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A LIVING WITH PEOPLE PROJECT

VAIBHAVI KODNANI


We

stayed in a village called ‘Kaduvakothamangalam’ which is close to Mannargudi in Tamil Nadu. The people became our friends as soon as we got there. They were ready to help us anytime and anywhere. The people in the village were extremely humble, generous and had excellent skills of tackling life. This village gave me immense memories and learnings. I learnt mainly two values from from the village - Acceptance and Appreciation. I learnt how to accept and appreciate the happenings in my life. The villagers were very happy and satisfied and did not expect a lot from life like we do. Also, everyone wants to be loved. The villagers taught us humanity. Their hospitality is commendable. The house I went to for ten days was in the neighbouring village called ‘Thirukallar’. The family was small and not very well off. However, I can simply not forget the day my Akka gave me half of her own dosa because I had skipped breakfast. On the last day, she prepared prawns curry and rice for me. An emotional connection was created between us. Hence, it was a beautiful and an unforgettable experience altogether.


I would like to thank our college dean, Mr. Balram Sir for organising this beautiful course, our faculty, Mr. Jogi

Panghaal Sir and Mr. Charles Sir for assisting us throughout the course and all our college staff for all the support.

Next, I would like to thank all the villagers of Kaduvakothamangalam and Thirukallar for all the hospitality and a beautiful experience. I am also grateful to all the other people who helped us during the journey.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge my family for believing in me and sending me here to experience life.


A trace of art is seen in everyone, just the medium and style of art varies. For the women of the village, art was ‘Kolam’ and practicing it was their everyday morning ritual.


A small hut, in Thirukkalar, was abode to a family of four, where I was made to feel like the fifth member.


Visual gestures communicated my messages and in no time, she accepted me as her friend. Saranya was her name, I addressed her as ‘Akka’. She stayed with her mother ‘Vairam Akka’, her husband ‘Ramesh Anna’ and her 2 years old child ‘Adikeshavan’. She was bubbly, cheerful and fun loving.


Vairam Akka, Saranya Akka’s mother, didn’t interact much and was immersed in the household chores always. However, she had a lot of friends who visited her daily.


The interiors were unorganised suggesting the presence of the child in the house.


Simplicity of the hut was indicated by the number and the kind of things they owned.


The six goats were also their family. At night, the goats were given a place inside the hut.


The window was a pathway of communication between the people present in the hut and the people present in the backyard.


Pattabiraman was a friend who worked in the village temple [Periya Kovil].


Every morning, around 11 am, Pattabiraman would get some beverages for the family.


Pattabiraman played to and fro games, from his house to Akka’s house, cycle being his medium.


Since the father of the house used to work all day and come back in the evening, Pattabiraman would play the role of the father in the house during the day.


Akka fed her son occasionally. He ate on his own most of the times. That is why, dosa pieces, buiscuits, rice were seen fallen here and there in the house.


The kid, Adikeshavan was a television addict. He used to be glued to the television, whether he understood the content or not.


The chair was never used by the members of the house. The sole chair was strictly reserved for the visitors.


Akka’s fear was curbed by a rope which would restrict the kid’s movement. Irritation for the kid, relief for the Akka.


The kid did not own footwear, which would eventually make him tough in life. Hence, these huge slippers were an amusement for the little kid.


I was sitting in Akka’s house and sketchng. Suddenly, the kid came running towards me and started troubling me. Me: Akka, thambi is troubling me! [Akka enters with a stick and hands it to me.] Akka: Hit him if he irritates you.


The kid would crib and cry but a touch of his mother’s hand was enough to make him silent.


Looking at her grandson, memories of her own childhood gushed in and brought a smile on Vairam Akka’s face.


No work was kept pending. Vessels were washed the moment people finished eating.


One day, all the vessels in the house were given a wash and kept for drying in the sun to kill all the germs.


10 rounds of 100 meters each to the water pump were mandatory every morning to suffice the day’s requirements.


When efforts and time are put into doing a task, it is valued more. There was an electric mixer in the house, however, Akka’s hands did a better job.


The house was not bound by rules. Every task in the house was done in unison, whether it is cooking food or handling the child.


Maggi was given a new look with green chillies, shallots and other South Indian masala in it.


The blades of the coconut leaf were collected from the backyard and were converted into an object which keeps the environment clean – ‘the broom’.


Vairam Akka was an expert in creating those powerful objects.


Vairam Akka was posing for me with her newly made broom.


Evenings were synonymous to rendez - vous..


Shankar, a friend, joined them for coffee and gossip every evening.


Henna art was a New Year’s gift to my Akka. She was in awe of the intricate patterns created.


Leave the kid alone and he will explore the whole planet. This is a masterpiece created by Adikeshavan.


Artwork by Thengamma, Pattabiraman’s wife..


Thirukallar - A Living with People Project  

We went to a village in Tamil Nadu called Thirukallar. Each of us were assigned different houses in the village, we captured the lives of th...

Thirukallar - A Living with People Project  

We went to a village in Tamil Nadu called Thirukallar. Each of us were assigned different houses in the village, we captured the lives of th...

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