Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Homes without doors!

 Our farmer friend Sonnu is by now used to our requests to take us to some relatively unknown portions of this beautiful land.  He has taken us to a Village called Hudil, yet another remote village to see Jaggery being made,  Abre whose claim to fame is the Medicine man and so on.

Recently we made yet another request to him – take us to a place where we can trek  up a hill we said.  And he happily agreed.  This time he suggested  a place called Uttara Koppa.  So on the appointed day, he came with Jaiman– the lad whose village we had visited to see jaggery being made. 

We set off in our car and a little before  Murudeshwar we turned  off the highway to travel into the interiors.  The road was – as usual – beautiful, the scenery as captivating as ever and soon  the village homes with the areca plantations gave way to dense forests on either side.  Every now and then we would see one or two homes scattered far – It is amazing how these people live so far from all the amenities  that we city people are so used to!  We surround ourselves with shops, malls, bus-stops and railway stations.  Every  advertisement for new homes in the city newspapers screams out how close everything is- 5 min walk to  xyz  Station, 2 mins from abc  Mall and so on……and not to mention a ‘Stones throw from the great Big Hosptial’ too!!!

Well here the nearest shop would be easily 15 to 20 kms away.  Are the people ever worried about running out of stuff – never.  Their homes are easily the sparsest that I have ever seen. 

So after a very pleasant ride, we reached a dead end, where we parked the car and set off walking into the forest with Sonnu leading the way. It was a beautiful walk, the silence of the forest, the ocassional call of birds, a few gurgling brooks and a small waterfall – an ambience to soak in and carry back home in your heart!

It was uphill most of the way and after about an hours trek we reached a flat level land which had a well maintained Areca plantation.  It was a surprise to see it in such a remote location.  We asked Sonnu about it and he said there are a couple of homes here and the plantations belong to those farmers.  And sure enough a little further we came upon the unmistakable signs of a village home.  A few dogs started barking to announce our arrival, a cock crowed loudly and we came upon a  mud house  with a small vegetable patch outside and a couple of coconut trees around it. 

The house seemed empty.  It had a little sheltered porch with a whole lot of hens and tiny chicks running all over the place.  The house was open, there was no door at all!   Sonnu stopped and started looking around for something – and soon spotted it -  a Sickle.  He picked it up and started towards the coconut tree.  We had a conversation like this

Me :What are you doing? 

S :  Plucking some tender coconut for you’ll. 

Me : Oh please don’t bother….and besides there is no one in the house,  won’t the owner mind?

S : Oh no he is my friend.  He must be somewhere around,  He will be back any moment.

Me : Is this the end of the trek or are we walking some more?

S :  Yes we could walk further up for a while and then return.

Me : Ok then maybe your friend will be back by the time we return and maybe he will make us some tea, I joked  - more to prevent him from plucking 2 precious tender coconuts than for the consideration of having tea!   So please don’t pluck any tender coconuts for us. 

He agreed and we set off again on the path.  Rough, uneven and uphill.  Giant towering trees, the kinds we had never seen before.  

A relatively rare fruit - White Kokum as the locals call it - Garcinia cambogia

And then another clearing and another small house.  This one too without a door.  But yes it had a bright coloured curtain and I could not resist getting a pic clicked on the doorstep.

 Finally we reached the end of the traversed path and it was time to turn back.  We reached the home of Sonnu’s friend, but he had not yet returned.  Just then there was a sudden downpour.  When it rains in these regions, it really pours!  We stood in the shelter of the porch and watched the front yard turn to slush. 

There was no point in trying to continue in the down pour and we decided to wait it out.  The chicks and the mother hen all scurried into the porch for shelter.  Sonnu went  into the house.  We could hear him rummaging around and went in to see.  He had already lit a small wood fire in the ‘choolah’ and kept a small vessel of water to boil.  He had taken my jestful mention of tea very seriously and was looking around in the dark kitchen for tea leaves!  He found it in a small tin in a a dark corner of the mud floor  next to another small tin of sugar. He found 4 steel pails and poured out the decoction.  Sweet black tea!  How refreshing.  We watched the rain sipping the tea.  

The neatly woven coconut frond sheltered us from the rain.

And then just as suddenly as it had started, the rain stopped, and the sky cleared up.  Time to leave.  We put on our shoes and just then the owner of the house returned.  At first he saw just Vivek and me as the others were sitting inside the house and I guess he was startled to see 2  strangers sitting on his porch.  Just then Sonnu came out and his face broke into a relieved smile.   We thanked him for his in-absentia hospitality and continued our down-hill trek.  The water fall which was a small one on the way up was now gushing mightily.  We refilled our bottles with the deliciously chill water and returned home.

What an amazing trek it was!



  1. Ah,thanks Tanuja for enabling me to join in your outing, trek!

  2. Wow,Tanu as usual excellent blog, I felt as if I was part of this treck.


Visit to discover Indian blogs