Wednesday, 26th April 2017, Geeli Mitti Farms, Village Mahrora, Uttarakhand, India:
For the first time in so many years that I can recall, I actually played in a mud pit. Okay, so I didn’t play, but yes the work was so much fun that it felt like playing. Along with Shreya and Ayush, I pitched in my efforts of kneading the cob dough with our feet. We tossed in some pine needles soaked in water to help form a binding agent in the cob dough. Then we pulled the black sheets of plastic on which the precious cob was being kneaded to turn it around. This process went on for a few hours until the cob reached the desired consistency that is required for the cob ball to stick to the walls when plastered on.
The moment my feet sunk into the cold wet cob, it was really something. It made me realise that how detached we have become as city dwellers from the earth. We have forgotten what the earth feels like, what it is actually like to be close to the soil, to the very earth that we’re born from and survive off. For me, feeling the wet cob with my bare feet was nothing short of a miracle, like it was being reborn again as it rekindled my lost love for nature and especially the hills.
After this, I sat down with the volunteers including Shreya, Ayush, Kovid, Ganesh and the others to knead lumps of cob into round balls. This was then followed by forming human chains and tossing the cob balls into the Cob Cottage – where the other volunteers were plastering it onto the floorings.
With Micheal Jackson songs playing in the background, with some 25 odd people from all over the world working together in a small village in Kumaon Hills – this is something truly surreal and cannot be explained in words and I have just risked that – trying to pen down my experience in words – which I sincerely hope I have made some justice to it.