Stuck in lockdown, Spanish tourist learns traditional farming and Kannada

Teresa says she made the best use of her time getting more familiar with the life, culture, customs and traditions of the Karnataka village.
Teresa in Kundapur
Teresa in Kundapur
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For Teresa Soriano Mascaros, the repeated description of life in India by her brother Carlos was what developed her curiosity to visit the country herself. An industrial designer by profession, Teresa, who hails from Valencia in Spain, was keen to explore the subcontinent.

Arriving in Heranjalu, a village in Kundapur Taluk of Udupi district and a guest of Krishna Pujari (her brother’s colleague in India and the co-founder of Reality Tours and Travel), Teresa was scheduled to meet her friend. “From India, we had planned to visit Sri Lanka and then proceed towards Spain in the month of May,” Teresa told the media.

However, in a sudden turn of events, it was during her stay in Kundapur that the nationwide lockdown was declared in India. “My friend was stuck in Mumbai and after careful consideration, I advised him to go back to Spain from there,” she said.

However, stuck in Heranjalu village, Teresa was not disheartened. She knew Krishna Pujari, who has been her brother’s friend for the past eight years, and Teresa says she made the best use of her time getting more familiar with the life, culture, customs and traditions of the village. In the last four months, Teresa said that she had a first-hand experience in farming, agriculture, mat weaving and various other rural vocations.

Teresa attributes most of her rural exposure to Chikkamma Poojari, Krishna Pujari’s mother, who taught her various traditional practices of the village. “Teresa became adept in milking cows, broom making, paddy transplantation and even peanut cultivation. She has learnt the art of rangoli drawing and has also shown keen interest in learning the Kundapur Kannada language,” Krishna Pujari said.

He added that Teresa easily embedded herself into the coastal Karnataka lifestyle and relished home-cooked local cuisine. “Chicken sukka, fish curry, sambhar and idlis are her favourite,” he said. Besides, Teresa also involved herself with the household chores, kitchen and experimenting with traditional methods of washing clothes.

“I have great regard for the people of the village here. The care and warmth I received make me feel safer than the urban environment. People treated me as a part of their family. Never felt away from home,” Teresa said.

With the easing of travel restriction in Karnataka, Teresa proceeded to Goa last week to enjoy her last leg of an extended vacation, before returning to her hometown in Spain.

Speaking to TNM, Krishna Pujari said he was glad that his family could help Teresa through these challenging times. “She was regarded as a daughter in our family. We welcomed her dearly and she sincerely reciprocated by blending with our roots and cultural ties. We hope to see her again soon so that all of us can mutually enrich our cultural learning,” he said.

Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)

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