or is it Two steps forward & one step back….

I had to leave the farm for a few days to be with my loved ones, so while leaving i asked Prakash & Vimal: So what do you guys think ? Have we taken any steps forward ? Are you guys happy with the work here & working with me ?

Well, the answer was YES ! In fact on the farming front we did take many strides forward.

But they wouldn’t know how savaged i feel about certain things & why i feel one step forward has become two steps back. Three issues here are really bothering me.

1. The bribe for registration of my lil’ hut with the Village Gram panchayat is Rs 20,000/-

The monies get distributed with the Sarpanch, Gram sevak, forest department guard & the Block Developement Officer.

Damn it !

I feel like puking.

What if i don’t pay ?

Will they demolish the my ‘lil beautiful structure…… Well, they will not have guts to do that, but surely they can keep sending me notices for an impending demolition, issue a fine on me for building an ‘illegal’ structure & find other ways to hassle me &  i basically become a pariah (which anyway i am !)

What if i try to get the paper work done myself, run from door to door in the collector’s office in Pune, to get my ‘lil hut “legalised” as a house on agriculture land. The collector will say that my ‘lil hut is illegal & would point out to some crazy law which says that house construction is allowed only on Non agricultural (NA) land or in Gouthan (common land, marked for housing). So the bribe is demanded to give a twist to the tail that my hut has been on the land before i purchased it & before the law was enforced !!

2. The bribe demanded for a new 3 phase electricity connection is Rs 40,000/-

What do i do ?

Puke again ! Actually, its humiliating & probably living without electricity may restore some pride.

What do these people think ? Is there any guarantee that after paying the money, that one gets assured power supply: The answer is NO, since 8 hr power cuts is the norm. This is seriously huge amounts of hard-earned money especially by partner.

Should i puke on the notes before i give it to them or should i spit into the cup of tea before i serve it to them or should i spit into my hands before i shake hands with them ? Whats the way out ? Or just find solace in some crazy humour like this ?

3. Another thing which has been bugging me is that its been 6 months on the land & the land agent has not done the paper work for the access to the land……

People think i am very quiet & a decent sort, in fact one of these days they are going to see the other colours of me, because i’ve no qualms about walking into a government office & bang on the table, eye ball those guys & force my way through to get things done, or to take on someone by the scruff of the neck, give a few punches, knock out a few teeth, see some blood coming from the broken nose & split lips & break a few bones & sit in jail for a few days. So be it. Actually, the land agent has already got a mild dose of it !

In the mean while there is serious work to be done on the land: build the soil, grow vegetables, tend to the wheat, bund the rice fields, an open or bore well has to be made, dam the river for water storage, deepen the water channels in the land, get more plants, expand the nursery for intensive greening by june 2011, build a room & a couple of toilets….

Well, all this also involves lots of money, but the critical difference here for me is that there is dignity of labour involved & here one only feels happy to share the monies & time with such people, share a meal with them in the afternoon, have a cup of tea together in the evening before everyone disperses to their homes & more importantly with them i remain the quite & decent sort.

When i get agitated with all this stuff churning in my head, i always head towards my lifeline & it feels good to dive in or just sit by it & ‘ve a smoke & plan & plot for the days ahead. By the way the lifeline has been rocking & i plan to get a few hundred  empty cement bags & fill it up with the sand at the riverside & dam the river, so that hopefully water will remain through till June 2011.

Watching the sun breaking through dew filled morning gives a thrill of another kind….

& i leave you guys with a resident predator: The Kestrel. Ive been seeing it quite often in flight & hearing its calls, it’s always somewhere behind near the hilly areas, but for once, my patient wait behind the trees was rewarded with a snap for the record.  Have not been lucky with an Hawk eagle & the Roller birds yet.

Peace, love & a touch of warmth to go with the cold feet !