We had a seed saving training at Sunita's house. As far as work goes, mostly I've been working in the vegetable garden, pulling weeds, helping write reports, putting together gardening and seed saving advice, and working on education/camp projects. So it's nice to be brought back to the original reason I am here.
First there was a thanksgiving puja. Puja is difficult to explain. Basically it is a prayer with flowers, foods, oils, and fire. Every day flowers are placed before the god of the house (usually the jolly Ganesha, remover of obstacles) and coconut water is also given. Lamps are lit. But on this day, a priest (who is also the village postman) dressed in saffron dhoti came and cooked special paysa to be blessed and eaten by people and gods alike. The women all came in their best saris, and for a while I was wrapped up in the priest's voice chanting Sanskrit prayers, working Vanastree's work into the prayer, and the women's singing in the pauses.
Some seeds to be saved: pumpkin, okra, big bean, cucumber (on paper.) The beans and okra can just be dried in the pod and then taken out; pumpkin seeds must be washed; cucumber seeds must be soaked and washed; and everything must be stored in dark airtight containers. Fungus and moisture are huge challenges to seed savers in the Malnad.
Now to Matthigatta, the Siddis' home. A very attractive rooster belonging to one of the ladies.