Posts Tagged ‘boundaries’

Pushing Boundaries

May 26, 2011

Yesterday (Rogue) Annamalai and co. were building the kallukattu (stone wall) separating our land from his. I have been aware that they have been pushing their boundary outwards into our land for a while now,  and this was an attempt to stop the attrition.

Our case was being made by a solitary bamboo plant without which I would not have been able to argue my case. As it transpired, Annamalai tried to will it out of existence: the kallukattu would veer drunkenly, I would holler and it would straighten out for  awhile. Eventually all I was able to achieve was the entombing of the bamboo in the kallukattu. And I was really worn out by the end of it.


The trouble is that these people are masters in the art of pushing boundaries (I think they start as infants rolling pebbles into the neighbour’s field) and fighting with their neighbours. So much so, that if we start ranting and fighting, the battle is lost before it is begun. When one is polite (and once in a while invokes the Gods as witness), their guns are spiked. To find the balance between being overwhelmed and exploited by them, and getting angry and being rude is no easy task.

Land issues are always a bit fuzzy. For instance on our top tier towards the west, our patta shows 30 cents as belonging to us which the villagers said had  always been “run” by their forefathers (and four generations of that family were present on that occasion: Rogue Annamalai, his father, his grandfather and his son). I had acquiesced to this 11 years ago, but now, seeing how boundary-pushing is a fine art here, the four generations could have done the boundary-pushing overnight!

The VAO’s office is corrupt and is willing to adjudicate in favour of the highest bidder. So the people become corrupt as well. If you don’t indulge in boundary-pushing, then your neghbour will take advantage of your “cissy-ness” and push his boundary. A battle between brothers is the norm when the father “retires” and the land is partitioned. There is always ranting and raving, and sometimes physical violence, even bloodshed. When the ambience is like this it becomes all the more necessary for us not to “join in this game”.

But the boundaries of our being are sometimes pushed to snapping point. And one has to indulge in the catharsis of blogging it out of our system 🙂