Thursday, January 15, 2009

A day in my life in Minneriya, that is today, the 15th of January 2009.

The silent readers of my blog, who I am now discovering are many, will today, for the first time, enjoy my first upload directly on my mobile internet that I purchased on the 31st December 2008. I was only just able, going to the Dialog Tech at the Excel center on Darley Road, able to get the modem configured to the Apple Mac I use.

I am typing this at my desk in my verandah open on three sides, facing the river, with a neighbor from across river washing clothes, and bird sounds filling the air as well as all the other sounds of a forest canopy that covers the river.

The first thing after waking up to a call from a friend on her way to the airport to make her fortune in Africa, I had my cup of tea, and took 6 bags of paddy from my storage, which is the only lockable room next to the verandah I call my home. I took it for milling to rice with instructions as to how much polishing to do in keeping with my customers’ requirements.

I then returned and had my roti for breakfast, when Sudath the person who takes care of the place told me a van had come to the people I was to pluck the mango from. I told him to rush there to see if I was being by passed after having been promised first refusal. I was told that fortunately for me the fruit was still not mature enough for plucking the owners who I have known for a long time, will keep it for me. (one can’t trust anyone’s word here when some ‘monaras’ or thousand rupee notes are flashed in front)

On his way back he was informed that another neighbor with whom I have had some transactions was faced with an emergency. His son who is in the forces and was ready to return on leave today, and who I met last night bathing in the canal, had consumed a whole bottle of Gramoxone and rushed to the Polonnaruwa hospital. He was fine last night, and I heard through the grapevine, that it was some sort of tiff with a girlfriend that was the cause.

A few moments later when I was going through our work plan for the day, two neighbors came, asking me to purchase five and a half acres of free-hold paddy land in Giritale, about 3 km from here in a large paddy field for Rs1,500,000, and that they did not require anything other than allowing them to farm it on the basis of a rent of 20 bushels per acre per season for a limited period. At today’s paddy prices, it amounts to Rs 150,000 per year. I called a friend who had wanted some paddy land. He said he was no longer interested, except for property with river or forest frontage with a view. If I had the dough I would have purchased it for myself, but I would not want to borrow to buy. If I were to farm the land myself, already paddy farming on this land with a tractor that is under utilized, my net return would increase 3 fold from that of just renting the property using economies of scale.

After they left disappointed, I was then approached by another neighbor, in fact the lady a few doors from the earlier caller, (how the bush telegraph knows I am in residence!) wanting to borrow money urgently. She wanted 15,000. I just did not have the money to accommodate, even though the paddy promised in lieu of interest and the mortgaging of her title, just for 2 months would have yielded me an annualized interest of 160% for three months lending. See the blog entry below for the story.

I then had to go for an opening of a neighbor’s fruit and vegetable stall near my home, at the auspicious time of 11am. He is a farmer, from whom I occasionally by small quantities of produce, who like me feels he can get a better return on his investment if he is able to sell some of his produce retail. Fortunately he has a daughter and son-in –law able to run it for him, and is sort of a investment in their future he is trying to set up to keep them nearby.

I then went in search of a plucker for the coconut trees. I needed to take another lot of coconuts on my return to the farm in Godagama for sale in the shop. These guys are never available when you want them! We had plucked about 120 nuts from 8 trees and it costs Rs50 a tree these days, up from Rs30 a year ago. The selling price of nuts is now nearly half that of a year ago, due to the drop in world copra prices that have reduced demand. The nuts are instead flooding the consumption market and coconut oil market.

After a lunch of a salad of cucumber, tomato, onion and garlic with an olive oil dressing, I went to inspect the adjoining land that my sister purchased to look at the state of the paddy and arrange for some security there. I picked up the milled rice, and once unloaded, had my bath in the river in front.

Prior to nightfall, the margosa or kohomba leaves, are burnt in the verandah so the smoke will deter the mosquitoes that now are a nuisance and not infectious. Dinner, under kerosene lamp-light, was angel hair pasta, boiled carrot, beet and beans with ketchup, all of which is an unusual combination in these parts, but is what I was used to. Then blog and early bedtime at 8pm

9 comments:

George said...

Could you upload a recent photo of the Ratmale house? Has the kitchen been completed? Perhaps, on our next visit to you, we could stay overnight at the house!

Anonymous said...

Ranjit, can you do overseas 'deliveries?' I may need to order some Hansa Coffee in good quantities.

Ruwan

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