This past weekend I was invited out to a friends village for lunch with his family and to explore village life. Sadly, in all my time in Guwahati I have not ever gone to one of the villages though I have taken part in many traditional lunches. So on Sunday after feeding the kids, my friend and I headed out to our other friend's village! After a bit of a drive we all met up and I immediately hopped out of the car and onto the scooter so I could have a real experience. Mainly there was a lot of dust, crops, temples, cows, chickens and people on the road! We arrived at the family home and I was shown around the property. It was a modest sized bit of land but on it there were more varieties of fruits and vegetables than I can possibly recall right now. I was in awe at all of the different forms of fresh yumminess at my fingertips! I learned that most village homes keep their own small pond for fish and that 'local' chicken means chicken that wanders freely around town, like free-range chicken in the states! After being dragged around on a large fruit leaf, it was time for lunch.
Okay, vegans, vegetarians and generally queasy stomachs avert your eyes. Lunch was served on traditional copper Assamese plates and we ate on the floor. There was the staple dal, rice and vegetable. Additionally there was my new favorite, small fish. These are teensy tiny fish that are cooked up and eaten whole. They remind me of a few fish I kept in my tank back in the states. I have become quite obsessed with these little guys. You just pop them in your mouth, bones, eyes, heads, tails and all. The child in me wants to panic at the thought of this but the adult, adventurous eater is sooo satisfied. Then there is the small matter of the pigeon meat. I was told beforehand that we would be having pigeon and so I figured you know what, you only live once, why not try it? Let me tell you, it was the best bird I have ever tasted. I'll spare you all the details but I am so glad I tried it!!
After the wonderful traditional lunch we headed out on the scooter/motorbike for a ride through the village. I am kicking myself for not bringing my camera! The ride was gorgeous as the sun was setting over the vast rice fields. The temperature was perfect and the long ride was exactly what my soul needed right in that moment.
Along the way I saw two women working with yards and yards of string that looked strangely like the beginnings of a gamosa (a traditional Assamese cloth) so I asked if we could pull over. The thought never occurred to my Western mind that gamosas are hand weaved. I never even considered it! However these women were stooped on the ground arranging thousands of threads in preparation for the looming process. After being arranged they are moved into a loom and weaved together! So amazing! Bihu festival is coming up in a few weeks and gamosas are given out at that time so I am sure these ladies are keeping very busy!
After the ride we enjoyed some tea back at the village home and it was time to head to the city. I am hoping to make it there during Bihu as I think it would be the best place to celebrate!