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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

Friday, February 12, 2010

1800 Kms on the road

In all this melee (anti GM campaigns, Piyush affairs,etc) I forgot to chronicle my long tour. 1800Kms on my scorpio to various places..different farms and meeting interesting farmers..It was fun..
It all started with a visit to Point return enroute to auroville..that nights stay at Sadhana Forest! An out of the world project in auroville where volunteers from all over the world come and volunteer in that extraordinary mission of Aviram & Jorit. That day (wednesday) was a talents night out there and to see so many talented youth from across the globe and showcase them casually in that off-grid campus was a great experience. Then we joined the volunteers of sadhana for one session the next morning and set off to trichy.
There was the agri exhibition out there organized by dinamalar (a tamil daily) and so an opportunity to see many farmer, farm equipments. It was fun bcos I happened to spend time with Ashok, rajasekar and Amit palekar (yes, the legendary, zero Budget fame subhash palekar’s son). So met some farmers in their network. Though my expectations weren’t met by this exhib, it had some purpose.

Then we set out to Kallakurichi, to visit an organic (oh no! zero budget) farm. Those farmers who follow palekar school treat ‘organic’ as a bad word. They will be driven by high conviction and wudnt deviate from their natural farming methods. They wudnt even tolerate a hybrid cow (to a nattu/desi cow)..so its always interesting bcos most of them see agriculture as a way of life..more like a spiritual practice than a livelihood.
So it was not new(s) when I met Chandrabose in the village called Neelamangalam 4km before kallakurichi. Nor was I surprised when I came to know there is no other farmer practicing organic farming in the surrounding. This man also hasn’t sold his produce in the market but only given to his relatives & friends alone and most of them have seen vast improvement in taste and health. Good example is his sister who always had acidity and other stomach problems which hasn’t surfaced from the time she has started taking his rice and grains.
It was a shock when I was talking to some farmer in that area when he said that one can’t extract jaggery on their own without ‘license’. Police can raid it seems! I see that as a sugar lobby’s ploy to stop small farmers from extracting their own jaggery but to sell the sugar factories- at the cost they determine! Hmm, ways of democracy!

Then we proceed to a village some 25kms from Attur (before Salem). We had to take a deviation towards koolamedu right at a foothill. The route was so scenic and this farm surrounded by hills on all side was a treat..so a walk around his farm towards the evening was so delightful.
This farmer was some 70+ agile man with loads of knowledge and energy. There were some very interesting products they had too..the steal was their castor oil..traditionally the castor seeds are milled with turmeric we were told and so the fragrance was fantastic..any amount of sniffing by my friends couldn’t lead to correct answer! It was so different. Among other things they had good amount of traditional paddy varities.

From there to Salem and Dharmapuri. As we were leaving the last of our farm visits (& the eco restoration project of Piyush) near pennagaram, we just saw a sign board saying Hogenekkal 18Kms.. we were scheduled to catch Dharmapuri road and head to Bangalore..
But the lure of fun..so we took left and went to hogenekkal had a good massage and a bath and were about to leave..
And here again suddenly we see a sign board saying denkanikota and Hosur..This is a single carriage way and thru the forests..so lured again we go..rest is history..
As my friend SL who was driving asks me to check the sound in the front bumper, I set out to check that and in the process of all those bending and mending, prolly dropped my mobile..bcos after a few Kms I realise my mobile isn’t there and we hit back searching and rest is history, as all of u know..I was without a hand for a few days- good days though, still the feeling of having lost in such crazy situation lets u thinking of butterfly effect and tracing back to so many unexpected turns that u took and how they affected in a totally diff area, unexpectedly..
Such is life- filled with surprises and losses ;-)

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