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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hats off Roy!

Roy Jacob, our protagonist, was born & brought up in The US of A!. A texan to the boot, till 5 years back that is, Roy was a happy 2nd generation (or 3rd?) NRI, happily working in some IT dept as a consultant at Enron (where else can the contradiction dawn- to make it a perfect switch?) Roy was interested in Gandhian philosophies and was an avid reader of anything to do with Gandhi. Slowly reality caught up. Firstly he was not very happy with his chasing money life style and then the controversies & contradictions of the US polity & ofcourse Enron’s role in most parts started hitting. Then the Iraq war was the last straw as roy started thinking, is he after all supporting some 1000s being bombed at some other part of the world. So he quit, came to India and visited many places associated to Gandhi like wardha, Gandhi institute, auroville & other ashrams .
Then he wanted to live close to nature, live of his own work and most of all lead a very simple Gandhian life. Now this word Gandhian has become an adjective by itself for a frugal, simple, eco-friendly, truthful way of living- what ever one’s view of Gandhi is.
So our hero decides to live off a small piece of land. After a good hard training in a 3 cents piece he buys a 20 cents piece of land at Wayanad and settles there. For an idea, 100 cents is one acre, so this is one fifth an acre. There he constructs a small hut/house for himself. When I say constructs, its literally! He got help only for some intricate parts like the foundation and cross beams(?) of the structure. Rest all was hand made by him. So he is one person I know who can claim “I built a house”. He has this cute small hut with a small cute bedroom too in that! (see the foto!) He parades me in there with such pride and shows me the bedroom saying he wud sleep over that room in summer and inside in winters! Then there are the functional windows that would open out from the main wall which is ofcourse bamboo and such like. A nice earthen and natural house. A small stove on the ground (see if you can make out the stove adjoining the bedroom wall in that foto?) where he cooks his own food.
So what of the raw materials for his food?
He farms himself. Ofcourse organic! In the remaining place of the 20 cents our man performs agriculture. He grows his own rice, vegetables, tapioca etc. rarely he buys from outside. Many days he just lives on jack fruit.
In essence he lives off his small piece of land, literally.
He tries out various styles in his farm and by now has accumulated so much of knowledge on organic farming. He prepares his land himself. Plants and transplants all alone. De-weeds, maintains, waters, harvests – hey everything on his own. I even feel tired thinking and typing this:-)
He spoke of danger and other Nitrogen fixing plants (like cow pea, soya,, sun hemp) which is what he had now. Also about his trial of Fukuoka method of sowing along with a harvest! (remember clay balls – fukuoka style?) Now he would immediately sow/transplant 3 traditional varieties of paddy that will see him thru the next few months and take care of his rice needs the rest of the year!
When I asked him if it wouldn’t be boring he said “ infact a regular office work or an agri labour job could bore. Here I have to explore and experiment regularly. Each day is new and challenging. The minute I think its boring I have plenty of option to switch over to another task For eg if deweeding is boring, I can immediately think of watering, mulching or something else. Its co-creation with nature. Exploring is the order of the day. Its fun. You never get tired of it”
Phew..aint that too much?
Iam amazed at the knowledge he has amassed and the ease with which he states lotsa facts. To think that he was born brought up in plush western conditions without even an idea of how and where farming is done! Most importantly there is no air of achievement or cockiness but just matter of fact statements. So cool and admirable guy, this Roy! Hats off to him. Iam so happy & glad I visited him, his farm and the farm house(!) at wayanad!

Another day I shall post about his tribal neighbours, the small theft that happened and his next plans now.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

its all happening..

a talk at Rotary silver beach at Madras on "why organic" and a film screening at Madras Terrace house (see here for their eco-month program) by restore followed by an interactive session.
The madras Terrace house was very eventful : a nice film - Poison on the platter by Mahesh Bhat, followed by an interactive session with the IT-turned-organic farmer jaishankar. That was a very nice and informative session.
The ofcourse all our restore regular activities taking so much time, I hardly had time for other things..
so I really sincerely thank Dhoni for this goof up..for he singlehandedly saved me quite some hours! thanks buddy! BTW, Iam sure that only with his faulty captaincy and scratchy batting he screwed it up for chennai kings in IPL and India @ T20 WC. He shud learn to receive these flaks with some grace for he was enjoying lotsa of adulation in good days. I really cant get how one could bat like how he is doing these days esp for a flamboyant batsman like him!

BTW am off to wayanad, Kerala for 4 days- an outing with some friends and wud also visit a great guy/farmer/farm there. wait for a nice piece on him on my return.
till then be friendly- eco friendly. Those of you in Madras see if u can visit Madras Terrace house

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another farm..

Not another farm, this one I visited this Sunday! was sweet & fun unlimited..
It was a very harsh & busy 2 weeks I had and thought I shud just lie low and rest the full day this Sunday..but like an addict I had my tremors as I realized I had not visited an organic farm for sometime now.
So W & me set off to this special farm 100kms from Madras. 100 acres of mangoes, chikoos, amla etc. Mangoes it was mostly and and scores of varieties.
As we just entered Mr.Bharathi the owner of this grand farm asked if we want a juice. I nodded thinking anything cold is welcome this hot noon time. He comes out with 2 mangoes to us and presses it on all sides and offers saying ‘just bite at one end and suck up all the juice. One can also place a straw in the hole and drink it easily’. Hmm..a straw in to a fruit! That was a delicious welcome drink!
A man who has not used any chemicals ina farm that has only fruits is a great feat. Not to use any chemical treatment to ripen them was just incredible. Infact he hardly plucks the fruits..he waits for them to fall off, ripe!!
Except when we ask for some semi ripe ones like I asked for restore sake.
What all types! How differently luscious and sweet! Rumani, sindura, juicewala(called rasalu), bangalora, banganapalli, kaala body, malgova, Himam pasand to name some of what I ate there..just pluck eat..unimaginable.
Then we went to the parts where sapota (chikoo) were planted and so hogged on them for a change!
A memorable day! I don’t think I can ever forget this day when I ate so many mangoes in record time and relished till the last piece.
Some small favors for the farm visits carried out for restore, eh?
BTW we hardly saw any insects! Nor did we see any plant/tree wanting any special attention or with some pest or disease attack! Infact Bharathi voices his concern that he wants some insects to happen. He says that shud be some interesting challenge but since the soil and seed are great in his case theres no disease. In fact the rare occasion that his trees got some infection last year all farmers around suggested him some heavy dose of chemical..but he didn’t budge. He called his mentor (an agri officer) who asked him to just dilute maida and spray. So these maida paste(diluted) went and got stuck to the leaves to which the insects were attracted and so got stuck. They either became easy pick for the birds or they got stuck in to those small sticky maida pieces. Then the next day of sun heated all these pieces and they would fall off like dosas from a hot pan! So simple, eh? Ingenious ways, incredibly working solutions. Still we seek to nasty & costly solutions. (below: Bharathi posing proudly with his nellikai yield and the mango hanging all



King Roger!

Fedex, atlast, won at Roland garros! How relieved he should be!
and for sure I am! Relieved and happy for fedex.
So many questioned his greatness without realising 4 out of 5 times he was here in the finals!
From now we shall see a better Federer for he will be without that pressure and question mark hanging. So how many more do you think he will win from now?


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Iam going to die! that again..
Did you? Now proceed..
Like how DMK stayed out of the ministry
Like how Cong was strict to have only ‘non corrupt’ ministers/ministry
Like how Manmohan didn’t allow many ministers from one family
Like how ATM ministries weren’t distributed to one TN family
Like how MK gave his life for so many issues till date! Latest being Tamil eelam
Like how stained ministries of last tenure werent given to DMK stained fellas
Like how all politrixians are going to live up to their poll promises- like everything free incl 2 wives each.. now that I have given my life, let me start again..
But there are so many things happening..the recent press bingo is keep us restorers real busy..restore is participating in many exhibitions – some eco event here and enviro event know how it is! June 5th being environment day and so many corporates and biggies will remember our planet, environment, ecology and bla bla right?
So many need some good ‘names’ to reflect in their stalls or rolls..and so we being a benign nice name to have on board, we are there every where..putting up stall, displaying organic products, talking about being good to mother earth, finally;-) trying to win customers to restore..
With all this you still want me to post regularly and esp about our political scene (as many asked over email!!) here is my revenge post on the political scene..
So you are not missing much in me not posting regularly esp on political front!
Yes, regular posts on farm visits, interesting persons will feature soon..
Till then some Sunday gas like this is suffice;-)