Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lord of the Churnings and Flutes....

My friend Shilpa Karkare , lives in a 200 year old house , in the midst of the wild Kokan greens at Tural , near Sangamaeshwar, close to Ratnagiri. The house has been carefully preserved and lived in , and she is currently putting up photos of original household implements and utensils , used by her ancestors.  She calls this the "Old is Gold"  display.  

The homestead is also home to Rustic Holidays Homestays, which welcomes visitors to come and experience Life in Kokan, with local community participation, traditional foods and customs.

The picture below is of a traditional buttermilk churning system, where a rope system, is alternately pulled by a person, and it churns the Mathni (big wooden ravi/churner) within a big earthenware pot that contains a rich dahi . The kitchen platforms of old, were below knee level.  I have seen such in my childhood, before the advent of waist level platforms, ergonomic analysis, modular kitchens and mixers/blenders. 

While we only hear the electric whirling speed noises today, the music of the churning takes one back to a gentle sound of a Flute playing somewhere.

Where ? Read on .....

कोणी म्हणतं
कोकणच्या हिरवाईत पावसाळ्यात
वारा उंडारला कि
मुरलीचं संगीत कानावर पडतं ..

सैपाकघराच्या एका कोनाड्यात
पृथ्वीच्या आकाराच्या विशाल मटक्यात
स्थानापन्न झालेले एक सायसंपन्न दही,
लाजत तोंडाशी घुटमळणारी
एक सशक्त लाकडी रवी,
" अग, हो तू पुढे , मी आहे ना मदतीला "
म्हणत तिच्या भोवताली
कौतुकाने फिरणारी दोरी .

दही रवीची भेट ,
उचंबळून एकत्र येणं ,
कोणा एका जाणकार स्त्री ने
दोरी ओढत, थोडे पाणी घालून
रवीला दह्यात गर्गरून दिलेल्या गिरक्या ,
" जा , ताकाई जा ,
कढी-धिरडी-उकड-मट्ठानकडे सुखी राहा "
असं म्हणत आपले विधिलिखित
स्वीकारून लोणी रूपात तरंगत आलेली साय,
आणि मग हळूच
"ये हो, घर तुझेच आहे " म्हणत
तिला कुणा एका युवतीने नाजूकपणे
उचलून घेणे , आणि सटात ठेवणे .....

विश्वात विहारणारा मुरलीधर ,
विजेची फिरणारी आणि फिरवणारी यंत्र ,
स्टीलची पातेली, अल्लुमिनियम चे घडे
आणि प्लास्टिक बघून ,
एक दीर्घ श्वास घेतो ,
आणि कोकणच्या दिशेने मार्गी होतो.

तिथे गोपी नसल्या तरी शिल्पा असते ,
आणि मग तो
आनंदाने कोकणच्या हिरवाईत रममाण होतो
आणि ओठाला मुरली लावतो.

म्हणतात न ,
कोकणच्या हिरवाईत पावसाळ्यात
वारा उंडारला कि
मुरलीचं संगीत कानावर पडतं ..
Some say
when the monsoon wind
wanders wild
through the Kokan Forest Greens,
one can hear
the Music of the Flute. 

And then,
in a wide corner
of an old Kokan kitchen,
a rich fat-filled dahi
sitting complacent
in a rotund earthy matkaa ,
a pure wooden churner,
a slim but tough MathNee ,
shyly loitering at its mouth ,
only to have a
a flexiwrapping rope
wrap herself around her
several times
" Go ahead, go in,
I am here to help ...."

And then
the preordained meeting
of the Dahi and MathNee,
a tumultuous explosion
as they churn in joy;
the lady of the house,
pulls the ropes  and adds water
to help them along.

The newborn butter,
floating to the surface,
as Dahi blesses it,
wishing the Lady buttermilk Godspeed
as she makes her way
to a life of
Kadhi, Dhirda, Ukad and Matthaa.

A quiet cupping of dainty palms,
a heartfelt invite
to come home,
and the Butter rests outside
in a porcelain bowl
after a tiring birth.

The Fluteplaying Lord,
pervading across the Universe,
disdainfully notices
the electric churners,
the steel,
the aluminum,
the plastic,
and takes a deep breath
before getting back
to his Kokan Forest Greens.

The Gopis are not there,
but Shilpa is ;
and he smiles,
and puts the flute to his lips.

Like some say,
when the monsoon wind
wanders wild
through the Kokan Forest Greens,
one can hear
the Music of the Flute.