At day break, I saw water standing in a part of the pond. I stood confused as a child is when its first tooth falls off. I was sad the digging work would be impeded but a little later, learnt to enjoy the flooding as a sign of the promised gift. A bright sun shone by 7. The land was a bit squishy but we plodded on. A few squalls came by but didn’t stop us. Clearly the North East monsoon was not far off. But a different road block was signalling the end of the dig. On Oct 20 all work stops for Ayudha Puja in India as everyone -trades men in particular- worship the tools and means of their livelihoods. The JCB and the tractors had to be washed clean and set up as altars. That afternoon at lunch we ended the pond making for this year.
We had achieved much, anyhow. An entry pond [the irregular one in this drawing] had been dug. The main pond was 90% complete. A half kilometer road within the property had been partly done, a contour trench dug, and enough clayey soil set aside to build the first cob house.
Throughout the following week it rained. On Oct 23, there was a 10mm rain fall. But the pond filled three quarters. It was not enough rain to do that. So where did the water come from? Clearly the watershed that feeds the pond is vast. The next day with a similar rainfall, the pond surplused and set up a stream flowing out.
When there was a day’s let up and the sun came out, I loaded my car to the gills with vetiver and planting materials and joined by Sangeetha, a young volunteer, rode to the site. A few kids joined us for the planting fest. Over a million litres of water stood in the new pond. Some of its edges and the bund’s sides had been scoured. We planted vetiver to plug these. We then planted bamboo and some creepers to bind the soil. The weather was cool and everyone was chirpy.