Laterite and the goddess Siri

Laterite and the Goddess Siri
There is an event in the Epic of Siri, where Siri curses the lands belonging to her husband to lose their fertility. I began to associate this curse to the presence of laterite. Laterite is a soil that exists in abundance in Tulu Nadu, and reduces the surface fertility of the soil because it disqualifies its ability to hold water. But it allows water to collect in the form of an aquifer within the soil, which contributes monumentally to fertility in the long run. I began to think that the real curse is that the land began to be termed as a wasteland, despite its multiple uses. Since the background of the curse is a succession battle, rather than rendering the ground barren, Siri changed the nature of the land itself, which made people need to re-learn it. Therefore, it was a curse only for those who viewed the land as an inheritance, rather than something living and breathing. The piece was born out of musings regarding how someone would learn a land again. How would you respond to the changed texture, the changed flora? How would you begin to test the grass, and mould it to your measures? And how would the nature of the land affect the kind of animals who live on it? From a perspective of biodiversity, animals such as the Great Indian Buzzard, and the grey wolf thrive in lateritic grasslands, and are are becoming extinct as the grasslands erode. Mythologically speaking, it could be Siri’s curse which gave rise to this aspect of the landscape.

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