Saturday, January 22, 2005

The road trip contd....

As we travelled to 'Koppaka, as the locals call Etikoppaka, some the chicken that were to make the day's delicacies were being plucked and roasted on fires made from hay in the fields along the road. This road would take us to Narsipatnam but to go to Koppaka, we had to turn right to go to Daarapudi village. As I was not sure where exactly to turn right, we stopped some where along the road to ask direction. Though I have travelled many times to Koppaka but normally we take another route. As we had to eat at Adda Road, we had to give that route amiss.

This village being the location of a cooperative sugar factory, soon we started encountering bullock carts loaded with sugar cane. On large roads these are fine but when one is on a narrow road with a long line of carts, it could be a test of ones patience. Luckily for us even in the tiny village lanes we did not encounter any carts. Koppaka is on the other side of the river Sarada (I think). As we were heading towards the low bridge that connects the two high banks, RJ asked why these two villages have always remained extremely dusty. For some reason these two villages have remained dusty through the years. Thick layer of extremely fine dust is always on and by the side of the road. Initially I thought the villagers must be cursing us for travelling in a car. Years ago it may be true that the inhabitants may have said nasty things at the occasional vehicles that raised the dust but with the amount of traffic growing, I am sure they must have stopped thinking about it and must have resigned themselves to this feature of nature.

When we reached CVRaju house we were told that he is with his in-laws in Vijayanagaram. However, the centre (as the craft shop is referred by the family) would be open. By few trials and errors we reach the centre. It was not yet open. A young woman who made lovely breakfast for RJ and me last year was waiting for the gumasta (clerk) to come and open the door. The day’s newspapers were by the side of the door on the steps. I sat down to read the paper, as RJ decided to go for a short walk. The woman went to bring the clerk.

The clerk came but RJ did not. I went in to see the stock of new toys and to enquire if the telephone was not working. I tried to reach them before we left Vizag but the automated voice said the phone was out of order. The phone was working just that I was trying an old number. As I was talking to the gumasta about their recent exhibitions and about how a part of the centre collapsed, RJ came in. Soon he was making the gumasta run around with new toys and was making notes in his books so that he could decide on how many products he could order. I sat on the floor next to the toys and continued to read the newspaper.

I guess a word must have been sent to Raju's partner as he turned up saying nice hellos to both of us. Normally I would enquire about his political activities as he was he local Telugu Desam party office bearer. But since they received a drubbing in the last election, I decided to enquire about the collapsed roof. This centre was made many years ago with the help of potters from Nalgonda. The roof was made using Guna tiles. These are hollow tapering cylinders of burnt terracotta. These are then stacked one on top of another until they form a complete semicircle. Once the semi circle is formed the support underneath is taken off, and the next layer is made next to this one. By placing one layer next to another, the whole roof could be covered. To fill in the gaps between these layers, cement mortar is used until the top surface is even all over. This is one of the many alternative building technologies that are available. In the case of the part of the roof that collapsed, the analysis was that it was due to non existence of a concrete beam underneath the guna tiled structure to stabilise the forces that are acting to push the wall away. Few months ago, thankfully during the night, the wall could not take the load from the roof and gave way. No one was hurt.

Just as RJ was almost through with his ordering, I remembered that I should rather buy these products here than in Chennai, where they would be two to three times the price. Also, perhaps, I could send a basket full of toy to my two little nieces in Vizag with the driver of the taxi since he seems very nice and his office was in the lane next to my parent’s house. But then I asked him after I purchased the products, thankfully he said yes without much fuss. Also, while purchasing, I remembered that I have not taken any photos. So asked one of the helpers to go and purchase batteries for the ones I had were exhausted during the rampant photo sessions at the Bhogi festival two days earlier.

After I finished the purchases and photographing the products we set off to Kakinada. Actually we wanted to go to Uppada, a small weaving cluster that made Jamdani and butta (or butti) sarees, and then to Kakinda but considering the fact that we would reach around 1 PM, we decided to eat lunch at Pithapuram and then go to Kakinda, check into a hotel and later in the afternoon around 4 set out to Uppada.

few pics at the other blog site

5 comments:

yet another1 said...

liked the part about the tiles...
lol@"I decided to enquire about the collapsed roof"!!
and btw, i did like ur bait very much indeed. pics are lovely!

bottled-imp said...

hey thanx ano. i would be putting up rest of the trip pics at the other site in a day or two.

tocsin said...

What are the toys called? They look very neat.

tocsin said...

Nevermind my previous question I read the previous blog in the series :))

FunnyCide said...

That was a neat description. I love the Etikoppaka toys. My mom recently sent me a bunch of those, birds in pairs, raju-rani pairs!! :)

Reminds me so much of travel in Andhra. continue writing...