PARENTRAP Children

Ring in the new

Illustration: Sahil Upalekar  

Hello and greetings from the other side of 2020. I wasn’t so enthusiastic about this whole New Year thing. I mean, after all, is it really a new year? Or is 2021 just 2020 pretending to be a new year? Let’s see, online school continues, we’re all still wearing masks and we’re still stuck at home most of the time — especially if your parents are worry warts like mine are. UGH!

Surprise

Anyway, I was in the middle of my whine-and-whinge routine when the parents took me and the PB out for a ‘surprise adventure’. I was thinking Baskin Robbins’ ‘all you can eat Splish Splash’ festival. Instead, they took us way out of the city to the middle of nowhere. For a second, I was worried that they were going to abandon us there and tell us to find our way back to civilisation, Bear Grylls style. But, instead of dropping us off on the side of the road with a jar of peanut butter and a Swiss army knife, we pulled up inside this old rickety gate. We were at a farm!

Apparently, the parents thought the two of us needed to exit the world of Fortnite and reconnect with the real world. So, as a surprise, they took us to a local farm where we could pick our own vegetables to take home and cook in time for Pongal, which is a harvest festival we celebrate. You might call it Bihu or Baisakhi or Sankaranti, depending on where you live.

I won’t lie. I may have rolled my eyes big time at the start of the day — I wasn’t really into the whole idea. But we had this cool Farmer Uncle who showed us around and helped us figure out which veggies were ripe to pick and which weren’t. We even got to cut down an entire bunch of bananas straight from the tree!

While my enthusiasm for the adventure surprise grew, so did my exhaustion. It was not easy bending down low or reaching up high to harvest the ingredients for our Pongal lunch. Farmer Uncle pointed out that this was just one small part of farming. There’s also sowing the seeds and taking care, as they sprout and grow, and making sure they don’t get eaten by bugs. It made me really grateful for the millions of farmers who do this all day, all week, all month, all year round, just so that we can eat. No Sundays off either!

I guess, when you order your spinach online with a tap and a swipe, you figure growing it is just as easy. Well, it’s not! I was pooped by the end of our two-hour harvest and was grateful for the buttermilk and sweet hot pongal that Uncle shared with us.

So, I guess the New Year did start off with something new for me. A new experience. A new appreciation for the people who put food on our plate. Remember to think of our farmers while you scarf down that awesome pongal your parents made today! I know I will.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 1:54:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/ring-in-the-new/article33547999.ece

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