In the last week April this year, we made a road trip to Vijayawada and decided to also check out the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravathi and Machilipatnam(a town known for its Kalamkari textiles). The region is a part of the fertile coastal belt irrigated well with the waters of the river Krishna. While rice fields abound here, especially during the monsoon, one also gets to see various other plantations that grow well. What probably wouldn’t work for us was the timing. In this blazing heat, we were pretty sure the fields would be empty, and maybe the farmers on a holiday.
While on our way to Amaravathi, we saw autos and trolleys carrying sacks (identified by some numbers ). It was only when we stopped at this field did we realise what the contents of those sacks were. Perhaps, had we been there a week earlier, we would be greeted with visuals of deep red on either side. Since it was the far end of the season, and the soaring mercury, the fields were empty. Apart from keeping these pods dry, I suspect the temperatures have a lot to do with packing the punch in the red chillies that come from Guntur and surrounding towns.
When we were on our way to Machilipatnam, we passed by many corn fields that had been harvested. A machine is used to separate the cob from the corn kernels which are spread out and left to dry for about 3-4 days.
As we drove slightly ahead, we were told this was a turmeric farm. Which came as a surprise since there wasnt a spot of yellow anywhere. Maybe there is some reading we needed to do – to find out how turmeric is cultivated.
The ladies working at the farm seemed to know the precautions needed to be taken while working outdoors at that temperature. They drank water at regular intervals and didn’t think twice before asking if we were thirsty and would like some. They had been around toiling in the heat for sometime and have a long day ‘s work ahead of them, while we had just got out of an air conditioned car for not more than 10 min. Their gesture left us feeling very small, wondering if we would be as hospitable in a similar situation.