Manure brings to my mind an actual incident which has become a joke in Kodagu. There was this rich & famous gentleman from South Kodagu, late Mr.X, who was well known for his high yielding, well-kept coffee plantation. He was a school dropout who could not read or write properly, but he was a great planter. Since majority of the Kodavas are literate, they made a joke of Mr.X. It is said that once the District Collector(administrative head), who had heard so much about the yields of Mr.X’s plantation wanted to pay him a visit. Mr.X was very happy to be recognized & felt honoured but he had one little problem: even though he could manage to understand English, he could barely speak it! Since Mr.X could not say no to the Collector he accepted the visit & a date was set.
The night before, Mr.X could not sleep well, tossing & turning waited for dawn. Finally as day broke, Mr.X all suited & booted, waited for the dignitary along with his family, friends & neighbours. Most of them were curious whether Mr.X will make fool of himself or what? Finally the Collector’s entourage rode on. Mr.X after the initial welcome, stomach pooja, etc., took the Collector around. Pretty much impressed, the Collector said Mr.X your work is commendable; I never seen such a well-kept plantation. Tell me what’s your plantation maintenance secret? Now Mr.X had no choice but to reveal his secret. Everyone around was intently waiting for the revelation of the “secret ingredient”. Also deep inside a ray of hope that Mr.X will make fool of himself. Mr.X all sweat.. thought for a while for the right words no use… what shall I do now… smart guy he is then goes… it’s just cow-dung & kokkales (he knew chaane is the kodava word for cow-dung but he did not know what dry leaves were called in English). Mr. Collector sahib seemed very impressed. Even though he never heard the word kokkales before in his life, he was feeling bad to show his ignorance… he patted Mr.X on the back and said good work… good work… but inside thought to himself oh this kokkales must be a new thing in the market, blamed himself for not keeping up with the fertilizer market. Made a mental note of it to add to his memoirs & rode out thinking of the correct spelling… coool right? (Who is having the last laugh?) Look… look… I did bring a smile to your lips.. I can see it hum..
Morals of the Joke: You don’t need fancy chemicals to get good crop. Personal experience is better than the book knowledge. Well everyone knows that knowing English will help you in general but if you don’t know English so what at least you know your language fluently.. and also the ghora does not know your language either. So that makes him equal to you right? If ghora knows more than one language he will be known as bilingual… most of the kodavas in the village can speak at least 4 to 5 languages right?
(End Part 4 of 9)