Thursday, 30 May 2013

Akki mudi.. and work for the soul and body

Whenever I want to find an alternative to plastic, I ask my parents or grandmom since there was no plastic during their time. This time around, my question was about storing seeds. As of now, I have a plastic box but my brother has promised to build me a wooden box. Back to the past.. My father explained that they used to store seeds in a sphere made by tightly tying straw around the seeds. Seemed interesting. What about rats? They always had cats, so it should have been fine. This conversation happened quite some time back.
My current plastic seedbox, soon to be replaced by a wooden one
Yesterday, I got re-introduced to this beautiful and simple method of storing grains and seeds in a sphere made of rice straw. My mom and I had been wanting to visit a house under construction near our home and we finally made it couple of days ago. The family happens to be from Mangalore and within 20 minutes of meeting, my mom had made friends with them and offered our home for storing their stuff till their gruhapravesha. Of all the stuff that came into our house, the one thing that struck my attention was a sphere with rice!! The explanation for this type of storage was very similar to the seed storage technique explained by dad. With this technique, they store upto 40 kgs of rice for a year.
Akki Mudi - for storing rice

The technique used is not just beautiful, but so simple, indigenous and made from locally available material. It
also promotes art (yes!) and engineering (yes again!) and even more importantly, something for people to do with their hands, mind and heart. Schumacher in his book 'Small is beautiful' talks about work as "something.. for the good of man's body and soul'. With these products, there is a joy of doing-it-yourself or atleast knowing where a particular product has come from and who has created it. For the person producing these products, there is hopefully the same joy in knowing that his creation is being used by people he/she knows. Compare this to the factory made products that are produced in bulk by automated machines without any feelings.

This incident also made me feel for all the people stuck in jobs where their soul and body are not fully involved and are just working for the pay-packet (Even I was there for sometime, so can understand how it feels).

PS: Some photos of 'mudi kattuvudu' (tying the mudi) can be found here in a local news article.


shamala kittane said...

Wow so beautiful! but also looks like it is difficult to make it and like it is a one time shut and open ?

[dint know you kept a blog - a great saturday morning read]

Lavanya K said...

Thanks Shamala. It is not one time shut and open as per them. They move the straw to make a slit, take as much as they want and then close it up. Got to see it when they do it and then I will be convinced. They are pretty heavy - I tried carrying it and it weighed like more than 20 kilos!

Suma said...

what a wonderful way to store, hope I get a chance to do something like this....and the lines “people stuck in jobs where their soul and body are not fully involved and are just working for the pay-packet “its so true I myself do not understand what I am running behind, what I want , what I am doing.... What a complex world we have created around ourselves...