Week 2 started with a disaster. While swimming in a river I placed my foot on a really sharp stone and drawn blood. This week I explored the first few stages of rice plantation, discovered local medicine and watched in silent anguish while Jishnu was introduced to another youtuber who to my mind serves no purpose in life...aarrrrgggg.
First let me get my unschooling woes out of the way. Jishnu is allowed unlimited watching and usage of the computer, wifi, mobile and kindle. He chooses his time as he sees fit. So far he has been watching a set of youtubers who play minecraft on a multiplayer server called hermitcraft. He also watches Preston plays (a most irritating American youtuber and gamer whose irritating quotient is only beated by 'Jelly'). He also watches youtube channels of 'Brawl Stars' and 'Clash Royale'. Unschooling parents please note that I have let him know that some of these youtubers irritate me and some I actually enjoy. But I have not stopped him from choosing anything he wants to watch. The only thing I ask is that he wears his headphones when the ones I find irritating come on. Today I noticed yet another strange and wierd youtuber who just comments on other youtube video or images or stories. Sometimes these stories are about individuals in relationships and about love, heart break, fidelity, breaking up. After my entire relationship fiasco I had kinda sworn that I don't want Jish to grow up with the current rigid and wide spread idea of relationships. (The one women for one man kind of idea). I have to admit that it has taken a massive amount of self discipline to not let this decision interfere with his media 'freedom'.
A side note here: First, I cannot (am not supposed to) decide what is good for him and what is not. He must decide this for him self. I may only give him my opinions. Two; when it comes to relationships I'm not sure what I believe is correct.
So all I have to report is confusion (once again). I'm trying to head toward a place where I'm simply an observer
On the farm front, I've learnt a whole load of rice plantation terms and done some back breaking work in the form of 'chikhalni' and 'laawni'.
The process of rice plantation in and around Mumbai goes like this.
A small section of the field is prepared by mixing dried cowdung and dried leaves and then burning the area. The weeds are killed and the ash adds fertility to the soil. The rice seeds are then simply thrown on the prepared area and the area is tilled once more. This process is called 'perni'.
In about a month the rice germinates and grows to about 6 inches. The typical chemical farmer will throw in fertilizer granules at this point. The area looks luch green with so many new shoots of rice in such a dense area. This is the 'raab'.
The next step is to transplant the raab in bunches to the rest of the fields. First, the fields are prepared, remember rains have typically begun by this time and the fields are filled with atleast a little water. The bulls are yoked to the plough, 'nangar', and the fields are ploughed. This is 'nangarni'. Just before the transplantation of the rice samplings is done the fields are ploughed again and the soil is trampled along with the weeds and everything into a lovely smooth muck or 'chikal'. This is called the 'chikalni'. This is a lot of fun for the little ones and my son and Saee enjoyed thouroughly and I had as much fun washing his clothes that day. (I've since vowed to teach him how to wash clothes). The transplantation, 'laawni', follows; the raab is gently unrooted and made into bunches. Then 5 -7, or as we found 24, saplings are gently pressed into the soft muck in a bunch. The planting is now proclaimed done!
The timing of each of these steps matches the rest of the village and in most villages the trend is for all the household to go from one field to another doing the laawni in a sequence until the entire village is done. This way no money has to be paid for labour.
Ok, so after the first day of laawni, we went to a dammed stream just outside the village of Sakurli. Jishnu doesn't swim and is quite afraid of the water if it is deep. He was in some improvised floats and he slowly entered the water. I like a mother hen was hovering watchfully, but this mother hen is also unschooling which means I decided to hover watchfully from a distance. And this was my undoing. I was in uncharted territory and i managed to step on a really sharp stone. It was less a stone and more a discarded arrowhead of some prehistoric hunter. Said stone left quite an impression on the arch of my foot. I was out of action for a couple of days. This is when I was introduced to a terrible smelling ointment which burns like the devil and tints the skin orange. But it works. By the end of the first day the wound had dried and by the second day the scab had formed. By the third day I was back at laawni.
This has been a long post, my apologies.