A day in the village
From a distance, the village life in Kerala appears simple, idyllic and unchanging over the last hundred years. But if you observe closely you will see that the cycle of change have hit the villages too.
The oxes which were used to plough the paddy fields are replaced by tractors, the fishermen who used to come to the houses in their bicycles to sell fish now come in scooters, toddy tappers reaching their customers through mobile phones, smoky clay ovens in the kithens are slowly changing to LPG gas stoves..
But still the pattern of life remains more or less the same as the major occupation is still agriculture. They either work in their own fields ( so they can ensure that the work is done properly and has to pay one guy less at the end of the day) or in the well-off neighbours' for daily wages.
They set out to the fields at dawn while the women starts the cooking, washing,cleaning and other household works. By 10'o clock, the women will come to the fields with breakfast for the men, which is usually Kanji ( rice porridge ). Lunch and evening tea is served in the same way.After food the women either joins the husbands in the field or go to wealthy houses as maid.
The work ethic is strong with litle time for relaxation. The local saying 'work till your bone breaks and then eat till your teeth breaks' holds true here.
Work is over by sunset. After a refreshing dip in the river, they are off to their hangouts.The men gather in the local tea shop,barber shop or under the huge banyan tree by the temple. There they discuss everything under the sun. It usually begins with a reading session in which the literate one reads aloud the day's headlines.Everyone will put in their comments as the reading progresses,heated political debates may occur. Some men end up in the toddy shop where they spend the day's earning.
The women are also busy in the evening. They gather near the fence sharing gossip and collecting news from any dog or cat that passes by. Or they gather at the neighbour's who has television. They watch the soap together, some even crying with the heroine(another housewife) who has to bear all the atrocities and cruelties of the dowry-demanding husband and crooked mother-in-law. But they have to break-up when the husbands are back for dinner.
Maybe its true that village life is still the same. People work hard to make ends meet. They pray to the rain god to bless their crops in the summer. They pray to the sun god when their paddy fields are flooded in the monsoon. They are happy and content with their lives.