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What took me so long….

Dear friends,

I owe an explaination for non-updates on timeline, on our blogpost, emails, newsletter, discouraging visits since Jan this year.

The reason for all of it has been my disappointment with how things were going. When I started this journey , i had an idea in my mind – an imagination of how life here would be, how things will evolve and where the madman’s farm will be in 3-4 years ! That was my mistake ! Life is unpredictable, doesn’t run on our whims and fancies !

I was imagining – how things should be  and naturally things were the way they were ! It took my sometime to realize, accept that “which is” ! Initial disappointment has now replaced acceptance and celebration of what is.

To be specific, things didn’t evolve the way I had imagined –

1.) I had imagined I’ll have a food forest ready by 3 years eating various fruits like papaya, banana from our own farm. We will be growing lot of vegetables and become self – sufficient in food.

What happened was, i still don’t have any fruit tree fruiting, 3-4 vegetables growing. We are almost self sufficient in grains and cereals but still need to work on productivity and quality.

2.) I had imagined community will evolve, with Shantanu moving in with family – i was hoping more people will get associated and slowly a vibrant community will evolve.

What happened was, we are still almost alone – community aspect is almost absent. Infact, we have failed to maintain synergy even within 3 families at farm.

3.) I had imagined, our work will be appreciated by villagers and soon a small social change movement will begin. We will have healthy relationships with nearby villages.

What happened was, we are still seen as outsiders. We do have few good friends from near by villages but many still see us with negative emotions..

4.) I will be self sufficient financially and will be able to contribute to others in need of money.

What happened was, even after 3 years my expenses are not met entirely by farming activities. Though we are getting there. I still  need to borrow money at times. 

5.) I will have lot of time to meditate and my inner journey will accelerate like never before and I might almost become enlightened in few years !

What happened was, I am still almost the same person.But whatever little changes that have come in my are significant and deep.

6) A lot of wonderful visitors will come and we will be making lot of new good friends.

What happened was, limited visitors came and some of those who came were quite difficult to deal with. Some brought us negative image in front of villagers. Only handful of those are now in touch with us. 

 Last winter gathering was the trigger point for all of this ! The gathering had to be disturbed before the last day due to some conflicts within the group. This led me to retreat back and reflect on what is happening.

Nevertheless, I am now in terms with “what is”  and the energies are back again ! Moving forward, some things will change which are all for good , I believe.

I personally would like to pay my heartfelt thanks to each and everyone associated with the farm, everyone who has visited us, was part of our gatherings and has been in touch with us over internet. Your contributions are what making me grow…Thank you !

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Tedx Talk – Living your Own Life

Frankly, this talk was not very well prepared and hence I do not consider it as a worthy talk. Also, it was long since I spoke in public – so my language, my speech all went for a toss. Infact, I missed many of my core points (like impact of media on our choices). I forgot some of my examples. Infact, after the speech I think I left audience more confused than clear.

One of the listener comes to me and says, ” So, what do you do now ? ” and I was like …damn…did I really mess up my speech !

Nevertheless, here is the talk anyway. I enjoyed the whole process. From trying to think of one idea worth spreading from your life to actually speaking it out. It was a good instrospective exercise.

 

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We – the Idiots

This blog post is from Factory of the Mind blog written by Shantanu

I read a few blog posts about how our march to modernity is ruining life, depleting values and causing massive exploitation. People like me, who’ve ‘stepped out’ of the mainstream regularly express themselves on such issues. Based on such articles and on my experience during the last few years, I’ve realised that we’ve come to belong to a category of idiots – absolute idiots.

We are able to see and very clearly articulate the follies of the system – the education system, the economic system, the governance system, the social system. We are able to see clearly and articulate the exploitation of the human resources, the natural resources, animals and birds. We are also able to articulate solutions, at least a direction in which the exploitation can be avoided, the follies can be overcome. But we are naive enough to believe that others cannot see them. We offer talks and discourses thinking that we’re the prophets. People listen to our rambling and agree wholeheartedly, but also ignore it. Neither the ruling party is interested nor the opposition. Neither the industrialist is interested nor the consumer. Neither the media is interested nor its audience. Neither is the exploiter bothered nor the exploited. That is the ultimate proof of our idiocy. The farmer, for whose cause we are prepared to take on the government does all he can to ensure that his children don’t have to get into farming. The unskilled worker, whose life we thought is better off in the village, is willing to grab half a chance to run to the city and live in miserable conditions. The parent, whose children are being ill-educated by the system isn’t interested in any ‘real’ education. He wants his child to pass the system and make a life for himself. Aren’t we idiots – fighting someone else’s battle, when that someone else himself is on the ‘other’ side.

We think of ourselves as brave pioneers of a new way of life. We think we’re an inspiration and hope for people, who want to take a plunge into bravery. Indeed, we’re idiots – for we are nothing more than a source of entertainment for them. They never call on us. When we repeatedly invite them, organise events for them, they oblige us by coming over. They enjoy the romantic side of our lives and make us feel good about it. To make us feel better, they even share a desire of living a life like ours, but soon forget all about it. Then we’re not expected to disturb them – this chapter is over for them. We, the idiots, tell ourselves that we must go on…one in a thousand or ten thousand will be moved to act!

All this is still not the true representation of our idiocy. There are very few idiots like us, who walk out of a system, without insurance. But all of us want to live independently. We aren’t inclined to collaborate in order to improve our own lives. We hold the flags of our ideologies high, make small compromise every day, but to approach someone with another flag will be to lose identity.

God save us.

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Civilisation Why ?

In a R Tagore story, a married young woman finds herself getting attracted towards her husband’s brother, who’s teaching her music. Betrayal is the subject.

But betrayal appears in the dictionary of the civilised not the naturalists or the artistic type. “प्यार किया नही जाता, हो जाता है।” They say. Even the civilised would say the same, if the lady was not married.

The norms of civilisation don’t warrant a frown if she’s equally attracted or spends more time with another lady or an older person or a child or a pet or in the garden.

Children enter the world ignorant of these norms, but the natural instincts are preloaded. We educate them by introducing धर्म – अधर्म, a very tailored version of respect, patriotism and  a whole world of the constitutional framework of a civilised society.

Everything natural is acceptable, but within the confines of civilisation. We even teach them how to become insensitive to their natures.

They do the same to their children.

‘This education is important’, you’d say, right? Otherwise, there would by anarchy. Men wouldn’t coexist peacefully. If might is right, there would be rampant injustice.

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and think. Anarchy, war and injustice exist despite education. If you would agree with me, they exist because of this narrowedversion of education.

You agree with me? But putting it to action is very different. If you amend the education, you might have to accept betrayal as part of life, those who respect you may not, you may get stranded in the vacuum left by the outgoing societal order, you may not be able to cope with the empowerment. Also the scorn of people around you! Will you be able to bear it?

It may be better to disagree.

-Shantanu

(Posted from original Shantanu’s Blog http://factoryofmind.blogspot.in/ ) 

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Love and hate for animals

Before moving to farm, I had a very rosy picture about cows, goats, dogs, snakes etc.. perhaps just like most city dwellers. But farm exposes one to all kinds of reality.

Here, I’ve been exposed to the good side of animals which makes me love them and also the bad side which makes me yell at them.

Cows, for instance when move about in farm – really make it complete, look so beautiful – and ofcourse all the manuring benefits. Their charm is amazing. But these same animals have damaged most of our plants. We take care of a plant for months and just one day is enough for them to totally ruin the plant forever. This has happened to many of our plants.

Dogs, again – are so damn cute and friendly. But some of them, can go inside your kitchen, steal few packets of food and just runaway.

Wild boars, deers ruin a lot of crop.

Even birds, are so adorable. Just the sight of a flying bird is so relaxing and mesmerizing. But there are times when hundreds of birds (like parrots) eat away your crops in large quantity.

Ofcourse, a lot of (so called) destructive behavior of animals is due to Human interventions in first place – like cutting down forests -their natural habitats.

So my rosy picture has finally met reality. I now know that everything is equally good and bad. Everything has two sides and we need to slowly learn ways to live together – happily !

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Can we really change something ?

We are trying to create a food forest, a sustainable farm – a simple life at the farm. Every morning, as I wake up the first thing I hear after the early morning bird songs, is the sound of the axe. Almost everday, I can hear the “thudd” strokes of axe from the nearby forest. Villagers carrying logs of wood to sell in nearby town is also a common sight. So are the news of higher level tree felling done by some private contractors or powerful individuals.

Though, I try to ignore and move on – continuing whatever we are doing. But – subliminally, the frustration and hopelessness is stregthened with every thudd. It makes me wonder, what if in due years to come – entire forest is being cut ! What good is a small green patch in midst of desert ? What good is a small natural, organic farm in midst of hundreds of acres of chemical farms ? And the ultimate culmination of it is at the question – “Can we really change something ? ”

Yes, I’ve heard all the inspiring stories about starfish and importance of “our own tiny act of goodness”. I am exposed to the philosophy of doing good things inspite of everything. But, the question in picture is more to do with larger change. Can all these small initiatives across the world, really bring a change ?

Ofcourse, this is a very subjective discussion and one can go on any side that suits us. But, I am talking of a real fundamental change that can change our direction of future. Will it happen ?

Perhaps not ! The world will move on in the direction it is on. Things will continue to get worse. The strength and momentum of destruction is far too strong than all the jazz of “green” ecological friendly attempts. I must accept this and still find a deeper motivation to do what I want to do.

World will not change if few leaders become honest.
World will not change if some of us become responsible citizens.
World will not change if some of us retort to better greener lifestyles.
However, world will also not be the same.

Thus, I do see the meaning in doing our own things but I do want to get out of the dream of changing the world – which got me here in the first place. If something really changes in the due course time, it will only be incidental and a gift from above. It is difficult to accept the insignificance of our existence and impact of our absence or presence. But then, there is something called the reality.