Sunday, 14 June 2020

Walled Street and Stack Exchange.

Every now and then we come across a ‘Walled street’  - narrow streets with walls on either side .  

Interesting looking walls built by skilled hands, placing uneven odd shaped stones perfectly to make an almost smooth faced wall enclosing a farm. Invariably you will find a little ramp from where one can haul stacks of hay or dried areca sheaths or any other bulky farm material directly onto a waiting pick-up truck, thus facilitating easy ‘stack exchange’.

The innate skill of the workers who build these walls is evident in the construction made sometimes of oddly shaped boulders, sometimes with flat tile like slabs of stone, placed so well that stones seem to fit into one another like a jigsaw puzzle. Then the final touch is added when a layer of mossy grass is scraped from the ground and placed like icing on top of the wall.  So that, in effect it looks as though a newly built wall has just been standing there for ages. 

Built with oddly shaped boulders
Built with flat stones.
A Close-up of the same wall.

This wall has just been built to fence in one of our neighbouring farms

Almost all the compound walls here have a narrow gap  -  what I call the ‘Girth Index Calculator’. The locals have no need for fancy stuff like “Body Mass Index” or ‘Body Adiposity Index’ and such like......If you can walk (side-ways)  through these narrow openings in the walls, then all is well in the world....or do need to visit the ....ahem..... a gym?

The narrow opening known locally as a 'Donnapa'

Now do these walls really keep out the creatures they are supposed to?  Our very friendly almost lovable wild boar can jump over it with enviable agility. The cows, though normally  not fond of jumping over walls, if cornered and scared, wouldn’t think twice before galloping over it, as we have observed quite a few times.  We have a couple of cows from one of the neighbouring farms, who true to the adage ‘Grass is greener on the other side of the fence’ had somehow been finding their way into our farm. Banana plants among others, our stack of hay saved for the rainy season and so many other things would get decimated in no time.  We  had no choice but to drive them out. They would lead us a merry chase, avoiding the gate through which they could easily run out and finally jump over some wall and gallop out of sight.

 The snakes seem to love walls as they glide over them peeping into every crevice looking for prey.

In and Out -gliding soundlessly

Our dogs love to sit atop the wall that separates our neighbouring  farm, drooling over their scraggly hens scampering all over their place.

Then there is this wall that we got built when we dug a well last year. The earth moving equipment had made a huge ramp leading into the well. We had to fill up this area with mud, that had to stay put and not fall into the well. The labourer who came to do it was so skilled, it was a joy watching him place the stones. The entire angle of the wall leant away from the well, he packed in mud as the height of the wall rose, and soon the sturdy wall was complete.

We found this so fascinating, that Vivek had to try his hand at it.  The cashew tree  just in front of our house is at a little  height and so is the clump of Bamboo behind the kitchen.  At both these places, each rainy season, some mud would get washed away exposing parts of the roots.  So, using the same technique he built two small embankments that holds in the mud.  Here are pics of his handiwork.

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