Two weeks ago Isel and I said goodbye to our first home here in Wayanad, stashed our belongings in to an auto-rickshaw and made the bumpy and twisty ride to our new home in Valad. The air is cleaner here, the lifestyle more calm, and the stars and moon ascending over the hills at night can take one’s breath away. That being said, the first few days were definitely quite hectic, organizing and buying pots, pans, buckets, cleaning supplies, fans, putting up curtains, and so on.
Once the “nesting” was complete we were able to take a step back and really become acquainted with our new home in the hills. The saying, out with the old, in with the new came to my mind….but flip-flopped. Our way of life has certainly become more simple, more basic, relying on our own two hands as opposed to the workings of a machine. In with the old, out with the new, I say.
The machines that have always been a part of my life, that I have bade farewell to are the good old washing machine, shower, microwave, and television. Another household item I have always had watching over me, the ceiling, is no longer there. The wonder that is electricity has also become a rarity. Upon reading this, some people may gasp and think, to be frank, that this is a crazy way to live in the 21st century. I would be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally miss the washing machine, as I sit scrubbing and rinsing my pants, shirts, shawls and then say a little prayer that they will dry within the day. The shower is also missed every now and then…..that warm water pouring down on your head after a long day can be hard to replicate with the bucket bath, pouring small pitchers of water on your head, one at a time.
Despite my occasional longings for my old friends, there is a satisfaction, a certain contentment that comes with using one’s own energy as opposed to using borrowed energy, whether it be gas or electricity, or what have you. Time becomes more precious and there is a tendency to use it more wisely, at times more creatively. Every evening there is a scheduled blackout for a half hour or so, to save energy during the dry season as the electricity is sourced from a well. Isel and I have made this “dark time” in to something quite lovely. We light our candles and sit eating our dinner reciting poetry, playing dominos, or just reminiscing on the day.
As we are literally sandwiched between the tailoring workshop and the Profugo office, our days tend to be very full and lively. After having our coffee and breakfast we are greeted with the ladies from the tailoring workshop walking by, their hellos and Good mornings mark the official start of the day. Lots of work to be done! My days are full, my hands are busy, and my soul at peace…nestled up in the green hills.