Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Solitude farm & workshop!

So the 10 days of workshop is over and our mind still lingers on those days..
Hard to come out of such an educative and interesting 10 full fun days..
The Solitude farm is one of the many attractive farms within Auroville and is a marvel. This 6 acre organic farm is yet to be fully natural in Krishna Mckenzie’s words. But it’s a fully integrated and sustainable farm with well oiled systems n practices. U name it, u have it here: rice, peanuts, sesame, vegetables, orchard, ulundu, dal, and esp. millets like kambu, samai, varagu, tinai and ragi. We feasted on Samai and varagu (2 fantastic and healthy millets) dishes many days.
One can imagine the planning one needs to get them all in time and periodically. Add to that the manual labour and all other inputs (even though its mostly natural farming.)
Krishna is one of those rare persons (from India) to have worked with Fukuoka the great -the father of natural farming (and organic too in many ways). Krishna also had Fukuoka san's prime disciples visit Solitude.
Krishna is such an enterprising character - bubbly and joyous always. This Brit speaks so good Tamil, one is really floored the first instant itself. He even freaks out with tamil proverbs and refers himself (and some of his friends too) as ‘vellaikaran’ (tamil slang for gora/ whiteman) in a very funny manner. Its so much fun to work with him. No wonder he gets so many volunteers to help him at various times of the year and most keep in regular touch. Such a warm person that he is, even while we bid farewell he just said “don’t even make a call to inform me, just come in any time you feel like..we always have place for visitors”.
That reminds me the exotic places of stay we as volunteers get to live in. W and me stayed in a tree house. Otherwise u have the plenty of capsules ( the ones with keeth/ interlaced coconut leaves roofs ) with stylish windows that open with pulley system – a very natural and aesthetic place to stay.
The whole farm in all ways is natural, like the rooms to stay as said above, 2 pit dry compost toilet, food made from its own produce mostly, water pumped by a wind mill and the only light in the whole farm lit by solar power (or batteries charged from the solar power). So its totally off the grid in all senses and an amazingly functional place.
We did various activities like de-weeding, cutting remnant grasses of the previous season’s rice, sowing, transplanting, making beds for new vegetable garden, soak pit / kitchen garden, clay balls ( seeds are encased in a ball of clay which protects the seeds from the drying , rodents, birds and insects until the next rains help it catch up), moving compost etc. Sowing itself will be in different styles and time consuming.
Its not a joke folks! Its real hard work and if you factor in the sun and heat, its mind boggling. Gym, work outs etc don’t come near this and what a pity we all tend to ignore this tuff labour behind each of the produce we so easily consume!
We also visited various other interesting farms and around auroville, about which another post shall come in days to come. As for the much talked features like cobras, scorpions etc- there were some..but they minded their business as we did ours. So no incidents/ accidents!
To cap it all the other attendees were all gems and people of tremendous achievements and to share their passion, actions, adventures more than made our days, each day, inspite of being long tired ones. A complete and consummate workshop that was!
Oh yeah, fotos! Didn’t carry a camera so am dependent on a couple of friends to send me the ones they took. Once I receive them you will have them all here. Till then just imagine how hard I wud have worked and how beautiful and serene the whole place wud have been

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

on a sabbatical!

yeah, on hols within hols;-)
am off to auroville for a 10 days workshop on natural farming! Be good till I come back!
Solitude is a 6 acre sustainable farming community in the international township
of Auroville inspired by Fukuoka’s philosophy on Natural Farming and the wholistic vision of Life. we shall be there to be a part of sowing and other related activities on the farm (remember aadi pattam thedi vidhai?).
Basket weaving with cane and palm leaves, Blacksmithing, community cooking, eco-building,
playing music, and exploring a healthy dynamic life together, all beckons us!
There is also no electricity or the internet there but you can see the stars in
the night, hear the birds as you wake up and even encounter the odd Cobra in the bushes!
mmm, am excited and counting down.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

saturday night revelation!

Most of you regulars here know of the Restore's Bazar on saturdays. That's a sapping excercise. Some of us get the last of the packing done early that morn, then move the stuff from Visranti (an old age home at palavakkam where all the grains are processed, packed and stored) to the venue. Then the veggies arrive which is cleaned, sorted, take stock, unload and finally all items are displayed. This whole exercise that starts early in the morning is barely done and its time to open Bazar (4pm!). Then we have our regulars come there in the 1st 2 hours, later on its a trickle. Then we wind up grudgingly thinking more people shud have come, more stuff shud have sold, that shudnt have happened and all that. Then my wify and me set on our journey home after a long tired day.

There on the way on 2 satday nits we saw people flocking at at one particluar place. It was more like a stampede- noisy scene like quarrel. Then the curiosity killed, me that is, and we stopped over to check what the heck is that and its happening every week!(or atleast we see it every satday!).

Hey! that was a TASMAC! TN govt operated Wine shop (BTW why are they wine shop in india while wine is so rarely consumed?). ohmegawd! thats a revelation..more a prick that am yet to come off!

If only we were selling some Rice wine or wheat beer or organic Vodka people wud have been flocking. alas! we are after all sourcing healthy organic products and selling them at Chennai at no profit for the people's good.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why do we do these?

Krrrrrarghhhhhhhhhhh Thooooooooooo..
Why does one do that and just about anywhere? Any time!
I just have not understood..the very fact that I just never get that feeling to spit any time, even in private (except while brushing, oh! I make noise then!) means its more a habit or involuntary act..I don’t see it serving any purpose except when people have cold. Then I wish they stay close to a wash basin and thoo to their lungs content.
Especially while traveling in buses or even while riding a bike..i just happened to see one creature dangerously riding a <100cc bike with his wife and 2 kids and maneuvering thru the morning traffic and just spitting along as he was cruising, unmindful of the folks just riding close to him. Many a times I have caught them up and told them its shameful to spit esp while riding or from a bus and all I get is a stunned stare, meaning ‘so what?’..
Its not that its just a Desi sport. NO! I have caught the likes of ponting, Akthars etc spitting in the field on live camera action! There were many whites who used to do so in Europe though this is v high in middle east and east!
Folks, pl advise any body who wud listen to you to refrain from this nonsensical habit..

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Many events/ happenings and no to our good old snippets..
The oil crisis deepens..all of madras petrol bunks are over crowded, police intervenes to control and traffic snarls the last 3 days that is..the good side of it is lots of car pooling, avoiding travel, commuting by public transport, etc happened! So that’s prolly a good justice delivered..on the other hand I want the fuel prices to be increased for 2 reasons: 1- to avoid the govt subsidy and use that funds in really good areas of concern for the real poor. 2- so that people will start to think twice before commuting and the pooling, sharing, austere measures etc will surface.
Euro cup was just about ok, so no big mention here inspite of it being (co)held in swiss..the 2 best teams – Holland and portugal left half not much left to relish..with the listless Germany making to finals. But full credit to germans, inspite of their dull game, most of us were expecting the unexpected even in the dying moments! They are really famous for such last minute reversals, aren’t they?
The legendary maneckshaw died:-( A great leader who took us to the one of rarest, decisive and memorable victories was ignored not only by the govt but also the whole political fraternity. Not a single MP or politico of mention attended his funeral. I don’t really know the political compulsions or reasons behind, but felt bad n sad. RIP!
Finally the most impressive calls (of the recent pranks) from the politrixians comes from her highness mayavati. She calls the bluff atlast! She says the N-pact is anti muslim..oh, where do they manufacture all these idea(l) s from? What does that deserve? Oscar or Nobel?? Order that fast guys..before she qualifies for more..
Some interesting farm visits and nicer developments in the organic movement called restore too! But lack of time pushes such a write up once more.