First, the tower leg base in the north-eastern corner was chosen as the shrine. It was first washed. A yellow circle of turmeric paste was daubed and over it horizontal stripes in red kunkum were drawn. All this was done quite effortlessly and prettily by Kutty. He then ran and brought sprigs of neem and mango leaves – the first to invite health and safety of the mill and the second, to seek abundance. These were tied in bunches at several places on the tower. He then went around making yellow marks in turmeric decorated with kunkum dots – on the tower legs, frame, the water pipe, borewell hole …at over 20 places.
Then came Kutty’s class act. He rolled a palmful of turmeric paste and in a few economic movements of his fingers and a final pinch, he formed a tiny squatting Ganesha complete with trunk, flapping ears and a well matched paunch. A little red dot and our God was ready to receive our prayers and offerings. A garland of jasmine was draped around our charming God. A freshly washed banana leaf was placed in front of Ganesha and on it were placed fruits, a coconut, a box of sweets and incense sticks, stood ready to be lit.
Away from the shrine, an ash gourd was washed. A small rectangular plug was carved out to access the inside. Into the hole went turmeric and kunkum and I was asked to place a few coins as offering. At an appropriate time during the ceremony, camphor will be placed and lit on the gourd and it will be moved in a circular fashion in front of me to draw off any envious comments. Then the gourd will be smashed into the ground, scattering red pulp and coins within. That will be the sign to all and everyone that covetous or disparaging remarks on my windmill will no longer be effective.
It was 11.00am when Palani from Aureka declared it was ready to run. And in a gentle breeze, it began to rotate as 12 pairs of eyes looked skyward. After a few rotations the water pipe glug-glugged and poured out a little water- and it kept coming. For the first time in anyone’s memory -and I daresay, since earth began- water from deep below was fetched up and fell on earth, assisted by an agent of Nature itself, the wind.