Ladpur in November
Well it’s been a slow month here in Ladpur, Uttar Pradesh. I was expecting to see my daughter to go travelling through the Himalayas for a month. But she couldn’t make it due to dental problems. So Mickey and I got on with more important things, we decided to get on with the hostel.
My friend Madan from Karnataka came up to take part in the project. I first met Madan when Couchsurfing in Faridabad. We got on immediately. He’s the same age as my kids, genius with electronics, micro-processors, C programming and all that kind of thing. Luckily I understand quite a lot of what he’s talking about.
Karnataka is in the south-west of India, just above Kerala and just below Goa, about 2250km south from here. He doesn’t speak hindi, he speaks Kannada and a couple of other southern languages.
The hostel project had met a few problems, some unforeseen, some unnecessary but seems to be back on track.
Earlier in the month we had a festival of Ganesha nearby at the river Ganges, or Ganga as it’s called here. People for miles around make a pilgrimage to the holy river to pray for good fortune and work in the coming year. They take a week off from work to do it – which seems a strange logic from my standpoint. The returning folk was a spectacle. Horse, buffalo and ox drawn carts with families and friends aboard. Many of the animals had their winter jackets on as you can see in the photos. You could hear the returning pilgrims passing by all through out the night and see them all day. Tired but happy.
Planting season in Ladpur
It’s a planting season here. Cane is being cut and the now empty fields are being ploughed and resown. The back field under the teak trees at Satya Dhaam has been sown with wheat. The field immediately behind the farmhouse has chickpeas and the big kitchen garden has been laid out with vegetables for us and the visitors to the farm. The field to the side of the farm is having its sugar cane cut now and that field will be sown with peas.
Here in the Ladpur area three crops are cycled through the fields during the course of a year. In some of the adjoining fields mustard is already beginning to flower, a blanket of bright yellow. Over the road from the farm the weighing of sugar cane continues and will continue until March. Daily tractors and ox drawn carts bring mountainous loads of cane to be weighed. Some farmers choose to take their cane directly to the sugar mill and thereby gain a few rupees more because they don’t need to pay for the labour of loading the transport. That said, there are so many vehicles on the road that the traffic comes to a standstill. I makes me wonder if the few rupees gained are worth the time off from the farm duties?
The Ladpur weather has turned cold. The morning temperatures are about 7°C – 8°C (Sorry I don’t do Fahrenheit – it seems an illogical scale to me. You can read why here) but the daytime is a quite pleasant 18° – 25°. It’s got to the time of year that I have to start considering how and where to exit India in order to validate my visa. I was going to drive to Nepal with Mickey to give him some hostel experience, but he’s not available. So I think I’ll fly south with Madan to the jungles of Karnataka and get warm again.
Mickey has some work on the hostel to carry out before my or Madan’s skills are again needed. It seems a shame not to get on with seeing India instead of sitting on a farm in Uttar Pradesh with nothing to do for another couple of months. I’ve been back from Rajasthan two months now and I’ve got a bit side tracked.