Memories of work at the Timmaiyanadoddi site by one of the team members –
The day starts early in Thimmaiyanadoddi. Everyone is up and running errands at the break of dawn. By the time one usually wakes up, in Thimmaiyanadoddi villagers have finished their daily chores and are sitting for their morning tea time discussion near the community center or at the village temple area.
The chief mason from the adjacent village arrives by 7.30 am along with a helper for the day and joins the heated discussion for a couple of minutes. Once updated about the villager’s life developments since last evening, he charges towards to the house being built.
After inspecting his day’s requirements Govinda (the chief mason) announces, “I’ll finish everything today!” Immense positivity is Govinda’s way of getting work done through the day. He updates us of the likes and dislikes, the beliefs and concerns of the owner of the house being built. The villagers hold Govinda in high regard and consider his words as final. “Govinda Anna, Devara mane beeku, e godeyalli agatta?’’ (Brother, I want a temple on this wall, is it possible?) He looks at us for a nod, but says yes anyway. This is the story of a small niche in the wall. A small space addition we tried in one of the houses. Over time it was acknowledged by the people to make a temple on the eastern wall of their living room. Our inputs were slowly being observed, interpreted to suit personal need and were accepted. This went on for every small detail: the verandah, niches, kitchen gardens, smokeless chulah, etc.
Bearing the harsh sun and wind, workers proceed through the day until noon when everyone disperses for lunch, a small nap and then reassembles within an hour. The house owners help the mason with labour that requires minimum skill, slowly getting trained in the process of building a house. “My son Devaraju can build a wall all by himself now!” a house owners mother remarks. One can sense a level of pride setting in at these moments. There are days where villagers argue over construction work, but it subsides by evening or within a few days.
The adults unwind with a cup of tea in the evening sitting in their verandahs and discussing the day’s events. Who built what? How many bricks were made? Who needs more bricks? And who will make the next Chula? The discussions continue till late evening until women recede to prepare dinner and by 8pm the hamlet is quite again resting until the next dawn.