Sunday, 6 March 2011

Medo Karthik

I have been visiting Bomdo village for a long time now, since February 2008. But never have I felt a part of the village as much as in the last few weeks. There are eight clans in the village; Nyodo, Duggong, Yalik, Panga, Lanchong, Dungmik and Medo. The Medo clan has now unofficially included me in their clan; I explain here how.

The customs of the Adis are quite interesting. Among the clans, whenever any members hunts a wild animal, he gives a piece of the meat to closest relatives of his clan. Some meat is also distributed to close relatives among other clans; for instance, to the in-laws. It is quite surprising that there is no fine if somebody doesn't do this, but this tradition is now going on for several centuries. Nevertheless, distributing meat among clan members ensures supply of meat throughout the hunting season at least. So, the last time a barking deer was hunted by the Medo clan, I was called to my friend, Bamut Medo's home for dinner. He casually remarked that I was one of the Medos now, I didn't believe him then, but protein is not in an abundant supply in the village, so I happily obliged.

Today (6th Feb), a Mithun was cut in the village. In this case too, the meat is distributed among all the Medos. I was not only invited for dinner, which was mainly Mithun stomach boiled and rice, to three houses, I was also given a small chunk of the meat! Now, I believe I am one of them! 

On another note, I have fortified the camp I stay in the village (the inspection bungalow) with all the essentials. I now have a Chang (a smoking place above the cooking fire), a small almirah to keep all the stuff needed for cooking, a pestle, an aluminium mug, a small backup cylinder, a backup electric stove, a solar charged light, a radio, the works, take a look. Just now, I also made sure the fire goes on for a few hours so the Mithun meat gets smoked. That way it can stay for several days without getting spoilt. The way the Adis smoke it, the meat apparently lasts for five years!

Burning one (fire) down!

The pestle that brings lovely flavour to my food,
made of Jackfruit tree wood

My kitchen, its all there!

And finally here is the mug that I picked up from the market; its uses are several, heres a list of things that I have made in it; fried eggs, fried fryums, tea, coffee, boiled water, soup, dal, drink tea/coffee, chatni with the pestle, measure rice to cook with it and the list goes on. In fact, I call it the invincible mug because we had taken this mug on a trip to Mouling National Park and it was the only vessel we carried besides one large vessel to cook dal and rice. So in the five day trip, we used this mug to measure rice to be cooked, to make tea, to smash boiled potatoes, to serve dal and again the list goes on. I call it invincible because when we camped by the Sidi river in the Eggong camp, a Mithun had stepped on it to make it quite oval in shape. In the middle of the night, someone screamed saying my mug was gone. Calmly, I woke up in the morning and brought it back to shape by hitting it gently with a rock and the mug is back in use! Well, this is the one thing I rate as most useful ever in field.

The invincible mug!

So, I sleep today convinced that I am not only a researcher in the village, but perhaps also one of them now.

A village gets connected to the world

Its just another Sunday morning, things are easy and slow; a bit laidback, a bit purposeful and a bit hungry. So, I got my bike out, eat a ...