In my life I don't really have a sense of a 'staple' food - nothing's eaten that routinely to warrant the name. Variety is one of my luxuries. But rice really is their staple - eaten as grains, or ground to flour to make all manner of rice-based goodies for dipping in curry sauce.
Out in the paddy fields the ground's prepared with special tyreless tractors. Up and down they mash the mud into a soft and soaking mattress for the seed. Then it's hours of bent-backed work planting the little shoots that one day will be life for the little ones.
I used to think that a lush green field of paddy was ripe for the picking, but Jayaraj explained that actually he needs to wait until it turns golden brown, and then in they go. Fields ripen at different times so the rice keeps coming in, but there's never enough to meet all of the need. Great loads are still having to be bought from outside, and some years when the rains are less plentiful there's just less to harvest from the fields.
We walk through the paddies to get to the dam that I'll tell you about in another post. For a westerner it's so beautiful picking my way through the rice paddy. For the girls and boys it's just their world.
But I did chuckle as I thought about paddy this morning. Why? Because we have a 'Paddy' on our next team of 9 heading out to India in July. Two of his brothers have already been and he's the last to go, but I can imagine the comments around the table ...'Rice Paddy?' ... 'Lucky your surname isn't Field' ... 'Ooh, look at that paddy Paddy!'. Poor chap's got it coming to him.
Well night 10 is done and so now is 25% of my Lent in a Tent. I'm trusting that with half-term ending the fund thermometer will get rising again. If you're one who plans to give it some warmth, then you're only one small click away ...