Every day we eat rice and enjoy various dishes like Idli , Dosa and sweets made with rice, but little do we think of the journey a small seed makes to land on our plate.
Like other things we , modern people have taken rice for granted.We Faith group from Deepanam School got curious about the origin and journey of the humble and very own rice .
We invited Priya, from Buddha Garden and discussed about the project.Priya outlined the cource into modules which involved studying the history of rice, cultivation in Auroville and planting a test bed along with Ragi and comparing the amount of water , care and time each cereal took.
The participants of the project are Anisha, Arati,Duniya,Kirill,Lamo,Manu, Nandha,Nittin, Pablo,Praveena,Rudra, Ryan,Shruti and Swathi
The classes are scheduled every wednesday mornings .We have sucessfully completed module one:Visit to Annapurna Farm Auroville.
Children’ s stories:
Kirill,”We went to Annapurna Farm.We saw Ammas planting rice.We also saw cows and chicken.Selvam explained how rice grows .I learnt that first they try to sell rice in Auroville ,but the left over is sold outside Auroville.”
Lamo,”Today we went to Annapurna Farm and I loved it.
First a person callled Selvam showed us the seedlings and how to plant them.Then he showed how they replanted the seedlings.
We saw the paddy of different varities of rice like redrice, full rice etc.We went around the farm and met the steward of the farm Thomas.
After that we had to go back to school for the rest of the day and I was very sad that we had to leave so soon .I was happy at the same time because we could start planting rice soon at school.”
We went to Annapurna farm to see their rice plantation. They gave information and explained us about growing rice. They separate the good paddy seeds from the bad ones which don’t grow and don’t let other seeds grow. They put all paddy seeds in salt water and the floating seeds are the bad ones. They have to soak the seeds for 12 to 24 hours in water and plant them.
The cowdung is mixed in the soil for the rice. When 16 days are completed, they collect the plant in bunches. The other place is kept ready to plant the collected bunches. There they plant it with some amount of distance between one another. The rice takes around 140 – 160 days to grow.
I went to MatriMandir and Svaram as part of service week program.
The Matrimandir (Sanskrit for Temple of The Mother) . It is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. Matrimandir does not belong to any particular religion or sect.
The Matrimandir took 37 years to be built, from the laying of the foundation stone at sunrise on 21 February 1971 – the Mother’s 93rd birthday – to completion in May 2008. It is in the form of a huge sphere surrounded by twelve petals. The Geodesic dome is covered by golden discs and reflects sunlight, which gives the structure its characteristic radiance. Inside this central dome is a meditation hall known as the inner chamber – this contains the largest optically-perfect glass globe in the world. The Matrimandir, and its surrounding gardens in the central Peace Area.
The four main pillars that support the structure of Matrimandir, and carry the Inner Chamber, have been set at the four main directions of the compass. These four pillars are symbolic of the four aspects of the mother as described by Sri Aurobindo, and are named after these four aspects.
These are the four main entrances
|Maheshwari (south pillar)||wisdom|
|Mahakali (north pillar)||courage|
|Mahalakshmi (east pillar)||harmony|
|Mahasaraswati (west pillar)||perfection|
At Matrimandir workshop
Matrimandir workshop started in 1972 it was the first workshop in auroville. WE worked with the engineer JEAN and we learned some secrets of Matrimandir which we cannot tell.
On the last day of the service week I went to Matrimandir workshop and met Jean and he gave me work called filing, He made a groove on the metal and we had to take out the groove from the metal we did that till 11:15 then I came back to school.
In Svaram on the first day I started making wooden whistles
till tea time 10:05 then I continued from 10:30 to 12:00pm. The next day I made my own Overtune flute from 9:00 to 12:00pm.
Then the next day started to make my own stormdrum. I wasn’t able to finish it because I had to glue something and that needed to dry the whole day.
The last day I finished my stormdrum and I had some free time
so I did some other shell work till 12:00pm
I really enjoyed the service week experience.
For service week ;I went to free store.
History Of Free Store
As old as Auroville, the Free Store is as the name suggests, a store were things are free. Descendant of early Auroville’s barter and exchange system, the Free Store now offers a range of new and pre-loved clothes, crockery, books and music to any Aurovillian who needs, yes for free. Customers choose what they want, leave their name and a list of items taken, say thanks and walk out of the door. The place is a blessing for many of the Aurovillians who live, as honorary voluntary workers, on a very basic maintenance and can ‘go shop’ this way. Free Store has no members, being open to all Newcomers and Aurovillians.
Efforts are always made to arrange for a pleasant ambiance and freshly laundered materials to be available. Aside from the pre-loved, the Free Store on occasion offers new clothes from companies like ‘Auromode’, ‘Upasana’ and ‘Hidesign’ as well as monthly donations by other Auroville units. Pressed flower handmade paper envelopes, writing paper and postcards add to the Free Store’s quality of service. The Free Store doesn’t stop at giving away things, it also offers a free Tailoring service, which focuses on repairs but occasionally makes new garments.
What Did You Do There ?
I enjoyed working in Free Store. It was awesome. There I folded clothes ,hung them on hangers and arranged the things. Then they shifted me to a magic house, it was different and looked pretty. They gave me some German and French games to play. I had some free time also. I did the same things every day.
What Did You Learn There ?
I learned how to fold clothes properly, hold things gently. I learned how to interact with the customers. I also got much information about the clothes export business.
How Did You Feel There ?
It was a nice service week for me. I got a second hand Nokia phone there, I also got a bag, some color sticks. I felt really happy working there and the work was not so hard. I was happy and they were also happy to have me there.
Shradhanjali is a place where they try to express the beauty of nature. It is a unit of Auroville where they make various products from the seeds, flowers , grass and foliage collected by themselves from their own beautiful garden. They make cards, envelopes, lamps, notebooks, jewelry and much more.
On the first day, we had a quick tour of the place. We were given information about all of the sections where they work on different things. We packed the ready cards and learned to separate the flowers from the presses. We got to pluck some leaves from the garden and to press them. The leaves are kept between two newspapers and the newspapers in between two cardboards for a week.
Also, we stuck the pressed flowers, leaves, and grass on folded cards and made our own creations. We learned to bind notebooks using thread and small bamboo sticks. Choosing seeds , drilling a hole in them and making various types of jewelry, keychains, hangings was also a great experience.
I just loved being in Shradhanjali, learning a couple of new things from nature for the service week. It was a very unique and enjoyable experience for me.
Feedback from the unit: ( From Abha) -Shruti has been happy, enthusiastic and diligent in her days at Shradhanjali. She has worked creatively in all areas. We hope she looks at nature a bit differently thereafter and continues to explore her talents.
A 12 acre farm with raised beds and drip irrigation, Buddha Garden grows vegetables and fruit, as well as small quantities of organic eggs.
Buddha Garden was established in 2000 on a small plot of land that was then part of Siddhartha Farm. A vegetable garden was established with irrigation raised beds and dwelling places for Priya and her daughters were built. The main challenges, in the beginning, were to deal with the considerable number of pests that were there because the soil was very poor and the plants not therefore very strong. In the second year, Buddha Garden was established as an independent farm.
The farm has a variety of education and volunteer programs based at the Centre for Sustainable Farming and sells a number of publications on organic farming.
Every Monday they have an Introductory Course where people can come and learn about their methods of organic farming and look around the farm.
Their vision for the future is to become environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. At the same time, they would like Buddha Garden to be a place where people come to share knowledge and experience and to be a source of inspiration both practically and spiritually.
What Did I Do There ?
In Buddha garden, they explained to me that they keep chickens for compost and if it lays eggs they sell it to the Food Link. They feed them with the organic waste from the garden. They were village chickens. I was working in the garden with Honor (my gardening teacher) and other people also. I was working hard, we were taking out the corn plant in the beginning. And then we were weeding the grass from the ground and giving it to the chickens. I was planting a lot with everybody, then we had breakfast.
- In PTDC I arranged the stocks on the shelves and stuck stickers on the cookies packets. In the morning, we had a small chanting of OM SHANTI.
- In Baraka, I plucked some grasses for the chickens.
- In Auroorchad also I helped to feed the chickens.
What I Liked/Disliked ?
- Buddha Garden was nice. I was to work only in the garden, but I wanted to work with the chickens.
- I liked the New Pour Tous but the work is boring sometimes.
- Baraka was the best place for me with chickens. But one thing there was, the chicken couldn’t walk when they were newly born and they didn’t have feathers.
- In Auroarchad I saw many roosters and chicken. Their beaks were black. It was quite far from my school.
What Did I Learn ?
- In Buddha Garden, I learned many things about plants. I also learned how to weed plants.
- In New Pour Tous I learned how to put the tags in the stocks, and to change the codes.
- In Baraka, I learned how to feed the chickens.
- Auroorchard, I learned how to take care of the chickens.
How Did You Feel ?
I felt really happy about the service week. I liked all the places where I went.
I had a nice experience.
For the service week, I was sent to Shradhanjali with Shruti. We started in 2016 the 25th August till the 1st September.Shradhanjali is a handicraft unit of Auroville, the International Township located in rural Tamil Nadu, 165km south of Chennai, South India.
Shradhanjali’s goal is to express the beauty of nature by using flowers, foliage, and seeds to create beautiful products in a conscious and caring way.
It aims to provide a pleasant, stimulating, enriching, educative and empowering working environment for the young village women it employs.
There I learned to take care of nature and also learned names of some flowers and seeds.
At first, we toured the place, and after we pressed some flowers and leaves so they could dry. We crafted some notebooks and cards by pasting flowers and leaves. We picked up grass from the garden; and we made earrings, bracelets, and necklaces with seeds (but first we must make a hole in the seeds).
And this is the feedback from the director (Abha):
Mira has been enthusiastic and involved in all the process of Shradhanjali and has created different items with skill and attention. We hope she will continue to bloom and grow like the flowers and leaves they have used in their time here.