My trip to Pazhur Village, Trichy

This is an account of my first experience of Pongal celebrations in a typical South Indian village! :)

This isn't the pongal pot... :P

The week before we were to leave for Pazhur village for celebrating Pongal village-style, I remember wondering to myself whether or not I should be looking forward to it. In hindsight of course I can say, without a doubt, that I should've looked forward to it a lot more than I did back then! I was at my friend Maari's place the previous night for a party, so I came back home just as everyone was preparing for the day and a half expedition. Tired from the "party" at his place, I showered and crashed in bed almost as soon as I had changed. By the time I had awakened from my deep slumber, it was 1.30pm and everyone in the house was already filing out. I only had time to grab my phone and my iPod before I had to get to the van. We picked my uncle, +Bhoo Thirumalai and my dad's colleague (at who's place we were going to crash that night) up en route to the Trichy-Chennai freeway which would take us to our destination. The journey, like most road trips with family, was rather good (in a civilized "family trip" sort of way). My 3 year old cousin had accompanied us so time flew and we didn't notice Trichy when it hit us! :P (Funny thing that I went back home for my Pongal vacation all the way from SASTRA University just to come back within 50 km of the place for a weekend trip!).

We reached the quaint village of Palur, Trichy situated on the bank of the river Kaveri at around 9pm that night. As I stepped across the wooden threshold of the house, I felt a blast of cold air hit my face! (both literally and metaphorically). That was only the second time I was stepping into a village abode and that was also the first time I was to crash at one! I don't know if that feeling was apprehension or excitement but there was something! :P The house had typical village architecture, knowledge of which is of course sourced from Kollywood. They had the 'thinnai', 'agrahaaram', etc. (honestly, I don't remember all those names! :P). 'Agraharam' is the term used to talk of the 4 streets surrounding the temple of the village. These streets are generally 4-5 ft wide and house the Brahmin population of the area and 'thinnai' is some part of the house where people can sit and chill out. We had an absolutely brilliant dinner that my dad's colleague's wife and the grandma of the house had whipped up. I was actually a little surprised that the household had already fallen asleep. It wasn't even 10pm when we were done with dinner. There was no consistent mobile signal there and so, needless to say, I was offline on WhatsApp for 1.5 days! :P
Post-dinner gossip took place on their rooftop. We chilled out on the terrace for a while (almost literally! the place was biting cold!), talking of this and that and then got down to what we always do as a family - Bring out dem cards! ;) Poker night lasted only till 11.30pm or so, much to my disappointment because it had been a while since I had played poker. Anyway, I went to bed, or rather to the "paai" and slept like a baby. No air conditioning was required as the place was quite cool as it was,although (I presume), it would get hot in the summer. 
The following morning saw so much activity that "bustling" would be an understatement! We were up by 7am and had had our baths. Meanwhile, my mom and uncle were vying for the coveted post of "best kolam of the day", competing with other girls in the area! (oops, read that last part again! :P).
"Kolam contest"
We eventually made our way to the place where we could descend into the river Kaveri and swim around! *grins* I had seen this only in movies so ACTUALLY experiencing it myself was like, WOW! :D I quickly jumped into the water and was pleasantly surprised to find myself being carried away by the water currents. I must confess, it didn't look that powerful on the surface.

From right - +Charanya Kannan,my chitti Kanchana and her son Sathvik

From right - +Bhoo Thirumalai+kannan komandur+Vishvak Kannan 
The place, as such, was very scenic and yes, as my friends often remark, I couldn't resist but telling this immediately to my Instagram feed! :P
#scenic #kaveri #village #quaint #awesome

Of course when someone talks of a village life, they can't forget to mention the different rules that one follows there. Life is much more "by the book", in my opinion, in rural places. I encountered such rules when there - especially while eating. There is a certain orientation of the leaf which is to be maintained, order of food to eat, when to eat and other generic stuff. There is also a particular direction in which you must stand/sit while prostrating, sleeping, and lots more! I wonder how all that matters but then, to each their own superstitions/beliefs (whichever you would rather call them).
Another 'first time' for me that day was a ride on a bullock cart! :) By the time we had returned, the ladies of the house were in the kitchen, ready to usher in the "pongifying" of the milk. Now here's where it gets wacky. Usually, in cities, and for that matter even in movies depicting the celebration of Pongal in rural locales, people just scream "Pongal-o-pongal" and then they're done with it. Here, they usher in the festivities by banging plates with ladles. Oh what a cacophony of noises they can make with just a spoon, or a ladle, and a metal plate!! This practise was, apparently, traditionally followed to show people in the house and neighboring households that "pongal vandhachu" in the house. Agreed, but maybe a little less excitement will save the house coffers from the need to purchase new cutlery and plates every year during Pongal! >.< :P
The village, my dad's colleague said, was sparingly populated during the weekdays. The rural population from the village has already migrated to the cities nearby in search of better pastures. However, some families, like the one we stayed with for a night and a day, have retained their ancestral properties and visit it once in a while. The extent of emigration is such that fields actually lay unharvested. There is apparently a lack of unskilled labour to perform the harvest of the crops. Went to srirangam temple before continuing to chennai.
To sum it up, I would highly recommend a visit to some village to all of you out there reading this. It is one helluva(n) experience! :D :D

+Pranav Kannan photography


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