the story about us…

Writing or speaking never comes naturally to me. Earlier i used to write, because i was eager to share about everything which is happening in our farm. A lot of years have passed by. Now 99% of the activity in the farm has become monotonous, tedious, boring, uninteresting, tiresome, wearisome, dreary, routine, mechanical & sometimes even soul-destroying & mind numbing. Nothing new in that, it’s the story of all farmer’s in this country. I am always thinking & sometimes even pre-occupied in my own thoughts while working, cooking, walking, driving & sometimes even in my sleep. Also given the dark ages we live in these days i am very wary of sharing anything.

Whatever one has stood for & believed in is not even going to be history, history is also been rewritten these days. The only good thing which is coming out of this dark period & the impending gloom is the creative & collective expressions of pain & anguish. Even common people in and around the villages where our farm is located are all aware of how our country is been ripped apart by religious fanatics & bigots. Most people seems to be aware of the fact that the edifice is crumbling & there are bulldozers everywhere in wait like battle tanks to crush us economically, politically, culturally & in every way possible way so that the agenda of the killers of a certain M.K. Gandhi can be taken to its logical conclusion. That agenda is much more dangerous than having a madman like Trump in the helm in the U.S.A

My last post was in mid-April & we managed to survive the searing heat & welcomed the rains with open arms. Its been planting, planting & more planting for my wonderful group of co-workers. It hasn’t ceased to amaze me how they go through this 3 months of constant rain, wetness, strong winds & yet keep a bright smile on their face. If anyone has lifted a full cooking gas cylinder or the equivalent of that weight, will surely know what i am talking about. Most of us can lift it, however if one had to walk, carrying it on our head, for 2kms on slippery ground, with rain & strong wind lashing over… its near impossible. I really feel blessed to have this group of co-worker’s who are going about their jobs without any fuss. Since we cannot store Chicken feed, because dampness would lead to fungal growth i have to carry 50kg -100kg bags every week, then they have to bring the cleaned chickens to the car, sometimes carry cooking gas cylinders, it’s a bloody thank less job.

carrying things

It’s always nice to sit down with them and enjoy a meal together, listening to some dark humor & other harsh realities of life in a village & to keep up their inquiring & analytical minds ticking by posing questions & answering questions by throwing back more questions, In these situations we all become “one”, even if it is only for a few hours.

lunch time

meal time

With all the turmoil which has been greeting us in the last few years,  I have learned to appreciate the beauty of nature more & more. I can spend hours just watching our rice fields swaying from side to side with the wind & the dragon flies going about their jobs.

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One moment one feels the sunlight, the very next moment one is standing on clouds.

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Sometimes one feels as if somebody is calling you over to the next valley…..

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Some serious work has gone into the farm in the last 3 months, even though sometimes it is soul-destroying or mind numbing, however our story will go on.

Peace, love & Khudā Hāfez

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More useless bits of information

It’s been a while since one got any time to sit down & reflect on all what’s been happening on the farm & about life in general. On one hand there should be no excuse for not updating the blog, on the other hand after 7 years I feel it is natural that one takes a break. Since most of the things which is happening on the farm is repetitive, one doesn’t feel like writing more & more about the same things all the time. Many things has also changed in me in the last couple of years which has led to lack of time, to just sit down quietly, gather one’s thoughts, visualize a post, to write, to edit, to post etc. Since the last 7 months one has been on the farm every week for a few days & during weekends I have been busy with our “Underground Kitchen”. Sometimes when I have taken a break from the weekend cooking for Underground Kitchen one has stayed on 10-12 days on the farm. In many ways I have started to enjoy the quietness & tranquility much more than before. I have really started to look forward to the most bliss full & wonderful sleep one can get while on the farm. Now due to rapid ageing both body & mind seems to ask for this more & more from me. Our farm may be one of the best in Pune district in terms of the bio diversity; however one does not earn a single penny. Every farming household in this country will have a few members who are forced to migrate to the city in search of jobs & money. It’s the same with us, with one having to keep going back to the city to earn some mullah, which gets immediately recycled back to the farm.

Action on the farm during the past few months has been the more or less the same like the last few years. Sometimes we tend to go two steps forward & one step back, whereas sometimes it is one step forward & two steps back. Nothing is stagnant or constant when one is farming. Every 3 months there is a change for sure. Crops change, weather changes, what we grow changes, how we grow changes, relationships change, we also keep evolving as human beings, hopefully for the better like the soil on our land. As the organic content in the soil improved we can see a real leap forward in the health of our soil, especially in retaining moisture.  I manage to put in a lot of work on the farm from October to May. Then due to certain reasons the routine gets disturbed & one tends to ease off a bit. The winter was really cool, however by March the temperatures started to soar, yet still in comparison with the city the weather is pleasant and there is no reason to complain.

During the winter we had great sightings of the Great Hornbills on our farm, however I was not lucky to take some snaps. A pair of winter visitors from Eastern Europe (Orange Breasted Flycatcher’s) had decided to stay with us, which was really lovely. They were always there in our compound nibbling around in our Mulberry bushes for about 4 months & now they have gone 10,000 miles away. Hopefully they will be back again in November.

orange breasted flycatcher

Our Buffalos are doing fine and demanding more & more food. Our chickens were part of a winter menu in a very popular restaurant, we also introduced them in our Underground Kitchen menu, the quality of the meat was well appreciated. Kadaknath birds also grew very well & since we had too many roosters, we introduced them in our menu & for the first time many people got to taste one of the best meats, actually India’s only Black meat.

kadaknath

India's only black meat

In the meanwhile Galangal & Pea Brinjals have also become two of our premier produce.

All these years we had never consciously inter-cropped in our Turmeric plots. This year the inter cropping was intense. We had standing crops of Sunflower, Maize, Tomatoes, Chillies, Brinjals, Cabbages etc along with the Turmeric, even while we were harvesting our Turmeric & also even we replanted the tubers last month. This was a totally out-of-the-box thinking from our side and I am very happy that we pulled it out without damaging any of the standing crops. We harvested about 60kgs of fresh turmeric from about 700 sq ft. The final product of good quality turmeric powder is 13kgs. The quality of the Brinjals & Cabbages has been excellent. Some tomatoes have yielded really good quality tomatoes, whereas some have been disappointing. All put together for the first time our vegetable produce actually crossed 400kgs & more yet to come. On one hand one feels good about the fact that so many things are growing well, whereas on the other hand one feels sick because its been difficult to find takers for these vegetables.

Among field crops our Finger millets ( Nachni/Raagi) had done well and we have about 100kgs of the final product. This year we plan to introduce another very nutritious millet species called BarnYard Millet (Varai/ Bhagar). Our Paddy was a bit of a downer, one reason was that the last rains which we had in first week of Oct 2016 had come down quiet heavy, along  with strong winds, so a lot of paddy had fallen down. As usual immediately after the paddy harvest we planted Wheat by the last week of November 2016. We had heavily inter-cropped Wheat with Sunflower & Mustard. Last year we had sown 40kgs of seed, whereas this year we sowed only 20kgs. The output has been the same around 300kgs. So, when we plant Wheat next year, we can reduce the area of growing to half to get the same yield.

wheat

In end of Feb we lost all our dogs on our land due to a rabies epidemic. All of them were special, however one of them was really close to all of us. He was my best friend in the farm, his name was Babu.

Babu

It wasn’t a nice moment for me, when I had to hold him for the last time, so that the doctor could put him to sleep. Slowly almost all the dogs in the village died in the epidemic. For a couple of months we had no dogs on the farm and one felt really odd. It’s really an odd feeling when one doesn’t have one’s constant companion alongside. My co-workers on the farm also share the same feeling. We need dogs on the farm, dogs are also happy to be staying on the farm. However it’s a huge responsibility, especially when one takes into account the fact that the nearest Veterinary doctor is 60kms away!

For the moment it is back to the same story of water drying up, the river (our lifeline) adjoining our land has gone completely dry. We only have a couple of feet of water remaining in our open well to survive till the first week of June, when the rains come.

our well

The main casualty is our Onion crop. Since it is not going to be possible to irrigate, we are forced to take the painful decision of giving up on our onions. Agriculture in this country is such a mess. Only if we had other farmer’s in our neighbourhood who were also taking winter crops we could have done something in putting pressure on the government to do check dams and swales. On the other hand my neighbours (who otherwise have an hand to mouth existence) would think of taking winter crops only if there is a security of water. Who can afford to take these kind of risks ? Have a look at our riverside, it is completely dry…

river bed

I leave you in this rather serious & sombre note

Peace, love & Khudā Hāfez

Useless bits of information !!

As we come down the valley this is how our farm looks from afar. One can really see the thick vegetation around our land which has happened only because of our presence. Seven years back this hillock was quite barren.

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One of the best parts of the drive to & fro to the farm is that almost 80% of the drive is next to the some water body or other, its incredibly beautiful, especially when the sun rays gets reflected from the water

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Some spectacular views are here in this gallery

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Then finally when one is crossing this river and entering our farm, one feels the urge to melt into this land and be one !!

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Some interesting Scarecrow designs we come across in different fields that we cross

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Within two weeks the flowers would be in all full bloom and with it all the amazing butterflies will be flitting from flower to flower. The Sword tail’s, Crimson rose’s, Pioneer’s, Jezebel’s, Emigrants, Plain & Blue tiger’s, Bush brown’s, Europa’s, Coster’s, Sergeant’s, Mormon’s and even the magnificent Blue Mormon will be visiting.

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More of the useless bits of information later.

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There has been some political mobilizations on caste lines happening in our area:

……“However the unprecedented mobilization of marathas in Maharashtra cannot and should not be ignored by progressive rationalists.

For all who believe in social and economic justice, when a 7% oppressed community unites as it did after the Una incident that is to be welcomed. but when a 40% strong dominant forward caste unites on caste lines, this is time for alarm, just as it was when Jats gathered in Haryana or Patels in Gujarat.

The demand for reservations for any forward caste, even on economic grounds, makes no sense. the rationale for reservations for SC/ST was not just their economic backwardness but their social isolation. no such isolation exists for forward castes. if sections of marathas are economically backward, let the anti poverty measures that should be in place for all poor be implemented equally and properly across the state.

As for the scrapping of the Atrocity Act, on the contrary it should be strengthened so that its non implementation (lack of convictions) can be addressed. if there are loopholes that allow innocents to be targeted, that can be looked at legally, but with a view to better catch the actual guilty.

Shocking and deplorable as the rape murder of a maratha girl at the hands of dalits is, it cannot be the only talking point when the ratio of rape murder of dalits at the hands of higher castes is the larger story that few report or get agitated by.

i know individually some of you have addressed these points, but it should be done unitedly, with intellectual rigour and we should remain caste-bias free and fearless even in the face of numbers”…..

Peace, love & Khudā Hāfez

a month in slow motion..

Time seems to have come to a standstill. On one hand one wants the rain to continue, on the other hand one wants to see some good sunlight.

The beauty of the place is just intoxicating, whenever i have to return from the farm to the city there is always the urge to stay on for some more time and soak in the surroundings.

Sometimes it feels as if the clouds have descended on us, the visibility becomes almost zero. Sometimes one feels as if one is walking into ghosts !

In between there was a dry spell and a break from rain and everyone had enjoyed full sunlight for a few days. All the plants and trees had really pepped up during those few days. Our rice went a little too tall for our comfort and we did decide to trim it down a bit, so that when the paddy starts to come out the plant might just fall over with the weight of paddy.Otherwise the general health has been really good. Now we can almost see the paddy coming out in a few plants.

The Galangal, Ginger and Haldi are looking fine as of now.

Nachni (finger millet) does look a tad taller than last year & has also started to bloom.

We have some Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Tomatoes, Brinjal’s, Chillies, Beans and Fodder grass called Lussun grass (alfa alfa) growing. The heavy downp0urs seems to have affected our best Avacado tree, keeping my fingers crossed and hope it will revive. Almost 90% of the saplings we had planted before the rains have managed to survive & now with the Sun slowly finding a way to peep out, they can now get into  business. All the chickens were ready for sale by the mid September. The bulk of the lot was taken by a very popular restaurant in Pune. The next lot of chickens will be ready in a couple of months.Bamboo plantation of last year looks quite healthy as of now and mother plants are sending many new shoots into the world and forming their own clumps. With the availability of abundant green fodder the buffaloes have really grown in the last 3 months. We have employed a person full time to take the buffs out grazing in the forests, so they are out for almost 8 hours walking and grazing to their hearts content.

More later.

Peace, love and Khudā Hāfez

Rain fury

During the first three weeks of July the rains were steady. However this years transplantation was really slow and arduous. Since everyone in the village had started  transplantation at the same time we couldn’t get many people to come and help us. So for the whole two weeks it was just four people who did all the required tasks. It was harrowing, laborious, back breaking & relentless. Working continuously in the slush for 9 hours a day, for two weeks without a break, in unabating rain, strong winds, mosquito bites all over the body. I don’t know from where our co-workers derived the strength to do this formidable task. Red Salute !

start

Also there was added tasks this year with the Buffalo’s & Hens. In the morning cleaning the buffalo house & the Chicken house takes a good couple of hours, then in the afternoon the buffalo’s have to be taken grazing for another 3-4 hours. Plus one person would be busy with cooking tasks. So at any given time it was only two people who were able to work continuously.

There was no pre-monsoon this year, so all the tree plantations was done only after the rice & millet transplantation. Extensive reinforcements of the fence has been carried out & a line of Vetiver grass has been added to our already thick live fence. Lemon grass has also been added around our rice fields, giving it a nice aesthetic touch.

In between there has been a few heavy showers, once partner and me just managed to get out from the farm at the nick of time,just before the water started gushing over the bridge. Otherwise we would have been stuck for more than 5 hours due to the heavy deluge & lack of visibility. For the last 10 days it has been heavy to very heavy showers. Going to the farm can be an intoxicating drive watching nature just rejuvenating itself with an immense show of flora, the bird calls & raw beauty.

However, these days the drive is full of certain dangers. 1) There is always the fear of landslides. The hills are simmering due to the overuse of earth moving machines, a big natural disaster is bound to happen any time. I had witnessed one unfold in front of my eyes last year & i really don’t want to witness another one. 2) Beyond our village a newly made bridge was washed away, however there was no casualties. Down in Mahad, a shocking tragedy took place where the people who were driving their respective vehicles didn’t realise, nor see that the bridge over River Savitri, which they were about to cross was already washed away by the river in spate. Reading about it or watching the footage brings tears of helplessness. 3) Another danger which always lurks during this season is the drunken revellers. Lumpen elements from Pune come here during the weekends, firstly they drive so badly, they are so loud and always wants to create trouble, they disrespect the local people, especially the women, they leave behind tonnes of garbage, basically they behave as if its their right to destroy & disrupt. This year there has been an marked increase in this rowdy behaviour and hopefully the villagers will give them a fitting reposte which would teach them a lesson for life. I remember a few years back after a drunken altercation with a villager, many people from the village had gathered and smashed the windowpanes of their car & kept the revellers tied up in a house for more than 12 hours, till the cops came & took them away. Something worse is bound to happen this year.

Coming back to the rain fury…

Logically speaking, a region, which receives more than 3,000-mm average rainfall in a year, shouldn’t be suffering of water shortage in the months of summer. Agreed, Basalt rock has poor porosity & Red soil doesn’t allow much seepage of water. However for seven years i have been witnessing the lethargy of the government officials towards farmers & agriculture in general. Last summer only intensive work should have gone in making Swales & small 2ft check dams. Just a small intervention would have made a world of difference for the farmers. Now, who actually stands to gain from this bumper rainfall ? Does a farmer stands to gain ? No. The rainwater is gone into the arabian sea 25kms away in a matter of hours. Only city dwellers, Industries & Sugarcane farmers stand to gainwill be receiving 24 hour water supply. Would it be a fallacy to predict one more drought starting March 2017 ? As someone recently said “….how agonised we are about how people die, how untroubled we are by how they live….”


August is a really important month for this country, however the resemblance of the person in helm and Zia-ul Haq is so real. They almost look alike. Zia had destroyed a beautiful country called Pakistan in 10 years & the present Junta is following his footsteps. Hopefully i will not be alive after 10 years to see our beloved country ripped apart.

Today, Irom Sharmila broke her fast in Imphal, friends, supporters, sisters-in-arms gathered at Jantar Mantar to sing, acknowledge and celebrate her unimaginably courageous and resolute struggle for 16 long years. The date August 9 holds memory…it’s the day when fighters for India’s freedom were arrested during the Quit India movement under the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance…the forebearer to the present Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Irom Sharmila’s solitary resistance against it should seed a new phase in the movement against it. A pamphlet distributed at Jantar Mantar put it this way,”HUMANE, DEMOCRATIC SOLUTIONS ARE NEEDED TO SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS FACED BY PEOPLE, DIALOGUE RATHER THAN REPRESSION.”

August 20th is also one of the saddest for the citizens of Pune…read it once more here

Peace, love, Khudā Hāfiz.

Nature’s gift

Its been almost 3 months since i wrote anything. For once there wasn’t anything to write home about. Yes, i was depressed due to the the water situation & there were parts of the farm especially, the one where we had planted fodder i couldn’t get myself to even look at. The river was barren, the water level in our open well was literally ‘rock bottom’. I kept concentrating a lot on our small but beautiful nursery which has given us thousands of new plants to be planted. Otherwise everything was kept minimal. With a bit of time in my hands i also made a forage into another mode to survival, it has kept me on my toes. During April & May with temperatures hitting 40 deg C the farm somehow had managed to remain green without any irrigation. Indeed a very good sign of improvement in the organic content in the soil.

This has been the first time in all these years that we have had various things growing all through the 12 months. We have never eaten so many Brinjals in our life, Climber beans were freaking out, the Chillies kept coming & coming, Pumpkins kept surprising us. When Tomatoes were priced at Rs 120/- INR, we had our produce from the farm. Friends & neighbours in Pune are happy to buy all our produce. Everyone has been commenting about the freshness in taste of our products. Rice, Wheat, Onions have all found buyers & a loyal clientele, its been fun. We have been thinking of making a ‘Logo’ and thinking of some creative packing material which is not expensive. As of now our ‘loyal clientele’ has been passing on used plastic bags. However the biggest hit of all were the big sized Avacados. Sunflowers & Sesame were harvested just before the first showers & we will be making our own oil. By the first week of June we had sowed our Rice.

There were no pre-monsoon showers which meant we didn’t get the window to propagate our Bamboo. We just had light drizzles right till the 20th of June. On that day when i came down the last valley coming into our farm the transformation got tears of joy falling off my eyes seeing the gift of nature. Now till March 2017 there is money in the bank read as “there is water in the well”  🙂

Almost 90% of the tree planting is over, Coming Monday we start the biggest task of the year i.e Rice transplantation, wish us luck !! The rains also bring other issues which can be problematic, likelihood of a landslide like last year is very real & scary.

Also please do read about one of the cultural icons of our time who bid us goodbye.

peace, love, khuda hafeez

 

 

shrivelled

When the farm is alive & kicking, i also have a spring in my feet. After our major attempt towards water conservation on the river, which sustained us through for the last 5 months, now nature is saying… that’s it bro, i cannot sustain you for any longer…… now, get lost & dig yourself deep & find other ways to provide moisture to your bloody farm.  With the phenomenal rise  in temperatures in last two weeks, our life support system is going dry. When we lose the life support system our land also goes parched & our plants will shrivel. I also feel the shriveling feeling, sunken, shrunken & wrinkled due to the tension of wondering how to survive the next couple of months. In trying to think of a survival plan i was also down with body pain, low grade fever.life support is going dry

Now the only life support system which we have is our well. We have covered it with cloth so that evaporation is reduced, it is also the only drinking water source for the whole village. We just cannot take a chance with it.

Just now what we have growing is lots of fodder. Maize (which serves as food for both our Buffalo’s & Chickens), a few Sq mtrs of fodder called Lusan grass (alfalfa) for the buffalo’s, some vegetables for home consumption, a small nursery with about thousand different saplings. Add to that we an acre of Onions which needs one more drenching, which we will have to call off. Another plan which has to be called off  is: we were on the verge of getting a few Honey Bee boxes to harvest our own honey, for that we had sown a lot of oil seeds like Sunflower, Mustard & Sesame. Unfortunately that also has to be shelved.

Lack of fodder for the Buffalo’s means for the next two months, we have to provide them with increased intake of Oil seed cakes.

buffs

& also for the Chicken we can provide ready feed available from stores.

The numbers of our birds have really increased & local hoteliers have been regularly buying it from us. We need to keep the numbers going  till the first week of June, which is possible.

Only thing which i cannot compromise nor find any answers to is how to provide moisture for the plants which are growing, especially for the fodder which is so very critical.

maize & lusan grass

All other activity can be downsized.

Only if the Agricultural department & the State machinery had woken up in November 2015, just made a few small & simple check dams along the small rivulets which criss cross the whole taluka, we would’ve avoided this crisis. There are the visits by the ” shades of Whites” in all drought hit villages & handing out false promises. I call them ‘whites’ because they come in white cars, wear white shirts, white pants, all starched, women representatives are also the same & they look so much out of place from the ground reality. Anyway what can one expect from these representatives of the Emperor….

Recently the emperor’s Finance minister presented the budget allocation for the year ahead which he called a pro-farmer budget…..within a week a farmer went outside the gate of where all the emperor’s men sit, took a dose of pesticide & committed suicide…. Why ? Let me quote my mentor here : “Decades ago, when the US military needed to make its many wars more acceptable, or at least less shocking, they came up with the words “collateral damage”. A euphemism for countless thousands of civilians they killed in their wars. The slaughter continued, but sounded so much nicer. The authors of the budget’s sleazy semantics do something similar in their wordplay. The loot of public money, where it’s going, and the intense misery of millions in need—that drowns in collateral cliches”. 

Farmers and production of food is the least of the priority of the present regime. Farmers need freedom (Aazadi) from the present situation, something good has to evolve after this war on the people subsides or when we cross over from this phase, wherein preserving the fertility in agricultural land & water for irrigation becomes real, which will allow all farmers in this country to take 3 crops in a year confidently.  Aazadi asks us about where we are going to, about who we want to be. When the present regime is forcing us to drown, then the movement for Aazadi will free us & take us forward, into the world, into the future.

Peace, love & Aazadi. 

night in slow motion

night in slow motion

Quoting some of Paul Theroux here :

The Tao of travel means that all night you can chase the moving flicker of lights on the zigzag pathways of distant, dark, dense mountain nights, and your eyes and mind are still aching for more. Distances here are not measured with the approximation of the gaze, moving across the landscape, from the remotest expanse of darkness to the kaleidoscope of unexplored light, with people inside little village homes, scattered among leaves and leaf-storms, hiding their tired, humble bodies in warm mud and stone homes, even as the wind howls, or moves in slow motion, softly rattling the windows.

The simple village homes move with the flicker of light and lightness in these undulating mountains, making you fragile and vulnerable and equally humble. They are at once static and floating, suspended in time’s spatial liquidity, like liquid lights, becoming forever nocturnal earth, and camouflaged cosmos, amidst a typically clear and lucid starry night, as sublime as each star marking its infinite self-identity

Across the zigzag journey, the open-to-sky courtyard in a mountain home is not only meant for the crisp morning and afternoon sunshine in this ancient house full of memories, laughter, resilience and love; it acquires life and motion even in the night, like a ship sailing on moving waters looking for a lighthouse, even as the whole world sleeps, dreaming of warmth and sleep. And the creaking, faded blue doors are shut, the lock is in place on the main wooden door, with the house yet again open to the night. As open-ended as its friendly arms full of possibilities, like an open-air amphitheatre with neither audience nor actors, neither sound nor show, only this tangible lullaby of eternal silence moving into the flickering lights of night trucks far away on the mountain roads, hiding, emerging, halting, moving into the spaces of the mysterious journeys of light and dark.

This is an ‘animalic’ night, its density as tangible as a predator in the shadows. As invisible as trees, and the smell of the bark of the trees. As solitary as the little wild pink hill-river flowers. As athletic and detached as the soundless footsteps of singular movement. This is valley and forest, hearth and home, river and grassland, courtyard and sky, and you have nothing but the cold wind surrounding you, eyes moist with sharp relief and sensation, with the absence of desire, almost thoughtless, in harmony with the tangible touch of the dark.

This is a home night out in the home open, the fire is still flickering; it is almost like a forest night, when the forest speaks a million languages of broken twigs, falling leaves, sighs and moans, movements, shadows, raindrops and dewdrops. All the urban architecture inside my heart has already vanished into the blue, all the waters in the eyes have become softened and wet, all the fingers in the hands are warm, angular and slender, and the wind caresses my shirt like old friendships and old wine and forgotten loves.

Here you don’t need a standing ovation. You neither need a success story nor a power trip, nor fame or infamy, nor an ‘Indian of the year’ award. You don’t have to fight or defend. All the ritualistic banalities and stupidities of normalcy are lost in the plains where the slug-fest is on, the barbarians are celebrating, cannibalism flourishes like insatiable hunger, and a relentless blabbering and chatter runs its multiple half-marathons. They are relentless and untiring, and their faces are embedded in the meaningless legends of their own plastic sculptors. Like a pseudo caricature and a perverse desire, bloated with the photogenic  discontents of success.

The more you have, the less you are.

So, here in this ship-night of darkness, all that is less becomes more. Your lips become cold but they are parched and it feels nice. Your hands become cold, but they are open and leafy, full of blue veins, and they are fine. Your eyes are moist, but these are neither tears nor saline waters.

Morning arrives with the gaze. Light spreads like honey and the smoke of old wood. The sun comes and creeps into the horizontal and vertical courtyard, moving into the valley without suspense or surprise. Some miracles are bound to happen. Even barbarians can’t touch them………

good morning.good morningpalash - Copysilk cotton tree

You light a cigarette. The tea is hot and life’s suffering has a taint of good.

Peace & love

 

Let there be Wheat…..

Let me take you visually through our fields since we sowed Wheat in the 4th week of November 2015

wheat first week

2nd week of December 2015

wheat fields @  7am.

4th week of December 2015

jan 2016 233

Mid January 2016

wheat

4th week of January 2016

wheat getting ready

Except for a couple more of watering the hard work of growing is over.  However anything can happen from now & the harvest. Wild Boars can come in & feast on it, stray cattle can also do the same, Deers have been trying their luck once in a while, Unexpected showers can destroy everything……

Peace, love &  Khudā Hāfiz

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Sadly, two people whom i had never met crossed over to the other side.

Comrade A. B. Bardhan was an inspiration throughout his life. A true shining beacon of India. Bardhan was a leader who was never allured by the trappings of power, pelf or patronage. His life style was that of a Communist and a working class leader. Bardhan was frank and forthright and had no guile or pretense. He was a prime example of how Marxism shapes the character and actions of a Communist leader.

The other death is really sad & shocking. A very promising life was nipped & destroyed by the present bhraminical nazi rulers of present day India. Yet, Rohit remains an inspiration in his death. Please do read his final letter, before he left us: My birth is my fatal accident.

Laal salaam & Jai Bheem

Turmeric harvest

We have started to harvest our turmeric/haldi & its been quite a satisfying experience. Basically i am satisfied with the quality of the rhizomes, which means we have good planting material, good for pickling & a powder which is full of aroma & fragrance. In Indian cooking at least half tsp of turmeric powder is used everyday, many people use it to apply on their skins, and also is used extensively in weddings, its applied on wounds & we also put a spoon of haldi powder in the drinking water of our hens.

Sadly the turmeric powder which is available in the market is adulterated with colours like Metanil yellow & sometimes Red Oxide of Lead

haldi

The process of making the powder is simple.

  1. Boil the rhizomes till they are soft enough for a matchstick to go through it.
  2. Dry it in the sun for a few days
  3. Scrape it in a gunny bag to remove the skin
  4. Take it to the mill & make the powder

Peace, love & if anyone needs one of this sublime gift from our soil; please do contact us.

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“…………….On February 16, 2015, Govind Pansare, a public intellectual and rationalist, was shot at, at point-blank range, outside his house in Kolhapur. His English translation of Shivaji Kon Hota?  from the Marathi original of a 1987 speech was one among many important quick turnaround books published after the murder to retrieve the texts and ideas for which Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M.M. Kalburgi were killed. Indeed, Kalburgi’s murder, in August this year, turned out to be a tipping point, and sparked a movement by writers and artists to protest increasing incidents of intolerance in India. Writers, with Nayantara Sahgal among the most prominent and articulate in stating their concern, returned their Sahitya Akademi awards, to protest the institution’s — and the Central government’s — inaction on defending freedom of speech and expression. Soon enough, the movement caught the imagination of civil society — with film directors, artists and scientists joining the protests, and leading historians issuing statements — and the questions raised will surely continue to demand answers in the new year………….”

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adios till 2016 with despair & hope