This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following <a href="http://blogaton.in/">
'We are sowing rice, the native variety, which does not require much water. Would you like to join in the morning?'
The invitation was exciting, because it was not from a normal village farmer, it was from an IT professional in the city of Bangalore(the so called silicon valley of India!),who would like to call himself an 'urban farmer', and who has taken a patch of land on rent, in the middle of the sprawling city. And I must add here, he is doing all kinds of crazy things on it.
'What about your office tomorrow? I asked him, knowing it was not his usual Saturday/Sunday.' And he replied from the other end of the phone, 'yeah... but Nature can not wait.., and being the boss myself, I can enjoy such luxuries...'. The matter was settled. Both, my wife and I being retired people, we had no bindings of the 'working days'. We agreed to spend the day with them on their piece of land.
We had started getting fond of this young family ever since we had met them. His below 10 years old two kids, his wife, and Badri had shown us with pride their little kitchen garden in their 4 ft by 10 ft balcony in their 2BHK flat on the World Kitchen Day last year (WKD is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of August ). In small pots they had cultivated some vegetable plants, greens, and some herbs. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Badri had informed us that he was an IT professional and was running his own IT consultancy firm.
Months passed by, and one day he informed us that he has taken on lease some 3000 sq. ft of farm land just in the vicinity. We were amused.
A few weeks later Badri came home with his first crop of some brinjals and palak. He informed us that the vegetables were grown by him organically. He was excited. Our desire had grown to visit his farm, and this call from him would make it happen.
I went off to sleep, and slipped into my childhood. More than half a century ago, I saw myself as a member of a struggling family in a village. Grandpa would inform us that we had lost all our farm land to the actual tillers under the tillers as owners law after the Independence. Education was the only property he could give us.
I recalled, as an engineering student I had come to Bangalore in early '70s on our Industrial study tour, and how a wish had just crossed my mind- 'How wonderful would it be to settle down in this city!'
The wish came true and I became resident of this city since the last 40 years! The rural environment faded away from the memory and an Industrial, modern city dwelling engulfed us, we did not realise. By the time we retired, I could only remotely call myself as a far more former farmer's grandson.
In the morning we followed in our car Badri and his wife on their scooter. We reached his patch of land within less than 2 km drive. We saw by the side of this land the most modern express way running . Badri informed us that the owner of the land got good compensation for losing a part of his land to the road construction. His cows, and coconut and banana trees fetch him enough for his livelihood. He had neglected the remaining land.
However, when Badri had approached the land owner for leasing him out a piece, first time, he had made fun of this guy in his IT attire. He asked Badri to come back after 3 months, if his madness was still alive. Badri approached him again after 3 days, and was rejected saying you laptop culture guys can not understand a farmer's life. Badri went again with his wife, and the owner relented giving him the 3000 sq.ft piece.
The owner watched Badri's family struggling for 15 days cleaning up all the bushes and unevenness of the plot given to him rejecting a paid labour help. At every stage initially the owner questioned Badri's ways, and waited when Badri would quit! But Badri was not a quitter. He would go all over remote places in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc to learn all about organic farming.
So, when the first crop of organic vegetables were harvested, without using chemicals, the owner became friendly. Badri gave his old laptop to the owner's son who was going to college, and the owner became Badri's fan. Out of joy and appreciation the owner offered the adjoining bigger patch to make the plot size to about 10000 sq.ft. Badri is going to sow the native variety of rice, peanuts and some Ragi in the additional patch. Badri says he will get 60-70 kg of rice from this sowing. His dream is to become self sufficient in terms of his family's food and vegetable needs.
We watched Badri run around organising water flow into the tilled plot using mannual implements while his wife harvested fresh palak, methi and some other vegetables for us.
It was noon now, and Badri's wife left on the scooter to fetch her sons from the school. Children came running into the field and started playing with the mud and water streams. They located broken coconut shell and made a boat to let it float in the stream.
I fell silent, almost lost into these children's innocent existence. Remembered how our children grew up with computers and jailed existence within four walls in the city. The entire four decades of our life passed by in front of my eyes, and brought me back to that day on which as a young, to be an engineer, I had made a wish. A thought crossed, if I have to live my life once again, and make a wish again,. what would it be?
Instantly, my inner voice from the other side of silence spoke up- I would like to live Badri's life. My children playing in the fields, making paper boats and float them in water in rains, grow some grains and vegetables by our own hands and live a simple natural life... for what ever reasons..
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics
who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked <a href="http://www.blogaton.in/