Our Dersu Uzala moment


Some scenes stick in our minds long after they have happened. For Sonati and me, one such is what happened one night in June or July 2000. It is as if we are outside somewhere looking on at Sunder and Sonati doing something in a frenzy. And if you ask me how long this “moment” lasted, I would only be able to say, “Somewhere between ten minutes and an hour”.

In the couple of months after we moved into our keethu kottai, we got some more infrastructure built: a pit latrine, a bathroom, and another (slightly larger) keethu kottai.We moved into this larger kottai, and the first one became a storeroom

The moutu (ridge) of the storeroom leaked: that is a story by itself; the lack of pride in workmanship; the easy-to-build (by someone else though) tarsi(concrete)-roofed houses; the loss of knowledge of how to build your own house among the younger generation; the change from a self-sufficient culture to a cash economy.

Anyway, I had scheduled some oldies to come and patch the roof with rice-straw, which I had bought and stacked nearby. But some weddings and funerals intervened and our hundred sacks of cement had arrived and been stacked without the roof having been repaired.

We prayed for No Rain that night, and went to sleep. In the middle of the night we were woken up by thunder, lightning and RAIN! Both of us leapt out of bed and started throwing the rice-straw onto the roof. Luckily Badri Baba slept through it all.

The frenzy is all we remember, lit by flashes of lightning. We were completely soaked at the end of it, but the patch worked. Not a drop leaked onto the cement sacks.



2 Responses to “Our Dersu Uzala moment”

  1. coevolvewithkiran Says:


  2. Suseela Says:

    Couldn’t help laughing! How come there are so many stories I don’t know. Definitely need to visit you’ll soon. Sonati, the rain drops in your painting look so real.

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