Rice is a satirical poem by Chemmanam Chacko, originally written in Malayalam and translated into English by Ayyappa Panicker.  The poet recounts the changes in the attitude of farmers in Kerala who shifted gradually from food crops to cash crops.  The poem is divided in to two sections.  The first one is the wishful thinking of the poet before arriving back in his village after a long time and the second is the the painful reality of the present.

After four years of research in North India, the poet is eager to reach his village.  He knows that it is planting season there.  He imagines the bustle on the fields where farmers are ploughing with several oxen.  He expects to reach home in time for a long cherished meal of athikira rice.  He is fed up by eating chapaties.

But the reality is surprisingly different.  The place has changed drastically.  In the place of paddy fields there are rubber, arecanut  and dealwood trees.  Instead of planting paddy, his father is fixing a new machine for making rubber sheets.  He says that only fools turn to rice farming for profit.  His brother comes with the wheat bought from the ration shop.  Probably he has to take chapaties here too.

Meanwhile they hear the sound of an airplane above.  It carries the chief minister who goes to the centre to clamour for more grains.  It flies above the cash crops because no one promotes farming of rice.  The poet wonders that even for some husk we may have to go to the centre and beg for it. One cannot miss the social criticism raised in the poem about a people who are not reluctant to discard their age old traditions and customs.
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