My one week at O-campus and our farm

I put one week leave with intention to contribute my bit to o-campus construction acitivities, along with my farm development. Here is my journey (journal?)! Some what longer post…

Saturday (19-05-2012)

It was my first over night stay at pink house, Bodichipalli. After Vishal and others returned from drum event, we were chatting till around 1.30am. Then I couldn’t sleep until 3.30am since mosquito friends kept me engaged.

Next day plan was to meet one of o-campus neighbours.

Sunday (20-05-2012)


Minakshi, Ratnesh and I, along with Murugesh of Hanumanthapura, went to D.Kothapalli to meet Muniswamy. He was courteous, humble. He came with us to o-campus. We showed him boundary points. He happily agreed that he was enjoying the land and he has no issues to relinquish that portion of land.

In the afternoon, we faced another neighbour (???) Rajendran. He is son of Yellappa who sold land to Mr.Kumar who in turn sold the land to Deb uncle. Rajendran objected about boundary line on east side of o-campus land. He objected about doing survey without informing him. He insisted that we move our boundary line little inside as it appears that rain water canal forms the boundary line. He insisted for re-survey in his presence. We told him that we have just done official survey 7-8 days ago and we won’t redo it. But we are ready to take second look at boundary points whenever there is a re-survey. He was not ready listen and he kept repeating “If you don’t move boundary line, I will come with tractor and till my land as per earlier understanding of boundaries”. I was provoked. Ratnesh kept me cool!

Our farm:

Hema and I, decided on type of farm house construction. We met local mason Mallesh and decided to give contract (labour) for farm house construction. We had earlier considered a team from Bangalore. But decided to go ahead with local team for reasons: stay facility, cost difference and also with intention of involving local people. We did marking of farm house and did Bhoomi pooja.

Returned to Bangalore to drop family.

Monday (21-05-2012)

Started from Bangalore at 5.50am to get hold of a JCB for foudnation digging in my farm. No luck, I couldn’t find any one in Uddanapalli, Kelamangalam. Now I have got contacts of all JCBs in the region :-). One JCB promised to come at 2pm. But it kept postponing by one hour but never turned up. I was ready to do it even in dark – becuase we wanted to start work on Tuesday. But nothing happened today in our farm.

Rajendran’s drama – continued. He appeared again asking what we decided about boundary. After some heated exchange of words, he left saying he will till land next day.

Then appears Sampangiram, our another neighbour. With coaching from Ratnesh, Minakshi, I was well prepared ๐Ÿ™‚ [Coaching: How do I percieve neighbours (physically close as well as people around, including ones in villages around: trouble makers v/s they are battling their life and hence behaviour]. I was friendly to him and took him around to show boundary points. My impression of him of trouble maker was completely demolished. He said he has concerns over 3 boundary points as they don’t match with earlier boundary points clearly visible. I said, we can recheck with survey dept; we are not putting any fence until the matter is convincing to both parties.

I was little worried – so I closed all windows and slept in safe corner in the pink house ๐Ÿ™‚

Got local SIM card recharged and got GPRS charge too, so I can keep myself connected to internet.

Tuesday (22-05-2012)

Our farm:

Caught hold of one JCB in the early morning and got the foundation dug. Foundation work for farm house at our farm thus began…

I was anticipating Rajendran today. But he didn’t turn up. I thought he will do some tilling in our land for free. But that didn’t happen :-(.

Wednesday (23-05-2012)

Our farm:

Foundation work our farm house continued. Our mason forgot to give me details on foundation type in the beginning. At 11am, he says we need decide whether to use mud or cement mix for lowest layer. Cement mix option being costly and not really required for shed kind of building, we decided to go for mud option. Then he says it requires more water – water needs to clog the soil inside the boulders.

We managed to find a kerosine fuelled water pump in nearby village and decided to rent it out for pumping water from our neighbour’s water tank. We bought about 600ft pipe amd we got the pump on rent. As we were getting ready to install it, neighbour appeared there and said he doesn’t want share water. He is okay share water only if we take water manually in pots. My repeated requests to spare us for one hour of water didn’t yeild. I was disheartened.


We got a steel board with matter “Tress passers will be prosecuted. “. It was thrown in open well.

Mud block team had put few mudblocks in a gunny bag and immersed in well water to test stability of bricks. While we were trying to take them out – the rope got cut. Hence two people from mud block team got into the well and took the gunny bag out. While searching for the gunny bag, they came across this.

As day ended, I was tired, frustrated. Had headache after long long time. Slept off very early…

Thursday (24-05-2012)

Got up fresh after long sleep. I was calmed down and ready for another day of surprises, challenges, constraints – more opportunities.

One thing kept me thinking – Ratnesh’s words “Given the constraints, find more options” This has been mantra in my head for last two days.

I didn’t want to be exploited by my neighbour. That would normally mean “Cut the neighbour off!” Ratnesh had also said “open account with each one and make a deposit”. I was into fix. It was hard for me give up my normal response. As I guided water tanker to my farm – I see the neighbour right there on the road. For a moment, I wanted to ignore him and go. I just remembered Ratnesh and I wished him good morning and asked what he thought about the deal he was proposing. He said, “Nothing. It’s same (15k for water for shed construction)”. I moved on. With water tanker, foundation work resumed! I was so excited.

It was o-campus turn today for water crisis. As foundation work began, water requirement was crucial. Our water tanker guy promised to deliver at around 11am. But he didn’t turn up until 4pm – his tractor was puntured and also got another urgent water request in the town. Meanwhile Sriram and I were trying other options. I was trying to in touch with guy who rents kerosine based compresson (?) m/c to pump up well water to sump. That guy was stuck some where in Royakottai. We managed to get one tanker from that supplier. But both arrived at the same time. So sump was full. Hence my plan of experimenting pumping up water from well to sump with deisel/kerosine m/c went for toss. I need to wait for 2-3 days until atleast half sump of water is used up.

Mean while as water tankers were unloading, I saw one person entering into our land – my immediate thought was “Is he one more person to create trouble for us?” ๐Ÿ™‚ He asked “how much are you paying for water tanker?” These days I have become little reserved to share info – as people to seem use the info to exploit. So I gave round about answer with some hint. He said he is a farmer in the neighbourhood and he needs water tanker to water his crop (coriander) – as electricity transformer coil is burnt in the region. It might take few days for TNEB to restore the transformer. As coriander required almost daily watering, he was looking for alternate options.

Thanks to Aditi and others who stayed at o-campus in last 3 weeks. Many things are streamlined. Especially material procurement – we have got contacts of local material suppliers. They now deliver material with phone call and accept cheque payment. I could easily co-ordinate tasks at my farm and o-campus.

I am feeling great! I am at home with o-campus, our farm, Bodichipalli village/rs, Hanumanthpur village/rs, Kelamangalam, Uddanapalli

Finished watching movie “Real Steel” – which I started watching on Monday. Nice movie!

Connected to internet with mobile hotspot feature.


Got news previous night that my grandma expired. So I had to cut my stay at o-campus by one day. So I had to rush through the day with following tasks: mud block counting, making sure stock of material for next 2-3 days, making weekly payments and keeping note of payments. I was not fully familiar with accounts books. I carried the books to my native place – closed the accounts on the way.


At the end of the week, I was thrilled, excited, fulfilled. It was a week full of actions, uncertainties, opportunities. Biggest learnings I take from this week

– Open an account with each person and make a deposit.

– Given the new and dynamic constraints, find more options.


Some more notes:

– Labours: Idle time, Loss of time due to dependencies (example: material (sand, water, stones, cement…) not supplied in time). I realised, at times, it’s inevitable. I was trying to avoid such situations and that made me restless. Labours hired for watering : Many times I observed them sitting idle and as soon as my car comes into the vicinity of o-campus, they would get up and start watering. These behaviours were initially drove me nuts but then when I reflected – I saw I too do it many times at my office :-).

– Accounting: Dynamics of material movement, payments modes, lag in material delivery and payments, different people handling delivery and payments etc. I got a sense of need for accounting software.