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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, March 22, 2010

Rishi valley – not just a school!

RV was the part of our 1000km trip, thanks to Dr. Karthik and Dr.Kamakshi(Vidya).
More on them soon, but before that on the school..yes, it fully qualifies to be “The School”.
A complete place for students (of life like us too!). what with beautiful organic farm, veg garden, lotsa trees – it’s a heaven.
The students out there are given organic meal for which most of the produce is harvested in their land itself. Only in summer when there is very little that grows do they procure from known organic farms nearby.
The campus is so lively and the students look very happy. During our stay we had food from their hostel. I should mention that, just that food alone can be a great attraction for any one to spend their life there. The students, their programs, the assembly (yes, we attended an assembly too! And learnt some whole new stuff in that half hour!), curriculum, some extra-ordinarily talented (and encouraged by school) kids – all in all very impressive.
It was exam time and after many years I saw a teacher (RG) who was very anxious to see the question paper since it was her subject that day. Man! Such teachers do exist still!!
It was such a pleasant conversation that we had with her and very insightful too.
Among other things they also grew sugarcane last season and were processing jaggery. For a long time I have been wanting to see the jaggery extraction live,which was accomplished too.

Now to the Hero and Heroine of our trip!
Karthik and Vidya are 2 lovable characters. When they came to restore a few months back we just struck a conversation and when I was told they were in RV, I assumed they should be teachers.
In my hierarchy of esteem, teachers follow farmers and so I had that ‘respect’ reserved for these two. and its only when I went there to RV I found that they both were running a rural Health centre. Phewwwwwww..they just climb up so high in my esteemate..IMHO thats a dream. To serve people in rural area like this where they hardly have access to good medical attention and advise.
And to do that with sweet smile like these 2 do..those people in the surrounding few districts are really fortunate. Karthik is a doc and Vidya a pathologist! Made for each other and for such service. So RV school extends its arm to a new area few years back which is now such a big sought after service. Some 100s get treated every day. Apart from this vidya also goes to a near by town to help a lab out there. And they both are so passionate about organic farming that they help organic farmers in the surroundings.
The highlight is that they both collect (& collate) voluminous data on the effects (ofcourse ill effects only, what else do u expect?) of the chemicals – ferti and pesticides on the farmers (esp farm labours). That’s one huge exercise and when I saw their findings it was sad truth!
Next time any of you think u don’t have time or more importantly you say that to me, I pack you to RV and let you watch this couple.
Iam not going to reel out stats of the no. of persons treated, medical camps or other details..but one statement shud suffice. While we were talking to Karthick he said he even has patients from as far as Bangalore outskirts! I was amazed and asked why? Esp when people think there is better medical facility in cities. He said very modestly in a low tone “ may be treatment with a smile is rare..”
for those interested in some stats and figures see here.
Am sure it is..to dedicate one’s life for such a cause and to carry out with such smile day in and day out and to also spread wings to all avenues possible is amazing..
Such people as I always say are hopes..they infuse so much of hope and joy in to you that all our earlier depression and lack of motivation run away.

Note: BTW they grow tomatoes in their garden, though we didn’t get time to see that. But K was to give us some tomatoes from their garden as per instruction from V but he forgets. We don’t know that yet.. but when we reach Madras the next evening a courier reaches us at the same time. It’s a small box of tomatoes grown in their garden. I dunno if he had to rush them by courier to save himself from V’s fury but that was the beginning of our tomato week.. infact it was this couple who introduced us to prabakar and asked us to visit his organic form and from there our tomato story started!

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