Panja

Devyani Kalvit
After we finished our breakfast, we went to the above mentioned temple and then to the village named Panja. Situated by the river, this village is more like a dense forest. Most of the people living here have one person either in Dubai or Saudi Arabia who earns the bread and butter for the family. The rest of the family members look after the huge estates owned by the family right from the time before independence. People living here are very rich, but all wear similar clothes, lungi and cotton sarees and by their attire you won’t be able to make out what they possess.So, we went to house of a person who was known to us. His name was Mr. Sudarshan. His home consisted of a big hall and some makeshift RCC rooms adorned by a big verandah. But this was not what caught my attention, his house was situated amidst acres of lush green estate. They grew betel nuts, coconuts, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg and their livelihood was dependent on the price which these high quality items would fetch in the export market. That was so unbelievable. To add more to it, their house was flanked by a river that provided nutrition and water to the entire estate.He was kind enough to serve us food in coconut leaves which consisted of simple red rice, carom rasam, jackfruit appalam, jackfruit curry and thokku (pickle). And I swear, I’ve never had this tasty food in my lifetime. He also served us butter milk prepared from fresh curd (of course, they had their own cows as well!). Too satisfied to move, we took a short nap at his place in the breezy verandah. We dozed off listening to the sounds of the jungle.