25.8.11

it was a differrent kind of a feeling, a renewal and light-ness, with which i saw the day of rakhee
unfold this year. it was after a pause of fifteen years that i was going to connect with my younger
brother, and tying a rakhdee, was strangely, very symbolic of this re-connection.

when he came for the rakhdee to parshada, the intentional community space that i am hosting,
he joked about teh rakhdee being organic and bio degradable. since teh rakhdee i made was out of
a seedpod from a local tree, 'papdi' , and the thread i used was also bio-degradable, i simply nodded in agreement. the symbols we create for connection, or words we use as symbolic a sense of re-assurance, of the connection we share with our loved ones, are sometimes, unnecessary. for in tying him that rakhdee, i didn't feel more connected to him, than each and every time i had cooked dosa or other healthy meals for him at the open kitchen at parshada. when on his way back from his evening walk, he would stop by, searching for healthy snacks, our 'coconut ladoos' , or the peanut chutney he absolutely loves, my connection with him would be re-affirmed, and so with this thought, i had decied to make dosa's and sambhar for rakhdee. however, in my own world, most of the time, i never communicated this to him, so when he came by on 13th morning, with stomach full, he coudl only have half a ladoo, he said.

the ladoos weren't quite stable, as they would crumblr upon any attempt made to break them in half. so when he heard me caution, him about the possibility of the ladoo 'disintegrating' if he tried
to break it in half, he let out a roar of laighter. in all seriousness he says, i have never heard that term be used to describe a ladoo's life process. 'yes,' i say, 'i am different aman.' and in my heart it resounds, that i too, can disintegrate at the sound of laughter, which i interpret to be a mockery
of my attempt to make rakhdee, dosa and sambhar and now ladoo's.

24.8.11

the economy of the gift


in thekambattu, near salem, in tamil nadu, there is a beautiful experiment in way, where a family of four, sunder, sonati, varun and badri, have been living the last twelve years of a seven acres of land atop a hilltop. on a rock face on this hillock rests a market, a market that comes alive every time friends of the family come visiting or when badri makes enough copies of “sirrius” the name his monthly, self animated, and hand filled in with colours (only if you have enough SSS currency to subscribe for coloured copies) zine goes by, or if varun has made enough paper planes for ‘draco-shop’. the design of their own currency SSS, which can be obtained only when participants submit jokes or experiences or poems to the zine, or in the event that you are invited by the brotehrs to set shop. badri and varun are also able to provide hand made board games and copies of their short film, ‘Spongecats’. the whole family has been supported by their friends since the last twelve years to live this sustainable life, without having to worry about where there next bread or daal would come from. this gift they have beautifully received as they practice and innovate newer ways of leading a fulfilling life, sonati has been painting since a few years, the whole family is  a part of a self-designed shadow puppet show, and to spend more time with them meant more inspiring ideas and creative ways in which to lead a fulfilling and gift economy life.