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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

Monday, April 13, 2009

Piyush Piyush Piyush

I met this guy who came to demonstrate a bamboo chair at our restore. That was not a simple plain chair, it had some intelligence infused. One could fold it and carry it easily, move a couple of pieces and it becomes a high chair or rearrange it and that could become a side table. Amidst our restore Bazaar commotion I quickly asked him where he was from and where he had his farm. It was to be salem luckily where I was heading the next week, then! He also mentioned his bamboo farm was organic! Reason being economics, pure sense and enviro concern. So a day was marked immediately in my mind to visit him.
I was at salem mainly for the thalaivasal farmers meet (now that will be posted here later) and other farm visits. But one of the 1st places I visited was Piyush’s office. Office? nay industry! He had a group of bamboo experts from Tripura and was doing wonders with bamboo. This bunch should be artists and geniuses to come out with such wonderful pieces. Chairs, easy chairs, side tables, dining tables, blinds (yes beautiful ecofriendly bamboo blinds in various colours and designs), cloth racks, cot, Fridge stand, stools, book readers (keep wondering till I fish out a foto for you to grasp that!), adjustable chairs and what not! even name boards!
Ok, am always biased for bamboo and so all those articles impressed me and so am screaming..u all know..but what if u found out too, like me, that all that is only a small % and there is more in this small giant.
Hey look up in his reception and see a poster about an agri college and ask him what that is and he smiles and says, after he plonked in 12th since he cudnt go to college, hence he started his own. (ok, close your awed mouth! I did close immediately) what? College?? Yes – an agri college with syllabus, faculty and sponsors! So where is it now..hold on, it cant all be all a big time success. He is no government or rip-ur-pocket-bambanis rit? So some hiccups -like the students (who were and can only be rustic poor ones) had to spend close to Rs40 for a day to travel (by bus)from house to college to farm & back the strength dwindled, but not his dream or wish to bring it back..its still simmering and dormant waiting to burst big, soon.
Then look left: There u see some paaku mattai plates! (areca sheath round plates). Oh those eco friendly biodegradable plates that we see now replacing the Styrofoam & plastic plates in most sensible households/parties. He was the pioneer who not only cut the manufacturing cost and also was the 1st to remove the initial major problem of areca plates- fungus formation! Hmm..took a wait and look right:-)
Speak out salem! Whats that? He is a one man army who fights against any injustice and environment screwing project and succeeds. He was singly instrumental in shutting the Bauxite mine (heard of Malco of the Vedanta group?) at kolli hills. See here. I happened to independently confirm this during my kolli trip. Where ever I asked a farmer or a small potti kadai (shop) owner he wud mention a chap called piyus from salem stopped it. Phew..what an achievement! Now did u take the hat off! No, wait..he has stopped Jindals in Kanchan malai and is now up against the stupid mining orgy attempt at Tiruvannamalai.
Peep in to another room as you walk out of his office, you see an amla seed remover. This drop out, as is typical of all maverick drop outs across the globe, freaks out. Genius oozes, silently but.
I say, my head is spinning and so ask him to come outside to the porch with me under a big cherry tree to ease myself. It was really getting too much. But then I see a small stove- rugged metallic design but connected to a hose. As I ask him where is that connected he just lights it and there is strong blue flame. So I decide that shud be some LPG and so its only prolly some stove design and nothing more. But no! what the heck. How can that be only some new stove design. It’s the methane from bio-wastes that’s feeding this. So those big drums I saw outside under that tree were all not only decomposing bins but harvesting gas for this stove. He actually makes this low cost solution in toto! from kitchen waste to gas for the kitchen. A better solution than all else (like vermi composting etc)bcos the methane which will be released in all other solutions is trapped here and burnt. Then the slurry/sludge is anyways composted and used as manure.
So now slowly Iam disinterested and start waiting for something (hu)manly or simply normal. So take my eye off anything new or different. and wait for him to sound something goofy to bring me back to conversation.
So here he was falling a prey to my designs..he prolly counted a few yaaaawns and slowly admitted. This little creature confessed. Hey, he doesn’t know to make tea. He apologises he cant give me tea bcos theres no one at home then and he cant make it. Ha ha you loser..(ok I made that up) But seriously he didn’t give me tea, promise.
Where the hell does he get time for all these? What motivates him? Or what does he smoke??? He wasn’t going to tell me all that..sigh sigh..
Then it comes to the topic of that cherry tree and plants, farm we meander on such topics we reach his terrace! There so many pots & bamboo baskets full of aloe vera and many other plants. Many not in good condition. Why? W & me smirk;-) and he says that’s bcos he doesn’t have time now to tend to these terrace garden but…come on, but what? We try to be nosy.. he now slowly comes out with another venture of his..supplying health food (twice a day?) to a regular set of clients! What is that btw? Wheat grass juice, aloevera juice & such like, some sprouts, salads etc. He was forced to stop it bcos he did not get enough clients to sustain it and justify the time he had to put in. But those regulars are cribbing, but he cant help right?
There he suddenly shows us a huge tree full of yellow flowers (the big ones we see on road sides right. Poor me, dunno the name. some one out there hilfe) and his eyes bloom with pride. That’s bcos that tree fell off a few months back right on to his house’s backyard only to be supported by the back wall. The root portion is almost out and what this fella did was to cover that root with as much soil as possible and water it. The fallen tree which had shed all its leaves & flowers is in to full bloom now at that 20 degrees slant, just about held by the rear compound wall. The tree is living with just that 25% of the root now underneath! So this fella fights nature too! Doesn’t give up, eh?
Then we stroll to his back yard to inspect that sleeping tree in full and suddenly watch a few plastic bags and lays packets. W stares at those but didn’t ask him anything about lays but he confessed. That he has 2 kids and they are normals:-) they eat chips like all their classmates, unlike father..ha haa..yeah, I hate all those alu coated, glossy painted plastic packs of chips and all those unhealthy advt backed spoilers. but ,but when I see its in Piyush’s back yard I know he has some ‘home work’ to do. But we are talking Piyush here folks.. he did that home work, unlike in his school days. Every packet that is emptied by his kids, they need to fill their inhouse compost and prepare saplings ( with seeds of the fruits, veggies consumed at home or of the trees in the neighbourhood) GENIUS! Every plastic bag that one wud see, small to big, multinational to local, consumed by them or anyone in the vicinity, with some sapling or the other. These are then planted across salem or surrounds. Hats off to his kids..That was the stealer for me. numero uno in this big list of his achievements. W is yet to come out of this!
Now, am tired- of typing and remembering all his deeds.
But I shud mention here that he did take me (suddenly one of the days that week I was in salem he called and asked me where I was and said ‘wait there, I shall pick you in 5 minutes’) to his farm. That’s adjoining some dense reserve forest near dharmapuri and what a place it was! That I was totally unprepared for such a trip, was starving for water, was hungry as hours passed by, walked in fantastic moon light with no signs of civilization as far as we could see, talked so many things, has to wait for another day. Oh! As we prepared to leave and started his jeep, a sudden cloud of smoke engulfed the bonnet and we opened to see flames around the battery. (some short circuit). How we corrected it and how we managed to leave that forest in that late night also has to wait for another day.
But it was Piyush all the way. Such guys are hopes. Such guys are motivation that come my way. Such guys are real! NOT FICTION!
Thanks Piyush- for everything! For working tirelessly for this society and for achieving so much. Do more..we will all wait to follow or atleast applaud. (yes, ladies & gmen, put your hands here not to clap but comment here- that’s a way to appreciate him!)

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