January 09, 2010

Dayakattam .. Kotsu .. Sugarcane!

Have you come across a simple game which requires the use of sugarcane pieces?

We came across one in Andimadam.

This is a town on the Kumbakonam-Vridhachalam road.
It is sugarcame country so the roads are dominated by labouring trucks that groan under the weight of stacked sugarcane which gives these vehicles the look of a overgrown porcupinish hairstyle.

This is not the best of times for sugarcane colonies,
it seems.

Not if you go by the standard posters printed in all-green and pasted on public and private spaces.

The demand for better prices has been in the air for some time and even the extraordinary mist is not dampening the spirits of these farmers.

We should not have been on this road. Ours was to have been the Ariyalur-Perambalur route to get back to base.

But driver Sukumar seemed to have pressed hard while we dozed off and then come to grief when the rumbling sugarcame trucks rode over the potholed highway faster than our car.

We stopped at Andimadam for tea at a roadside eatery. That is when we noticed two simple schoolboys playing with a sugarcane piece. One of them faced away from the other, tossed the piece in the air and teased the other to catch it.

If it was dropped, the cane was measured on the ground and points toted. A third person, a young man seated on a cycle doubled up as the umpire and scorer.

We were too tired to get up and take a closer look at the game but the simplicity and innocence of it got
our fascination.

The fascination for simple things of life marks the annual Mylapore Festival which begins on January 21 and runs for four days.

There is no place for razzmatazz, shooting stars
and loudness.

You can draw your best kolam on one street, take a look at a textile print demo in another, buy idlis and gostu in another and settle down to theru-koothu in the square.

This is a festival for everybody - not just for Mylaporeans.

So this is the time to tell your friends and relatives to mark the dates and be here. In Mylapore.

Don’t be surprised if you came across a sugarcane
eating contest.

The info is at www.mylaporefestival.com

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