Exchange Programme – Poothurai, May 2016
Getting through the heat each day of May in Tamil Nadu is like a big personal project. One wakes up each morning, trying to make it to work before the “real heat” begins, or else the little motivation one feels to be productive will entirely evaporate to make non-existent cloud cover of helplessly dry heat.
Even in this overwhelming heat, I am excited to accompany Anbu Akka on a visit to Poothurai village and see the Inter-caste Exchange program of AVAG in action.
We arrive at the community hall of Poothurai, where a group of women are slowly entering the hall in pairs. Outside, under the shade of a large tropical tree, sit two men cutting onions and tomatoes while a third man adds sticks to the fire under the large cauldron of boiling rice. They represent the small number of men in this meeting of colorfully clad rural women.
The arrival of Anbu adds excitement to the already festive atmosphere.
Entrance to the community hall decorated with a traditional “kollam” ; a oor pattern often made with rice powder
Traditional fire cooking
Lunch-time at the kindergarten
Every now and then her friends run toward us asking to be clicked
Inside the living room
Mahalaxmi and her niece
A game of peek-a-boo. AVAG strives to offer the children of these villages equal education and opportunities by conducting programs to eradicate Caste based discrimination.
The lady smiles with her eyes as we sit in this moment, strangers playing intimate roles in slowly forming female bonds. With all our cultural disconnect, we have found a little bit of our lost selves in each other, recognised and accepted it wordlessly.