Friday, September 25

The world outside - sights on the first road trip since lockdown was lifted.

The lockdowns due to the pandemic severely curtailed any travel. An e-pass could be obtained for only three reasons - the wedding of a close relative which had been planned, the funeral of a close relative and for medical treatment.
Despite these provisions and obtaining an e-pass my husband could not be there for the funeral of his mother, in mid April. Nor could he participate in the ceremonies which are performed in the following months.  
Five months of travel restrictions have been eased and we can now travel out of the district and return if we have any government issued proof of residence in the district.
Our first road trip post lockdown was to spend a few day with my father in law and  my husband's family.    
It was interesting to see the changes post lockdown. Checkposts are in place to check papers and take swabs for testing.   
Small businesses are limping back to life. I stopped at this stone carvers shop at the side of the road to buy a stone motar and pestle and then as pure indulgence I bought a small grinding stone, a must have in all kitchens in India but have become a rarity since the electric mixer grinder came onto the market.  
So many sizes to choose from and they are all hand made.
I got out of the car to take a picture of this charming display of masks for sale on the highway. so very  creative. Masks have come to stay. Part of the new normal.   
A man with bundles of rope made from coir - coconut fiber. Cottage industries  which require one or two people and physical distancing can be maintained have been functioning I think. 
The slow life is also the way forward.
This was an astonishing sight on the highway. A large boat being hauled on a truck. Wonder where it was being taken.
A boy on a cycle selling packets of cotton candy. A bizarre sight on a highway but he's probably going from one village to another selling the cotton candy. People are being forced to buy local and forgotten recipes are being unearthed and local produce is being used. Using what is in season, an appreciation for home cooked food, cooked from scratch.                                             
In the cities and along the highway many restaurants have shut shop. We did see these pop up restaurants. Food is cooked and served and when they are sold out, everything gets packed into their pick up and they head home.
We too packed sandwiches for the trip and ate our lunch under a tree by the side of the highway. On the way back my sister in law made lime rice and coconut rice for lunch. Reminded us of roadtrips in our childhood where mothers cooked and packed food and snacks for the trip. The picnic basket was the most important, it couldn't be forgotten.
Food for a picnic or a roadtrip is going to be my next project.                                                 
A motorised peacock chariot used in great fat Indian weddings. The bridegroom arrives in style. Traditionally the bridegroom would ride a horse and a procession of dancing relatives with a band playing would make their way to the bride's house. The horse has given way to a jazzed up motorised peacock chariot which would not have had much use in the past six months. 
Weddings in India were always big and fat. The guest list ran to a few hundreds, all that has changed overnight. You can't have more than 30 guests and everybody gets a Youtube link to watch the happy occassion live.  I think big fat Indian weddings are a thing of the past.   
Trucks and commercial vehicles usually have some sort of social message painted on the bumper. A decade or two back it was We Two,  Ours Two - a reminder to people to have small families, all in an attempt to control the exploding population. Then there was Save Rain Water, Don't Drink and Drive, even female infanticide - Save Daughters, Educate Daughters and now on the bumper of a milk tanker was spotted - Wear Mask, Stay Safe. 
Only in India. Livestock being transported on a bike and in a small pick up truck.

Ayyanar shrines. Fearsome in appearance, these larger than life deities found in a small grove of trees on the outskirts of a village are meant to protect the village.  Covid 19 is a whole other ball game I guess.  

We were driving through the countryside and farming is the main occupation. It's interesting to see what is grown locally. We passed many trucks loaded up with bananas.   
Custard apples are in season. we stopped to buy from a woman who had a basket of fruit. Unlike bananas which are grown commercially, custard apple and peanuts are grown for peoples own consumption, anything extra is sold on the highway. Cart with locally grown fruit. Figs, Carambola or Star Fruit and Custard Apple. 
The pandemic has changed the world.

What is the new normal -

Masks are here to stay. I have a mask in every bag and in the glove compartment of the car. 

You don't need much and you already have all you really need. I didn't have to buy much during the lockdown and nothing was missed. Was always one who enjoyed window shopping. 

Buying local and buying what is in season. There's a time and a season for everything and I'm trying to see what time is the best time to do something during the year, for example I now know if I want to make pickles and jams, it will have to be in April and May. june is a good time to separate lily bulbs and replant them. The poinsettia begins to bloom in August.
Practising thrift in the use of resources - I have come across so many recipes which utilise every part of a fruit or vegetable or make use of leftovers in a creative manner. 
There's a huge interest in mending. Do check out Mend - A Refashioning Manual and Manifesto

Becoming more self reliant. Working with your hands, learning new skills. I need to create content for courses to be taught online. Huge shift from teaching a group of people who are in the same space.

Adopting a slow life. 

Adapt or perish. 

What changes do yo see in your life due to the Covid pandemic and post lockdown? 

Wednesday, September 2

The Cocoon - Work in Progress

It's been a few months since I updated this space. 
A lot has happened but I simply haven't had the time to update Million Little Stitches. These days my instagram account @millionlittlestitches gets updated instantly with all that's happening on the creative front.
The Cocoon, a kimonoish robe is influenced by my environment.
The mist, rainfall, the vegetation and the little creatures which abound.
Rain. Life giving and keeps the place so lush and green. Brings leeches too.
The gauzy mist, which transforms the landscape into a mysterious place.
Berries on a tree in the Shola. Looks tempting but I'm not sure if they are edible.
Clover growing between the granite paving.
Brilliant colour contrast. The wet grey granite and the green Clover. 
The brilliant colours on a month's wings which I found one morning. The patterns will find their way onto the robe, to embellish it.
The front of the kimonoish robe. The white bedsheet foundation is completely appliqued with pieces of fabric.
The back. It's interesting to note that the white sheet has become the lining for the robe.
A patchwork of colours and textures, much like the environment.
Now to begin embellishing the Cocoon.

Restrictions on movement of people and interactions have eased considerably although people are fearful of the Coronavirus rearing its head suddenly.
Life has changed. The new normal is still evolving but masks are here to stay.
The internet is the lifeline which keeps families and loved ones in constant touch , it's the source of entertainment,  the marketplace to buy and sell, to get an education.
How are you adjusting to the new normal?
I shall be back very quickly to keep this channel alive because it's been one platform which has kept me in touch with the wider world, living as I am in a small town in wondrous isolation, most of the time.