologists have equal success rates, and both are consulted in our village before sinking a bore.

PaalaGuttaPalle Bags. The packing.

After dinner, at 8:30 the women come to the room to finish their packing to take to town for posting tomorrow. That their customers are happy has been their first concern always.
Cheerful, focused work into the night. To meet the deadline.

Kondepalle School, Jeevani. Amity

Kondepalli school, where #JeevaniMilk goes on.

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Vegetable Compartment Bags

Aparna Krishnan  
6 June
The vegetable bag with pockets had gone viral, and some 25 people had forwarded it to me.
I forwarded the picture to Anita and Roopa, and asked them to figure their way through the picture and make the bags. A sample.
They were confused, but I told then that anyway they are the experts and that I can hardly help them. Within a day they figured it out, made this bag and sent me this image just now.

Village women and their capability and commitment to quality are a world apart.
This creation is 100% theirs - Anita, Annapurna, Rani, Lakshmikantha, Roopa, Buji, Ramila, Kala and Nirmala. From a picture.

Aparna Krishnan
9 June 2018

I got my multi compartment vegetable bag. The postman brought the parcel.Neatly sewn in rice sack as always.
I know well the calibre and commitment of the women. And yet I was stunned. At the perfection.
Each compartment holds a kg and more easily. Each pocket is frilled to assure capacious holding. The stitching is firm and neat.
Professional work. Beautiful work. Smart work.
The bag, as all other #PaalaGuttaPalleBags has soul, and breathes of the village. Of the commitment and attention to detail of the village women, who have taken to stitching to sustain their families. Even as drought dances its dance of death.
At 350/- this strong canvas bag is a steal. 

Orders can be placed here.
Large(17''x18''x6'') - 6 Pockets - Each pocket holds 1kg + central space) *
Extra Large(19''x16''x7'') - 6 Pockets - Each pocket holds almost 2kg + central space) *

The Beginnings ... Drought struck and as agriculture folded up, Paalaguttapalle (Dalitwada), a community of landless labourers were left without any means of livelihood.
Annapurna and Anita knew some tailoring, and Rani and Lakshmikantha decided to learn, and they bought machines with their own money. A friend gave a order for 300 bags and that was the beginning. From there, it has come a long way. They brought machines and fitted them on their machines. They went to Chennai when a friend offered to teach them screen printing, ignoring the challenges of a strange language. Everything gets exponentially harder in a remote village, from receiving the bales of cloth, to procuring paints, to dealing with reluctant post offices in faraway towns. But they steadily kept at it.

Four women is now nine.
The women have been working hard, with complete commitment to quality and neatness. When I tell Rani that the quality is uniformly appreciated, she tells me, "That is what we need. Money is secondary." And every customer has uniformly appreciated the work.
The women are sustaining their families now, as orders have been coming in through word of mouth. The men are assisting them, as the women have become the primary earners for their families now.

The Hindu covered them

Saturday, 30 June 2018

The packing of the bags

The packing of PaalaGuttaPalleBags from the village homes. Old rice sacks, neatly cut. The bags packed in the peices, and sewed in neatly. The address written, and cellotaped.

I saw another packaging today, full of packageing plastics of different forms. And realised the simple beauty of the packing that Rani and others do.
Least weight on the environment, least show.
The most beautiful.



Thursday, 28 June 2018

Muthulakshmi Reddy and Feminism

In an earlier discussion on the social contribution and deep gender concerns of Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy.
- ... and why do you think feminisim moved from this flavour to the nonsense that passes today for feminism.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula - "As for your second question, simple reason. Our education and Western influence on perceptions has led to a stage where every aspect of our thinking is dictated by Western viewpoints. Like I said in the LGBT issue, Gay Pride Parades are celebrated by this elite while being ignorant or indifferent to Koovagam.
Modern day feminism has been reduced to the individual and not social. What I wear, eat, do compared to what we collectively need."
Aparna Krishnan Kriti Bhardwaj, it is this modern feminism that I question. Gender questions have been traditionally raised and answered down the times, and will continue to be. As they need to be. Strongly and urgently. But with #Roots.
Kriti Bhardwaj Eh !? It's a reductionist understanding by chasing the wrong questions and wrong crowds. Like looking at rapist Baba's or sanghi Lynch mobs or Islamic terrorists and deciding that modern day religion is nonsense and "opium of the masses" or how did mo...See more
Aparna Krishnan All that is fine. My seeking is for local and grounded narratives. For both the stoyu and for the responses and for the struggles. The vocabulary and terminology needs to be ours, and not out of western textbooks and narratives, as has become default. And we do have them - it takes unschooling and humility and learning from the ground.
Kriti Bhardwaj The idea of voting is alien. More than 80% of our constitution is borrowed from the west and east and north and south. The idea of abolition of sati was not rooted or grounded, it was blasphemy. I can go on and on. Feminism is an English word because as a collective consciousness took form with the suffragettes And civil war, even though the idea of equality existed ever since the beginning of civilisation. it evolved and spanned across cultures and civilisations suiting the people and local systems, and has been inclusive of, and sensitive to dichotomies that rise time and again. It is a continuous process. The idea of liberty equality and freedom were French, we borrowed them and suited them to us. It is painful to see the unnecessary negativity and flak it gets because of certain idiots. We do have our own narratives and our own vocabulary but I don't think there has been any organised idea or thought process or movement that encourages questioning and assertion to one,s choice.
Kriti Bhardwaj There are jargons like heteronormative and cis-gender because they don't pronounce themselves conspicuously in our obnoxiously normalised behaviours. Moreover, we have a habit of dismissing everything that doesn't have to do with our area of focus, spe...See more
Aparna Krishnan All agreed. Yet, all outside ideas have to be absorbed after being rooted. Those who talk widely of other concepts i am sorry are usually sadly lacking in roots. Finding that has to be first, and all borrowed ideas. 

Ot at least parallely, very concsiously. That also I rarely see.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Idea of voting is alien? Heard of Kudavolai? Over a thousand years ago, people of Uthiramerur voted their village council using palm leaves in a pot!
Aparna Krishnan " The idea of liberty equality and freedom were French" - Sorry.
Komakkambedu Himakiran The point is simple, all isms need to go. Muthulakshmi Reddy impacted women a million times more than any feminist ever did. That’s why I said individual vs society.