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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Go play god!

Joss Brooks!
Have you heard this name?
Haven’t I mentioned it before??
If you remember this you can give yourself “the cutest reader award for 2009”.
Pass me a beer coupon too as a note of celebration.

Ok now to more interesting stuff..

I had more luck coming my way to spend more time with this genius of a man..who incidentally wouldn’t even take claims for mammoth achievements (more on that will come as sidelines soon)
In the Adyar Poonga itself am amazed each time on the details that he has concentrated, time n energy he spends, the knowledge that oozes in various forms, patently Joss & co style of granite arts and so on..

Then one day I go with him to Ooteri, a sad suburb of North Madras, where again in another dirty dump site infested with all possible grimy activities, he converts a 5 acre to a magical forest. Now he intends converting that to a satellite of Adyar Poonga so that students of that part should be able to go there for environmental initiation/education.
Hmm.. to see how a dirty dump (part of the surrounding is still that!) has been converted to such a pleasant forest is bliss!

So am even more interested to visit his other earlier creations- PFC and nadukuppam. see here too!

That’s an amazing turn around for a dingy non-performing school to become such a model school..they even have an organic garden from which they get veggies for their midday meal which is otherwise a pathetic govt sponsored rubbish served as food. They even add spirulina from their own farm which is a high protein nutrition! The students there have eco clubs, environment programs, youth parliaments, awareness programs, a fantastic sewage treatment for their toilets, 150 species of trees in what was a barren land school, garbage group, etc. ya, I can keep bla blah-ing but since I hope to do more with them in the coming days lets keep that for another post.

If you think that’s too much for a single post, am yet to start on PFC.
So this genie called joss came out of some lamp somewhere in 1973 and suddenly had this urge to create a forest out of nowhere..

see this pic on left?
The same place now is as below:

actually more than this. (will link the fotos here soon)It’s a fantastic forest which is so much of an ethno medicinal forest as much as a bio resource centre or a tropical dry ever green forest with native flora & fauna or conservation forest or…hey, there is no end to it all..This is a great effort to be portrayed here in a few sentences. IMHO its not even possible for one man to achieve so much; or is it possible? Yes, if you are Joss Brooks.
This 60 acre heaven that he has created out of nowhere is today having almost 800 species of plants..many medicinal! ofcourse all native! Add to that the local birds that have (re)surfaced and the insects that have shown up.
So I ask this gman, if he started it all alone or as a team..BTW he never used the word “I” during my interaction in those 3 days..he wud never take claims to all that he has done..(believe me am just scratching the surface and chronicling the tip of the ice berg) he wud coolly mumble ‘those days most projects here at auroville were individual efforts’ which shud actually mean “like hell its my bloody work..” but JB wudnt say that u know. So Adyar poonga, PFC, the nadukuppam school or otteri forest or the new 30 acres eco forestation project at nadukuppam is all by his team..ok, I understand there is a big team motivated and well lead by this genie er genius but not to take personal credit and in these days is a bit too much, isn’t?
Oh yeah! I said I wud give some more quotes rit? Here it is before i forget..
('Seeds are the biggest wealth of this place')
('I cant pretend to be everywhere and doing things; need more able people to carry out stuff like this')
('I need to be here at PFC u see its my duty to prune the thorny shrubs on the walking paths here')
('replication at more places; atleast small satellite parks with environment education centres at different parts of the city is the way to go')
am so glad to rub shoulders with this hell of a man..hope to spend some meaningful time and ofcourse add value..but for that I shud first come out of my awe.
Finally for u guys- if u have access to some place (1 acre or a few acres), take a leaf out of JB- Go play god!! Yes, go create forest /park like him and add value as Joss would, by adding fantastic features like education centre, resource centre, seed resource bank and so on.
Hats off Joss brooks! Thanks for all your efforts!!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Stand up and applaud!

Sunitha Krishnan! what a lady!
There was a link in the comments of my prev post..nothing relevant to my post..
But a great information..a great person..and what a work she is doing..
(thanks anon! wud have wished u had input ur name too here! Anon had linked youtube, I chose the direct Ted link bcos anyday is my fav and I wud rather they get the hits.)
She was gang raped but refused to be victimized..but rose to dedicate her life to help women & children who were victims of human trafficking, sex trade and such like crimes..incredible..
What will u do when u are such a victim?
Go around and save 100s of such victims? Open scores of schools for such children? Create lives & livelihood?
hats off to her..
Ted follow up interview is here and if you want check her blog u can do so here.
did u read them all?
Now read the title of the that..

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Friday, December 18, 2009


Heard of Huggi? Pronounced ‘Who gghee’..
Supposed to be some south canara stuff.. akin to pongol but has pepper in powder form..the mung is roasted (in ghee, what else?) and then cooked like pongol!

That was the special of the day when I walked in to Karanataka sangha – Nungambakkam culturals..
Got the wind?
Madras music season is back…yes so soon!
and so the canteen hopping begins.. I really love the concerts as much as the different canteens at diff venues (as blogged here yesteryears!)

Still, to spot a new item like Huggi for a foodie like me is amazing!

As for the concerts its just hotting up…outstanding for me was the Lec demo by Aruna sairam! Unique experience..

Oh! Btw its winter (yes, tamil month of margazhi) in madras and so u wud see lotsa people with the monkey cap, muffler around neck & ears and funnily with sweaters even inside the halls/sabhas:-o

If you are in Madras just lap it all up- the winter, music season and ofcourse all these special food at each sabha canteen..

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

want a state?

All those who want a separate state, come fall in line on the right..

as for those who are opposed to such new states, pl fall in line on the left..

No! you cant form the left line first anticipating a statehood request..thats not allowed.

oh! more fun awaits, guys...what with aspiring leaders within each ruling family, these elder politicos can probably just split states and bequeath to the warring nice,eh?

for those of you to whom this fun isnt enough..go grab news on Tiger woods! ha ha..latest is Accenture is also splitting from him:-) did u ever think infidelity costs so much? so what will Accenture say now? wasnt that high performance delivered, multiply?? poor guys..they need to come up with something really innovative.


Friday, December 11, 2009

More Coimbatore farms..

There seem to be many farmers who have taken to Palekar’s school here at CBE than anywhere else in TN! They were all very enthusiastic and convinced practioners. They wudnt stand any small deviation and so would be highly opinionated on many other popular farmers. Any body who doesnot have an indigenous cow doesnot feature in their books at all:-)
Prabhuram of Kuniyamuthur is an amazing character..a very enterprising farmer..has his own unique ways to market his produce..while we were talking he gets a phone call asking for organic milk (ofcourse from his ind cow) and he fixes the rate and calls his kid and says “ from 2moro start 10 minutes early bcos appa has to deliver milk too to another house on the way..(he already delivers veggies to some parents who come to drop their kids at the same school!)
Thangavel is not only an organic farmer but an organic person to the boot.his ways of talking and going out of the way to help people..his demeanor & advises to any body..his interest in organizing any farmers event or just enthusiastically driving me from one farm to another..I just had to mention that a friend of mine wanted alfalfa seeds and he wud drive a few kms out of the way to fetch that..His farm is a beauty and similar to Ashok’s but even more green manure and earthworms..He is a proud man who makes his own jeevamirtham and asked me to smell his hand and was proudly voicing that the jeevamirtham that he mixed in the morning was still in his hands..
All of them prepare all inputs and donot buy anything from market.
The feather in the CBE cap was rajasekar!
A voracious reader, a passionate farmer, great organizer, fantastic worker..
When I asked him if he buys organic produce himself, he said he buys occasionally..when I wanted to ask him why (thinking why is he not being a consumer first) he coolly said that in the adjoining few cents of land he plants his veggies, even toor and some grains! Very enterprising..
So whats his livelihood/business? He has a petrol bunk on the Trichy road!
The statement of the tour comes from him! “only when Crude gets over, rather- only when my business dies, our planet has chances of indirectly Iam waiting for my business to go phut..”
He is already planning a cooperative community of natural farmers to live and farm collectively.. he wants life not revenue (in chaste tamil he tells me he wants to plan agri as Vazhvu, varumanam illai!) very nice person and well informed..
Such people infuse so much hope, u can start limping back in your path..
So do I now…

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Amazing Ashok!

Long back when I received a call from this gman stating he wanted to talk to me on organic farming, I was stunned..He said he got my number from his brother who was my school mate..firstly I never thought any of my school mate wud take me seriously and pass my to receive a call in this context was a stunner!
Then when I asked him his reason, he said ‘ u know I was born brought up in Neyveli- very close to nature..’ hey I see some similarity and my antenna went up..This fella apparently had a thriving business, some slip and slowly he loses interest in is just about carrying it on to satisfy his bare needs and is devoting more time in agriculture..that too natural farming! Following palekar’s school..hmm, sounds really interesting..another youngster, back to land, bla bla..
So wanted to meet him..
That happened during my visit last week to Coimbatore.. CBE brings lots of memories for me including my college days when we used to visit for TIES (inter engg sports) or some culturals..then when I was working in palghat we used to travel once a month atleast to have ‘good plate meals’.. the greenery and nice hospitable people with their respect toasted tamizh was always very novel to me..
again to CBE after long and i get to see hosts of nice courteous typical people..
It was really so nice to hear and see what Ashok is doing..He has just leased out a land and has turned that whole property in to a great piece..
What was a dying and non-performing coconut grove at Seerapalyam has been turned by his natural zero budget ways..he had so many insightful statements to make..(damn my memory)
This 10 acres of coconut farm got its Naatu maadu (indeginous cow) first..then he started cutting trenches between the trees (9” away from the trees)..then filled the trenches with the falling coconut branches, used shells and any green manure..then on the bunds of the trenches and inbetween tress he planted dicots (like toor, till, horse gram,etc) which fixes Nitrogen in the soil and enriches the soil. He could immediately see that the leaves of the coconut turned greener in 6 months! There were Glyricedia too- serving as fodder & green manure.
Termites were welcome here in this farm. He said termites don’t eat green living trees..when they go up such trees they only seek out dead parts and prey on them, so again helping. The biggest advantage of termites is they dig deep in to the soil thus aerating upto 6 metres or more underground.
There was abundant inter cropping that he has few cents it is plantains, then its onion, groundnut, chilly, cowpea, radish etc.. The general rule being big tree, medium, plant, shrub and a creeper! A nice 5 layer that helps the land, coexists and is fruitful too!
There is so much of humus he has managed in the last year..again a stat that he mouthed : 1 kg of humus retains 6 litres of imagine the water retention and how much gap one can give between watering cycle.
Castor was planted too and that was bcos it wud attract all pests that wud have otherwise attacked the intercrop!
There were some Moringa (drumstick) too.. that helps improve pollination I was told..It attracts lotsa bees, pests and that is welcome in natural farming..
He said the number of birds and butterflies have visibly increased in the last few months..hmm, nature returning to its old best..
He is also plan(t)ing various greens, brinjal, tomato, radish etc as intercrop in other parts..fantastic experiment..I see dividends coming..
Very insightful..very impressed and glad..
I asked him what if the friend (owner)from whom he has leased this land wants to sell this land..he coolly said its already in the process..the prospective buyer has not executed it fully and so he continues..what if that buyer doesn’t practice agriculture or doesn’t allow you to continue..he says ascetically that its ok..’then I will move on and look at other options..but it will be natural farming for sure..’
He also has developed a good network of organic/natural farmers and along with a few friends organizes farmers’ events and training programs.
Good luck buddy..wish you get returns in all forms soon..
very few fotos here..poor me..had only my mobile and so poor quality as well as quantity:-(

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Ashvattha farm

It was not a gloomy trip to Ooty inspite of the damages..
Arvind & Gayatri along with Mahesh (a well known bio dynamic farmer/consultant) have leased a 10 acres of land in a picturesque locale near connoor and are practicing organic farming.
So there is hope for some correction to the damages we cause to the nature..
They have planned a good neat organic farm trying to make it economically viable too. That way they want to take up more land, practice natural farming and soon live their reforestation dreams too.
They have a precision like plan for this farm where they will have almost all the hill veggies and medicinal herbs too and plan a neat rotation for consistency and continuity of the veggies to market. They are interested in supplying to organic shops like restore mainly and the rest locally. Local consumption is an insurance they say esp in days of no transport or nature's vengeance. Logical I thought!
Arvind has lotsa ideas. Coming from IT background, backed with some wide travel, reading and big dreams n hopes, they tread very carefully and with precise plans..supported by a very understanding & well informed wife Iam sure they will go a long way. I wish them all luck.
BTW such forays by youngsters is what gives me hope! and motivation too.
See here for some fotos..
Note: Long back when I started planning my ‘retirement’ I thought I would settle in some small farm in a hill station..for I was always put off by the hot clime of Madras..So am glad that Arvind & co are doing what I dreamt..Though he has not fully settled in ooty now, I see that am really happy for him..


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ooty Devastation! Man made?

I went to ooty as a part of my travel to visit various farms..
Ooty was cold. More importantly devastated..
This recent heavy rainfall has left ooty totally wrecked and damaged. So was it just a natural disaster?
May be, but forced by us..we, the mankind, have been so callous and have tested the nature’s patience that this is what we can get on ourselves..
Iam visiting Ooty after more than a decade and the number of new buildings and commercial expansion (development??) was illogical.
How many more buildings (houses, hotels, restaurants, shops) will be keep piling up on all sides of the hill? How many trees shall be cut for that?
Then how do we make this damage such a big issue?
Firstly reaching ooty was a many diversions..most roads were cut one has to go longer and in rough temporary paths..really scary..
So many buildings, farmlands have all just slid and fell..many places looked like a big JCB was at work..just carved buildings and establishments along with huge soil beneath..railway line and a few bogies were washed off near Ketti, I was told..
Many places didn’t have the roads..roads and huge chunks of land have just been carved and thrown few metres below..
One pathetic sight was a garage blown to some 50 metres smashed up like papdams and thrown apart..
The govt and other orgnsns are talking of huge losses and ofcourse compensation..None is talking about the agricultural loss! Funnily I had chosen a wrong time to visit farms, but I proceeded with my trip to take a first hand view of the damage..
phew, that was too much..
Many agri lands have just been carved out..There are no proper water ways..NO! There is no place for sewage, so where will there be plans or path for water..that too excess water..
So people simply resigned to fate and started calling it water volcanoes or such like new names... the damage caused was of tsunamic proportions..
If the govt and people together don’t get to understand that we actually got it on ourselves by just turning a blind eye to the mindless ‘development’ there is no way out..we shall have more losses and ofcourse more compensations!
Greed is the major cause.
See this to get a better picture: There is a dam under the defence control ( Katteri) out there in the open up the gates and let water out they have specific steps / rules to follow (like informing public by drumming up on each locality, informing collector, checking various water ways etc). Since the water levels behind the dam rose, they chose to silently open the gates and let the water go along with the rain more damage..this news is still only featured in the word of mouth concerns by the locals..there was a resort operating in an ‘unapproved’ place and there was a major wash out..many lives lost..but that never made news to save some local authorities and bad publicity for the hospitality industry!
Many land slips, wiped out roads, damaged houses, agri losses and we shall still see no correction, hmm..
we have no reason to shed croc tears unless there is path correction..
else we can keep chronicling about natural calamities and compensation to glory.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

ULFA and bangladesh

ULFA the outlawed terror organisation in Assam was fighting against the illegal immigrants if i remember right..One of their main demands was to stop the immigrants and they focused on the local issues caused bcos of such immigrants..
immigrants from where? Bangladesh!
so u think there could be some genuine problem..

But where do they operate from? bangladesh? bcos indian govt is hunting for them..
who is supporting them? the very same nationals that they are fighting against!
and whats the latest news? ULFA's chairman is caught! where? in Bangladesh!
how nice, eh? ISI, bangla terror outfits have relations with them i read!

piles of paradox!

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