Walking down a pathway through the mudhouses of Mandur, we see a tree symbolizing the Rakhonndar, the guardian spirit of the place. The villagers have celebrated gulal at this mandd last night and the ground bears hues of vibrant colours.
But we are here for a site study and we need the depth of the water in the rivulet. Kashinath Shankar Naik takes me down midstream in his canoe. His little vessel with a single outrigger is loaded with bamboo nets.
It looks like hard work, rowing, working with the tidal flow to get where we want. But the wiry Kashinath does it effortlessly. "Nustem borem mellta re?", I ask him. "Gavta tashem..." he replies wryly. He describes the exact profile of the river bed as though he has lived underwater on this river all his life. And after dropping me onto the bank, he is off.