Happy Sair

Monsoon is over! It’s been at least 2, maybe 3 days since the last rain, and this weekend was the local holiday of Sair officially marking the change of seasons. It’s an extremely local holiday—I’ve spent September in another valley in the state, and never heard of Sair before. There’s been disagreement among us “outsiders” as to the nature of the holiday—whether it’s a harvest festival, or a celebration of having survived the monsoon. I, of course, pointed out that it could be both/and. Rinku’s cab driver confirmed: because the rice is still standing at the end of monsoon, we’re in the clear for a good harvest. Survival of the more-than-human community! I love it.

rice
rice paddies at Sair

Saroj Didi, one of the institute’s kitchen-and-grounds staff, invited us programming-staff-and-assorted-oddballs (that would be me) to her house for a feast of babaru (puffy fried bread), greens from what I’ve finally figured out is what I know as “elephant ears,” and several other tasty things that I’ve forgotten.

arbi
ornamental or row crop? depends on context

Rinku and I had made some banana bread with bananas left over from the previous week’s gender workshop, so we brought that along to share. Since Sair, everybody’s been pushing various coconut breads and fennel cookies on us. Today at lunch Saroj Didi made her own version of banana bread apne dimaag se (from her own mind).

Wherever you are, and whatever you’ve recently survived, happy Sair! We made it through.

sair
Saroj Didi’s altar for Sair

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