It began with a child initiated the drive to arrange for the outdoor. He was so much into making the schedule, calling up, finding information, route map he was totally into it for the whole 3 days to get the complete information. At times, rolled with struggle to decide, screamed at others with tension in the process.
In the journey we made song, we guessed Raja’s name, name of farm, number of banana plants, number of trees and so on and on.
At farm, it was catchy to explore the soil of banana plant. The plant got water weekly or bi weekly once, but still the soil was wet, color was different, it smelt different. Just a few inches apart the soil was different. It was amazing to see the soil fertility regaining in a span of 2 years. We had to dig deep into layers of mulch, to find the soil. He shared the akka and tangi story of banana plant. The Banana plant is grown along with two other banana plant which in turn supported the main plant and also keeps the cycle on to keep the yield ON. He explained about the importance of 5 feet mulch for a banana plant.
Weeds – Why to remove weeds rather not let them grow, thought of how to not allow weeds to grow was quite interesting. Mix of 9 different seeds spilled in a given area was one of the trick. Each plant grows so close to other plant , it helps each other to grow and leaving no space for weeds.
Nitrogen fixing plants, Pals among plants is another interesting thought to keep away pests.
In the process, few child were on and off with understanding, listening, taking breaks, temptation to climb tamarind tree, satisfying their thirst.
The Time at hands on soil: We started with cleaning up a Brinjal plant area, where weeds had occupied all the free space. Time for us in hot sun to test our perseverance to save the brinjals from weeds. Each one of us owned a row to clear weeds. We had full masti with weeds, tug of war, pulled, threw, tired, blaming tool after tool when unable to clear, frustration of not seeing clean patch, few with satisfaction on clearing their row, few enjoyed singing, chitchatting in the process, few frowned. Weeds gave all tests to show our emotions and challenging us.
Journey of Raja: Started with his childhood where he was taught “farmer is dumb”, and still he receives same comments. His determination to look at the world “without a farmer the world will suffer irrespective of any professions” kept him alive with all challenges . He had no regrets for his profession, he is happy to lead his life open to sky, working in soil with unbound time and love. He bought organic seeds for his own farm and made thousands of organic seeds which he distributed as part of promoting organic farming. I have nothing to loose, soil gave the seeds and others use the same gift. He shared “ I always had a profit of healthy stomach, satisfied life” in his journey of farming. He is presently working on his Challenges of trust for marketing organic veggies in the market without a certificate .
I personally appreciate the genie in Raja and disheartened and left with the thought that where is the initiative to stop promoting chemicals for the sake of increase in vegetation, in turn promoting ill health which has increased hospitals and chemicals.
Composed by Leela