Saturday, June 30, 2007

How Green Was My Ropani*

Green green rice of home
Kathmandu, Nepal

Rice-planting season kicked off to its annual start here yesterday. During the slow, wet, rainy months, the Nepali countryside comes alive with activity. Everywhere are women in vivid red saris bent double, up to their shins in mud, over shimmering squares of fresh, chartreuse green. Even within the city limits, it seems every square inch of spare land, however small, between the new concrete apartment buildings has been planted with rice.

The waiters and "room boys" at my hotel will now begin taking turns, going back to their home villages in shifts. Everyone must pitch in to help with planting season, even if it means taking time off their cash-yielding city jobs.

An Indian friend pointed out to me that all the longest continuous civilizations were the
rice-planting civilizations, the ones whose culture revolved around rice farming. I thought about it, and realized he was right. India/subcontinent, China, Indonesia and southeast Asia - all those cultures have been continuous longer than the wheat or corn-growing cultures. Rice farming is so labour-intensive and requires such continual upkeep - it could never be done by machine, everything must be transplanted by hand - it keeps the traditional societal structure intact. Otherwise, everyone would starve.

I need to get some photos of the countryside while it's still tender and
springy. By September, the colours will have mellowed to dark green, and then golden dun-colours before harvest time.
*A Ropani is a traditional Nepali measure of land.


Blue said...

Hi -- just saw you linked to my blog! Thanks! I've been reading yours for almost a year now. Keep rockin' on.

Sigma said...

Thanks for responding on my post and comment, at Blogbharti.I have posted the insightful info you provided on my travel blog. you can check it out at:

You have a very nice blog here.And I am amazed by your interest and knowledge in different dance forms and langauges.

Sirensongs said...

Thanks, Sigma! about the dance and bhasha: well, when one devotes 10 years of one's life to something one bloody well should know a bit after all that, don't you think? :-)
Thanks for reading and writing!

Sigma said...

Yes .... you are right at that :-))
If I may ask, where do you belong to?

This one is a nice post, and interesting observation!

Sirensongs said...

Thanks again, Sigma.

My "native place" is Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Try not to laugh. I also lived for 9 years in Manhattan, New York and now nearly 5 years in India and Nepal. I feel like they're all home in a way.

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