I made a promise to my dear readers when I published the article Njattumkandam that I would be back with the photos of the harvest season. See Njattumkandam here ==> Njattumkandam
Finally the time of paddy harvest for the farmers of Wayanad is arrived, December; the season of fog, the season of beautiful clear sky, the season of Christmas, the season of happiness, the season of waiting for the new year and so on. The slanted sun rays during this winter season, fog, happiness in the hearts of people - everything makes Wayanad's beauty tenfold during December.
The night time too turns beautiful with a clearer sky with more starts visible than during the other eleven months. Off course the decorations of cities and individual houses for Christmas adds to the peak.
In most of the paddy fields, harvest will be over before Christmas, making the cattle farms filled with hay ready for the rebirth of Jesus. For the tribal people who alone have the expertise of harvesting the paddy, it is the end of “Pathambu”. The word Pathambu means a whole cycle of the paddy cultivation. A group of tribes will take the responsibility of cultivation of paddy from Individual land owners starting from growing the seeds till the paddy is harvested. The profit for the above process for the tribes was given to them as a share of the result of the cultivation.
“Nellu” as the paddy seeds reaped are called has become the name of a very famous old time Malayalam movie, which mainly described the story of a race of tribe in Wayanad. The famous song from this movie “Kadhali Chenkathali” sung by Lata Mangeshkar will be in the heart of every true Keralite.
On tenth of December, I woke very early in the morning and reached the paddy field owned by us at 6:00 am. The harvest in this field was about to start the same day. I enjoyed the wonderful morning before sunrise with dew drops hanging from the paddy plants and the spider web created on them, making it astounding.
The sun slowly peeped through the fog covered sky on the top of some coconut trees in distance. The golden rays of the sun made the paddy field also golden as well as the fog turned golden. Wav! Such a nice chance for photography! After taking a few more snaps I returned home to have my morning tea and breakfast.
Later around noon time I went again to the field and got some more photographs. The hay with the seeds in them is made as a bunch and carried on head by tribes to the ground where the seed will be separated from the hay. This hay bunch is called “Katta” and the process of separating the seeds from the hay is called “Okkal”. In olden days this was done by hand manually by beating a bunch of hay on the ground repeatedly of with the help of OX pulling a stone above the hay spread on the ground.
When technology progressed most of the work is done using a tractor. It starts right from ploughing the field to harvesting the rice crop and separation of the crop from the hay.