Our Pooja Adventures: Day One

Yesterday was the beginning of a four day Pooja (meaning worship) holiday. Despite initial plans of going to Madurai, due to a few confusions and complications with the buses and trains, we’ve remained in Anaikatti for the four day break. However, don’t imagine that being stuck in this rural little village during monsoon season is a bad thing. Sarah, Caitlin and I have decided to make our own fun.

After a lie in (until 7.30) and a lazy morning – reading and relaxing and avoiding the freezing cold shower – I was ravenous (having avoided breakfast that morning as I wasn’t feeling quite up to the thought of yellow squashy gooey rice) and reluctantly we decided to venture into the village in the search for food. Firstly we stopped into the bank on the Kerala side to exchange money, then purchased some fruit and snacks to store in the mini kitchen, finally we were on the hunt for food! Sarah knew of a place which apparantly did good pakora and we cautiously made our way towards the shop cum cafe. The men standing outside laughed at us as we awkwardly gestured and attempted to speak Tamil, indicating we wanted pakora. There was no pakora yesterday but instead we tried something called pandu, which was also delicious! It was the same kind of batter as pakora but inside the vegetables were coated in a kind of curry liquid thing. The shopkeepers were super nice and gave us the hot, freshly cooked ones which made it taste even better!

After filling our hungry tummies we headed further up the road in the direction of one of the pupils houses. Whilst we were playing on Friday she gave me her bangles to look after and both of us promptly forgot about them meaning I gained some new jewelry! Only problem was, when we went to return it we didn’t know exactly where she lived. We decided to start shouting…’Engay Vaykashni?’ we called, in between fits of the giggles at each other because we looked so silly. After a few ladies pointing us further and further up the road finally we arrived at Vaykashni’s house! She was so excited when she came out to meet us and very thankful we returned her bracelets. Her mother, who spoke no english, invited us in for tea and we gratefully accepted. Inside we decided to peek about the house and venturing through a back door we saw a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and coconut trees as well as their bath! It was more like a swimming pool and I was desperate to have a dip. After drinking our tea and meeting her family, we slipped and slided our way through the mud to make it back to school.

When we returned, we dumped our food in the wee kitchen and happily went for lunch. Whilst chatting to the other staff, we decided to go exploring in the afternoon, to a nearby village on the Kerala side called Agali. We hopped on a bus, hoping it was the correct one, and watched out the windows at the beautiful scenery surrounding us as we drove to Agali. Whilst there, we wandered about, bought some sugary sweeties, a notepad and some bananas for Patti, had fun dancing (well throwing my legs and arms about in a rather off time manner) in the monsoon rains and trying to find the bus stand looking like drenched rats. We also saw a Banyan tree (the national tree of India and also part of Neem class’ flashcards this term!) which was huge and viney and impossible to climb!

All in all, our first adventure of the holidays was successful. Not a minute wasted and a tasty lentil and paneer curry for dinner.