Saturday, 7 January 2012

Gardening in January

I was out in the garden today and realized that it was the first time I have ever weeded a garden in January. Since working in the Chennai can be so full of pollution, noise and chaos, I look forward to my rural weekends in Tiruvannamalai. Right now, we are eating fresh arugula, basil, sweet potatoes, okra, and pumpkins from our garden. We have planted over 30 tomato plants, so are expecting a bumper crop in several weeks.

Traveling back and forth to Chennai each week, I sometimes pass fields of rice be planted by woman dress in brightly colored saris. I am always amazed at how grueling the work must be and yet how beautiful they are in their saris. I work in a wide brimmed hat, cover myself with 50 spf sunscreen and look like hell after several hours in the garden. I have seen the local workers leaving the rice fields in their saris looking spotless as they walk home after a long day bent over rice plants.

This is the most pleasant time of year in South India with cooler weather so a garden can survive for several months; come late March, the weather will become extremely hot for another several months and the soil too hot to even walk on. So for now, I am enjoying these "cooler" 80 degree Fahrenheit days of January gardening.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year from South India!

I am back to my blog after a month long hiatus. It has been a busy month filled with workplace shenanigans, nonpayment of salary, moving from one flat to another, visitors from the UK and a cyclone named Thane.

After struggling to get paid  my full salary for three months, I had to start thinking if I really wanted to stay in a job that did not pay me without repeatedly asking for a paycheck. I am still caught up in this drama but in the meantime, I spent my first holiday season in India with David and some of his family from the UK. I have not missed the overload of Christmas crap that comes with the holiday season in the USA. It was refreshing to receive a simple pair of earrings from David and to give him a candle in exchange on Christmas Day.

On Dec 30th, Tamil Nadu state was hit by a huge cyclone named Thane, which struck the coastal city of Pondicherry with a vengeance. I had been in the city the day before it arrived; the winds were strong and the waves off the coast were higher than I had ever seen. The storm lasted about 12 hours; 40 some people were killed mostly by stepping on electrical wires that were downed by the storm. We were without power for four days but escaped any significant damage to the gardens or house.

I have no idea what the new year will bring, but for some reason I am hopeful that life will continue to bring me much happiness and adventure...