– Thakazhi Sivasankaran Pillai
That fifty-para paddy field is owned by someone in Vaikom. Kesavan Nair has been cultivating it for the last forty years. Before that, Kesavan Nair’s uncle was its cultivator.
Some ten years ago, when paddy prices were as high as five to seven rupees a bushel, rich people from Changanassery and Thiruvalla, had come there for paddy cultivation. They got on lease, groups of paddy fields. They used tractor for deep-ploughing and new fertilisers, to produce bumper crops. And they made huge profits. Kesavan Nair’s fifty para was in the centre of such groups of fields. Big – time farmer, Outhakkutty, met Kesavan Nair one day, on the mud-bund of the field. The crop in the “fifty” was poor when compared to those around it. Outhakkutty broke in, by way of exchanging civilities:
“Why is the paddy not lush and robust enough? Didn’t you use fertilisers?”
That question struck Kesavan Nair’s heart. The neighbouring farmer insinuates that the paddy he cultivates is inferior in growth!
“After you big guys came, can we drain out the water at the right times?
No time is convenient enough for you. We can do farm work only at your convenience”.