Friday, March 4, 2011

Experiments with nature..

The other day I bought some chicken-less strips from Trader Joe’s. I was wondering how they made it. They had wheat as one of the main ingredient and when I tasted I could distinguish it. It instantly took me back to my childhood though. What is the connection? Back in those days, my mom would never buy packaged flour. She mostly cleaned the whole grains, dried and then gave it to mill to powder them. Strain it and then use the fine powder. Whew!!! I don’t think I can EVER do that! Even till date, some of the things she still does the same way.

Ok, coming back to the grains, when she would put them to dry out in the sun, we would usually grab the fresh grains and eat them raw. She would scold us saying that it will give us tummy ache. But we wouldn’t listen. Once my sisters taught me how we can make chewing gum out of whole wheat. It was so cool. I can still smell those sun dried wheat grains and chewing on them carefully to make it like a chewing gum.

Then, there were summer days! We would look forward to going to native place every summer. All the cousins would meet up in my grandma’s house. There were countless games that we would make up and play. One of them was building up a house. I vaguely remember one of the summer. At my maternal grandparents house we had built a solid house. It was made up of all the heavy lumber that we could find. It had walls and roof made up of coconut tree branches. We all knew how to weave it to make it usable. If you have never seen or done this before this video gives a good training. :o)

They use these sheets to make temporary roofs. Every summer my grandma would call people to build the temporary roof in the summer, so that we kids can play outside and not feel the heat. Elders would let us try many times, so most of us knew how to do it.

Coming back to our games, then we had all these “pretend” utensils, which were made out of coconut shell, banana tree trunks etc. I remember there was a technique my cousins and sisters would use to make idli’s out of one type of leaves. We used to call it Ek paan (I think that’s what they used, if my sisters remember I will have to ask them) I tried finding the information online, but no luck. To make those idli’s they would churn those leaves and take the juice out. Put them in coconut half shell and leave it (prbaly overnight – again not sure). But what I do remember is the wonder of looking at that green thing (looking very very similar to Jello) and thinking WOW! That is soooo cool!

We then didn’t have any PS3’s or Wii’s. And I guess that’s the whole reason we used to try and think out of the box and come up with stuff. I miss that summer, sizzling hot days, when our experiments with nature would go on forever. I am sure my friends from more remote places would share similar experiences like this. Living in city you are mostly limited to what is available indoors and probably play games outside. But the village life exposes you to whole different kind of experience.

I love it even now when we get to go back (once in 2 or 3 years!). I can see the joy in my kids when they are there. Little one got to go only once. But she was in awe when she was watching all the animals around her. I re-live my childhood looking at them. Every time that we have been to native place with Ayush, he has hardly fallen sick (other than getting attacked by mosquitoes). His favorite thing is to hang around with his cousins and play with cow, buffalo, dogs, cats, chicken and look for monkeys. He has this naughty smile on his face all the time that tells me he is up to something. I don’t care what he is up to, coz I know that’s how he is going to explore and learn. Ahhh, I miss my childhood!


Anonymous said...

Yes the fact that there are less gadgets ( atleast in remote villages) causes kids and folks to be more creative and enjoy mother nature than the "gadget hooked" people in the metropolitan cities

Miss Stymie said...

Agree with you 100% Sumee...My childhood experience is also similar to yours. Visiting cousins in my native and having fun exploring nature with them has always rejuvenated me.Luckily Adi gets to do all this in his grandma's home back in kerala every summer and hopefully will not be a gadjet freak entirely.

Stumped said...

I know I wish we could do more often too. Many have moved out of native now, which makes it even more harder. Hope we can continue to give these experiences to our kids as much as possible. :o)