Hospitality and friendliness are wonderful Nepali qualities. Suchana asked Ann and I
to her families' home for the festivities of Teej. The festival of women is celebrated all over Nepal and is a real celebration. The day is marked by fasting (until the sun goes down), the wearing of red wedding saris, dancing, pujas, the the washing of your husbands feet and drinking the water. For once I am thankful that Simon's feet are in Kathmandu!
|There really was no room in the bus. Luckily we had squeezed in early.|
|I love the feeling and views from being on a ridge.|
|Sticky, tasty first rice, tarkari (vegetables) and achar (pickle). A rib sticking snack!|
|A welcome early morning chiyaa started the day. The other pots are cooked delights for the goats and buffalo.|
The sharpening of the sykle is an art.
Everyone thought it hilarious that I wanted to have a go at grass cutting. This is a daily chore for them but I was fascinated to learn the the technique. I can share with you that it is a pulling, sawing action rather than the swing and swipe of the attempts, in my younger days, with a long handled version of the same tool.
|Santosh found it funny. I was never very good at crouching!|
Standing on an ants nest was not very helpful but otherwise it went quite well for a beginner.
|Making a rope out of long grass looked easy.|
|It can't be too hard!!!|
|Embarrassingly small but a secure bundle of grass none the less!!|
|Meanwhile the buffalo was milked.|
We then all washed, yes, I braved the outside tap and managed to preserve my modesty. Quite an art in itself. It was then time for more sweet rice and tarkari before dressing up for the festivities. Having never worn a sari I was fascinated with the procedure. 5 meters of material takes a lot of folding and tucking. I was very surprised at how safe it felt but perhaps that is because it is all tucked into a long petticoat. However walking was harder than I had expected, perhaps I need to adapt my fairly long strides!
|A bit like trying to tie someone else's bow tie, it takes concentration.|
|Muffin top cleverly hidden!|
The gathering was further up the hill, at a local market place. Gradually spectators and performers arrived. A hot, sunny day and various head protection in evidence.
|Gurung ladies keep there head wear on with good posture.|
|Ladies wearing the traditional marriage red with adornments.|
|A sea of red as the crowds build in the little available shade.|
|Some have seen it all before. Time for a smoke.|
|Street vending Nepali-style.|
Waiting is another quality that is learnt here. I am not very good at it but luckily there is plenty of material for photography. Suchana loves the sharing of her local home and culture with us. She is a joy to be with and has a big heart for one so young.
Two or three hours later the dancing began. A serious looking competition for best entertainment, one dancer with a singing group accompanied by usually a lone drummer. The winners had a few special effects.
|Candles, strewn petals,,,,,,,,|
|......... and rice flour.|
Now this sport was worth watching. I was half ready to practice first aid as the on-lookers looked perilously close to the action. A cross between the javelin and shot-put, the competitors sprinted down the 20 metre run, up a little mud ramp and hurled the 11 kg stone from the shoulder. Spectacular results and no injuries. This was good entertainment which I think our sons would have entered. How would Netherbury's strongest man (circa 2008?) have fared? (Sorry, a Dorset reference!)
|Luckily no injuries.|
Glad rags off and as night settles in the fasting is nearly over. First the ladies of the house join together in a puja, making offerings to the gods in a corner of their kitchen. After this was the ritual of washing her husbands feet and sipping of the resulting water before the fast is over and supper can be enjoyed by all.
|The girls enjoy joining together to carry out traditions that must be centuries old.|
|More tika for Ann and I.|
|A little bit of crazy dancing before we all joined in. Sushil and Santosh enjoy the moment!|
There is just enough time the next morning to have a closer look at Suchana's grandmothers traditional round house. Her father was one of 5 sons who all lived here. There is a goat shed built into the back keeping the valuable livestock safe from theft and large cats.
|Still in good condition and no signs of earthquake damage.|
|In a dark corner are these wooden steps that take you up to what is now a grain store but previously may have been the space for 5 young boys, or men, to sleep.|
|Young Santosh showing of the Nepali method of drinking water without contaminating the jug!|
|However even he can't do it when some old Bideshi makes him laugh!! Sorry Santosh!!|
|A teacher by profession but a true farmer. I get an invitation to come back again with Simon. I hope that we can. |