The simple village where papads are made: Chichondi, Maharashtra
The village of Chichondi is 2.1 Kms from The Yash Resort. Rather than walking to Chichondi, I decided to hitchhike my way to save time and so I waved at a bike going on the way towards the village. They stopped and I asked them if they could leave me in Chichondi to which they agreed and on our way to the village, I asked them where they were going. To my surprise they were from Chichondi and they dropped me off near the only temple located at the heart of the village to which all the path leads to.
Once I reached the village I started exploring and gathering content on the theme before and after. So I asked an old guy if he would allow me to take a picture. He was very happy and stood in attention for the picture and after I took a picture of him I told him to smile. I analyzed the two pictures and they were just what I wanted. Post that, I headed straight to the Mukya Police Patil’s house who was very eager to show me around the village. Once he got dressed up he took me around the village and answered my questions.
- The Village of Chichondi is divided by a main road. One side has around 300-400 settlements while on the other side there were hardly 50 settlements. The village had castes which were originally named on the basis of their work they perform in the village – Adivasi Samaj , Navi Samaj, Jai Beam and Thakkar Samaj. The Navi Samaj consists of people who are barbers while the Thakkar samaj mainly breed animals and perform agricultural activities. In Thakkar samaj there is a sub caste called Katkari.
- These Katkari people are mostly fishermen and sell fish for a living . One of the specialty dishes of these people is a sun dried fish of Bombay duck which is finely chopped and given a roast with spices. The other side of the village has poor settlements where people grow necessary vegetables in a small portion of their land. Due to the terrain being rocky, growing vegetables is difficult and also there is a water crisis which emerged a decade ago. Two water tanks were constructed to solve the problem of the whole village. The village has 3 well which were the only source of water before the tanks were built.
- Surrounding the village there is a vast stretch of land where the villagers sow a vegetable similar to flat beans which does not require water and are harvested during summer as they start to dry.
- The specialty of this village is that they make flat roasted breads known as papads which were made of either Jowar which is crushed and powdered and made into a paste . This paste is then put into a container having holes at the bottom and spread on a plastic sheet and poured in a circular pattern . Another way of papads is with Boiled potatoes which have their skins removed after dipping them into cold water and then pressed on a skinning plate with holes. The potatoes drop in threaded form and are left to dry in the sun . Another method of making a papad is taking Sabudana ( Tapioca beads) and mixing it with corn flour and wheat and spreading it on a plastic sheet. Once dried they are deep fried and eaten during the time of their fasting which lasts for a day or two.
- The men wear simple pants and shirts while the women wear saree which covers their head . The old men wear white shirts and pants / dhoti having a stick to support their stroll in the villages. In the afternoon during summers, the old timers sometimes go for a dip in the Krushnavanti river or just sit by the Banyan tree beside the temple and play cards. During the other seasons they go back to their farm and tend their crops .
What I liked most about this village was the wedding ceremony where every villager took part in making food and welcoming the guests and served them refreshments and food spreading the love of their birthplace. The food was very basic consisting of rice, dal and potato eggplant which is the traditional dish of the village. Though basic they tasted so delicious that I took three servings. If you are welcomed as a part of their village you will get two squared deserts similar to cotton candy