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Last Saturday, I visited a village called Chinchoea. Chinchoea means tamarind in the villagers’ native language, and tamarind trees are scattered around the land. While we were on our way to the rice paddies, we met these women who were peeling and seasoning tamarinds with salt.

Bucket list, (subheading) Tours, #1: Reality Tours and Travel — 1 Day Village Tour. Cross.

It’s my last three and an half months in Mumbai. I’m counting my last days, and pushing myself to explore, travel, photograph and write. Yesterday, I took the Chinchonea one-day village tour with Krishna, Assam, Christine and Matthew. This coincided with the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge, where the assignment is to share photos that mean down to us.

Special thanks to Krishna, our faithful guide who was very knowledgeable about Chinchoea because he has a close relationship with the community and is giving back to them. Krishna is also part owner of Reality Tours and Travels, which I highly recommend for travelers who want to get to know Mumbai and its outskirts.

Without further ado, this is my journey to Chinchoea from the down perspective.

Caught the 6:28 train from Goregaon East to Churchgate. My ratty Mizunos are still red from the Matheran soil.

Heading out of the Churchgate station.

Quick bathroom stop at the Taj Mahal Hotel. There are only squat loos in the village.

Waiting for Assam by the Gateway of India ferry ticket stalls.

Boarded the ferry.

Visited a public high school where many villagers send their children.

The rickshaw dropped us by the Chinchoea faucet, which the community relies on for water.

A lady fed us lunch in her home. It's an Indian custom to leave your shoes outside before entering a home.

Lunch was served on the floor made out of soil and dung.

The villagers sundry rice. Then they grind it into powder to make rice roti, which is called "bakri".

Papad, an Indian appetizer made from ground lentils, is being dried under the sun.

Chinchoea means "tamarind" in the villagers' native language. Tamarind trees abloom proliferate the land.

We walked through rice paddies. It's now the dry season in Maharashtra. The paddies will be water-filled again during the monsoon season, which starts in June.

Many of the rice fields are strategically burnt. The villagers believe that ash acts an organic fertilizer which can be mixed with the soil. Afterwards, other crops can be grown in the field.

View from the Chinchoea fields.

Krishna and Kulpi catch fish from a mini-pond.

Brickmakers from the Adivasi tribal community, travel down from their community to Chinchoea. They mold bricks from mud and water under the unforgiving rays of the sun.

We took a rickshaw up the hill to visit the Adivasi tribal community. We weren't sure if they would welcome us or not. But we walked around the village, smiled and tried to initiate play with the children. These are cashew nuts, a staple in their diet.

The children of the Adivasi tribal community.

This was a powerful trip for me. I’m struggling for time and energy, but I sincerely want to write a travel piece about this experience. For now, let it suffice to say that this trip has given me perspective. I have no right to complain about my petty little issues. I have everything I need and more.

Gratitude, forgiveness and peace is a choice I will make everyday.

Yesterday, I visited a village called Chinchoea. “Chinchoea” means tamarind in the villagers’ native language, and the land proliferates with tamarind trees abloom. A lady served us lunch in her home. This is a photo of her in the living room.

More on my trip to Chinchoea in a future post.

Yesterday, the fifth graders and I went on a field trip to Durshet. We rappelled, ziplined, and rock climbed. We also visited a village and met this lady. Some of our students knew how to speak Maharathi so they interviewed her in the language. She talked a little bit about her life and said that her children were now in Mumbai.

I started this blog in July, took a hiatus in August, and leaped back into the blogging wagon on January 2 of this year. I’ve been posting every day since, and I’m pushing myself, and just hoping I won’t stop. (Oh the backlog guilt! I still have 2 series that I haven’t finished!)

I’ve also been exploring the WordPress Site Stats section, and have been quite amused with the posts that have generated the most hits.

So, here goes–

10. Mumbai Scribbles, Day 3 — My Mumbai Scribble photos are inspired by WordPress’s Project 365. My goal is to catalog images every day that tell the story of Mumbai, a place I’m visiting, or something I’m engaged in. Cataloging images has sparked wonder in me, and it’s inspiring me to appreciate what I have every day.

9. Flounder Flops — It’s funny how this entry seems to pop up on the “how to not make flounder mushy” Google search. I haven’t found the answer, but since misery loves company, I hope that some cooks out there have discovered that they’re not the only ones with flounder flops.

8. Broccoli-Mushroom Curry and the Rat Race — I’m glad that many people have found this quick recipe. It’s a healthy no-brainer for busy people.

7. From Louie’s Kitchen: Lemon-Pepper Tilapia — I’m sure Louie would be happy to know that people have been browsing his recipe and hopefully trying them out! I’m surprised that quite a number of my recipes are on my top 10 posts. Maybe it’s time that I go back to trying at least one new recipe a week that I can share!

From Louie's facebook status update on July 14: Todays menu via the garden and friends. Tomato soup (Thanks Sacha) with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (Thanks Simon and Garfunkel). Maple Glazed Lemon Squash (Thanks Sacha), Cucumber/Scallion/carrot Salad, grilled Green Squash / Eggplant Sandwich on fresh Sun dried tomato/Parmigiana cheese bread (Thanks Laurie for my French bread pan, I really like it), and lemon pepper grilled talipia (Thanks fish farmers)

6. Greek Garbanzos Salad — Another healthy eat! I also bought these dishes to make my food pop out in photographs. It’s a sign! Time to generate healthy eats again!

Students representing South Africa!

5. Mumbai Scribble, Day 18: International Day — My favorite special event in school!

4. Pig Roast in Nancy’s Graduation — The fourth of July last year was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen and experienced. This was a happy memory with B, my honey, and his family. Nancy tragically died in a car accident a few weeks before Christmas. But she didn’t die in vain. Her smile, kindness and love have left and indelible impact on thousands of lives.

Louie, Anne Marie and Nancy in the Lapp's breathtaking farm

3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready / Mumbai Scribble, Day 28: Kala Ghoda Festival — I love doing the Weekly Photo Challenge. It’s another venue for bloggers to share their creative ideas. I find that many of my followers discover Scribbles through this page.

2. 10 Things I Learned from Dilip D’Souza’s Travel Writing Workshop — I scribbled this entry in less than an hour. It was based on a workshop I took a couple of days ago. Little did I know that it would generate so many hits. I’m still happy to have found Dilip and the group. We’re meeting next month in either Bandra or Thane, and we need to work on our first assignment–pick two travel experiences and write an essay that connects them. What a challenge!

DD's Travel Writing Bus in Elphinstone College

Silent Noise by Saini Johray

1. Mumbai Scribble, Day 27: Kala Ghoda Festival — Never in a million years would I have thought that this photo would generate so many hits. It pops up in Google Images when you type in “Kala Ghoda Festival 2012”. I accidentally tapped into something called “Search Engine Optimization”. Thank you, Google!

In the meantime, I’m on the 10% mark of my blogging goal this year, which is to post every day.

I’m trying. Persevering. Writing. Taking photos. And posting. One day at a time.