When I was booking my train ticket to get back to Nilambur the travel agent told me about a pottery village a short distance away. Seeing as I'm almost always in the mood for pots.....it was an offer to good to refuse. A 20 km rickshaw ride to the village of Thozhukkal brought me to yet another inspiring site. I was told there are many families working out of their homes as well but this was the central 'factory' of 14 employees making flower pots, vases and much more. I was excited to see several women working on electric powered wheels as it's the first time in India I've seen female potters. In my experience...the wheel is the man's job and women do the finishing and creating of hand built pieces. Everyone was super friendly and showed me all over including their several huge wood fired kilns and pug mill. I love that when I asked where the clay came from they walked me around the one side of the main building where there was just a huge hole carved out of the ground. A few women were scraping the clay into low metal dishes and then balancing it on their heads. Climbing out of the hole they walked to the pug mill where it was unloaded and squeezed out the other side......ready for making pots! I tried to imagine how fit i'd be if that was how I went about getting my clay. My thoughts quickly turned to making miniature everything and seeing how many things I could make with the smallest pieces of clay possible.
After the pottery visit it was on to the train station and my sleeper cabin for the night time ride to Nilambur. Train left at 10:30 pm .... I was asleep by 11 and woke the next morning at 7...just in time for my 7:30 arrival. The only bummer about the trip was that I opted for the air conditioned sleeper which I think was the reasoning behind me getting an annoying head cold complete with fever. Even though I spent the next day in bed with the sweats I did learn about a classic Indian remedy to get rid of a fever. The name is 'chuku kapi' and consists of a concentrated coffee (kapi) drink boiled with tulsi (aka holy basil), dried ginger, black pepper and a bunch of dark cane sugar. The incredible Sheeja was there to the rescue once again to make a batch of this drink and force me to drink it every hour. I think she knew I might not drink it if she didn't sit at my bedside and watch it go down:) The next morning I awoke feeling much better and ready to get out of bed.
Now it was time to plan a little gathering. I have been wanting to do something nice for the wonderful folks I've been lucky enough to call my friends these past few months. A sunday canadian brunch is what was decided upon. I brought some maple syrup with me from home and now was my chance to share it. French toast, stewed cinnamon apples and a Canadian playlist was shared on the roof top of my home. It was so fun to finally be making food for others AND have a positive response. I do love cooking so much and bringing people together with food. This day was also the perfect excuse to wear my sari. I've been wanting to wear it but it always feels like you must be so careful wearing it as it is only a long piece of cloth and what happens if you step on it the wrong way and it falls apart in the street? Not that I've ever seen a woman's sari fall off her in the street but there's always a first! Anyway...it was perfect to have the guests arriving while some of my other friends were busy fussing over my outfit and the gathering was a hit. Some fun photos were taken although non of the food as it didn't seem nearly as exciting as all the things I've had cooked for me here. I had imagined giving a toast....sharing some music and heartfelt words. That didn't really happen as people were coming and going at different times and I was busy cooking and getting drinks. After the fact...I'm glad there was no time for toasting as I am 100% positive I would have been in tears. Every time I start to think about saying goodbye to this overwhelming place........I fall apart a bit...or a lot. For the most part I can recognize my emotions as something to express and not hold in. Life seems more full and gratifying when you just say what you feel and don't worry about how you look or sound doing it. That being said...I am not ready to open those flood gates quite yet. The days are slipping by so fast I know the time is coming whether I feel ready or not. The goodbyes will be sweet as I have a feeling this wont be my last trip to these parts. Only one more blog post to go before I'm on my homeland soil once again. xo t
About This Journey
Combining my love of travel with my love of creating in clay comes this newest adventure. After spending 10 days in Nilambur last year during a 3 month exploration of India....I am returning to spend 9 weeks. Talented and generous clay artist - Sherif Nilambur invited me to share his studio space so here I am to take him up on his offer. The plan is loose in terms of what is being made and what will come of it but hearts are open so we can't go wrong.