Friday, January 4, 2013

The journey of a small particle of wheat

By Ha-Meem 

Hi, my name is John. I used to be a part of wheat grain. We were so many particles in there : Jhonny, Jim, James, Josh, Justin, Jack...

And we were stuck to tight to one onother that an outsider couldn't differentiate us.  We were the result of past years' crop. And here were to be planted again in soil. We passed too much time stuck in the dark in that gunny bag down in Ali's store.

Ali is the farmer. He plants all sorts of vegetables and fruits according to seasons : tomatoes, watermelon, melon, cucumbers, rice, wheat, corn... And when his  plant become big big big, he comes with his cousin's machine. He sorts seeds and leaves. And then he burns the rest to plant something new.

I remember it was November. He weight 40kg of seeds per acre. Usually he cultivates wheat after rice crop. He comes with his cousin's machine which sorts out all the rice, transfering them in a container and reejects withs fans leafs and dust.  But the machine do not uproot rice plants.

Ali then burns the rest, dry upper parts catch fire easily but roots are still green and contain water. But Ali has a solution. He comes with his disc furrowing machine . It's discs'edged are as sharp as razor and are placed at angle of 30° from the vertical. When they whirl aroud the rotation axis they cut in very little pieces the roots and unburn stuff. This type of machine has two main utilities, to homogenize the soil put the upside down and uproot the rests of previous crop. He does it twice. First time simply and then with a heavy leveling wooden pillar behind furrowing machine to flaten up the growing zone.

Starts the phase for us to go in the soil. Ali checks if there's enough humidity in soil. He takes the mud in his hand then closes his fist and then reopens. If the soil do not keep the shape of his fist, it means he have to water the land. Otherwise he can spread seeds with a futilizer he calls DAP. To end he passes his Disc furrowing machine twice, without and then with the leveling pillar.

Me and Jhonny were too close. Even closer then too fingers of a hand. When Ali planted us in soil we didn't knew what was to happen. But in the dark, humidity and mineral water we have been designated as incharges of very different part of the plant.

I cant remember exactly but I think it was between 6 or 8 days after that our first green leaf adventured outside. We started our course toward sun. Happy to see other mates.  Particularly, Ruth. Ruth and I were the same seed branch previous season. We had long sunny days of talks behind us. We swung with air all the previous season together and here he was at the opposit extremity of field.
The soil was become dryer day by day, but Ali waited us to measure approximately 6 inches hight to water us for the first time.  Just the quantity the soil can absorb.Stationary water is deadly for us. Before watering he spread in all the field Uria furtilizer.
Few weeks later Ruth got lost forever, hidden by other growing plants.

During six months of our growing process Ali  watered us three times. Every time when he considered that the soil was becoming too dry and our leaves extremity started to yellowish.

In April, a golden crop stood proud in the air defying gravity and staring at sun. By this time I have migrated to upper branches.

Wheat seed plant provide 2 to 10 upper branches. Who then produce 50 to 100 wheat grains. Ali expected 50 times more then the quantitu he used.

I was again, not in a leave but stuck in another seed at the top of our plant. I could see bright blue sky. I could see Ali smiling when he saw our Golden color. He thanked Allah and called his cousin. It was time to cut.

Again through the same process they seprated leaves dust and seeds. Loaded on a truck packed in enormous gunny bags. He went to market. Sold us to a Mill owner called Raheem. He had big moustaches and a wooden stick in his hand. He spoke loud to his men they loaded us in a van. Ruth got sold to government buyer. Mills's owner buy according to their capacity. Once their own stock exhausted they buy from the government supplyers and sell floor. I rested once more a couple of months there in what they called "Godams".

At least my Godam's turn came. Then one by one they took gunny bags out. They emptied us in a moter activated machine, with disc type razors who recalled me of Ali's furrowing machine. This engine reduced us to powder. Employees tranfered us to sorting machine wich seprated different sorts of floor according to mass. Baking floor, gram floor, white floor, etc.  I was located in the core of the seed : I got transfered in baking floor section. Packed in 1 kg packed I crossed the country in a lorry, then a truck, then finally on an airplane, I got exported. A supermarket suppliers buyed me. He extended my journey by too weeks, loaded on a truck, I arrived in that supermarket stock. One day Lisa, responsable of floor section placed me on a shelf. A lot of people came to see me. They stared at me with there face too close, I could hear the impact of there respiration on the paper packing. Finally, I got sold, Victoria buyed me she smiled to cashier once he scaned my bar code : "I'll pay by credit card."

She transported me till her car, arranged my packet in a shelf behind the door. I waited there again. Two days after she baked a cake. With my packet. I was in center of her bowl. She mixed in a strange way that I flew away and dropped on the table. She mixed eggs, butter, oil, baking powder, other particles were going to be backed to be eaten and me I laid there on the corner of the wooden table which smelled the wooden pillar Ali used to flaten the soil. She put the cake in oven. But I rested out. Later she cleaned the table before calling her children. She put me in the dust bin. A garbage car have picked the black plastic bag she put outdoor. Now i am on my way to recycling industry. I am the waste.

I remember all my lifecycle, my tiny but yet long journey. And this is the worst thing happened to me. I donno if I have to cry, to say I waited a whole season to be planted then past six months growing under the sky. Then I travelled to the mill, then exported. A spend half of my life waiting on shelve...All this to be a part of a waste ? Next to me there is a cucumber, half untouch. A biscuit packet just opened. We are all part of waste.  Why ? I'm asking u why ?

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