A forested hillock behind the land, a river in front of the land, brilliant views from top of  the land, there is a peace & calm about it all, almost 40 different varieties of birds, a great place to farm & grow one’s own food, plus we are a good distance away from the village.

Sounds idyllic, sounds really tranquil, doesn’t it ?

but is that really true ?

What is “Tranquil” to us may not be “Tranquil” to any of  the people living in the village.

Sadly that is the reality ! Sometimes i feel, it’s the people who inhabit the place that make a place tranquil & beautiful. One can be in the most hostile of natural surroundings but if the people around you are not hostile, then even that hostile place can become tranquil & beautiful…….

Why is it that the people who inhabit & own what i call ‘tranquil surroundings’ have deep wounds & mistrust that makes this place not so ‘tranquil’ ?

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Let’s wind the clock back a bit….

About 25 years ago people from the city found investing & colonising land in Panchgani, Lonavala, Khandala a good option to grow their bank coffers.

Then the land agents became the new mafia in the area. After they had exhausted all the hitherto well-known places & exhausted them of all the beauty & tranquility, Velhe became the new destination for a lot of this land mafia activity.

People in my neighbouring village Kelad, own on an average about 30 acres of land per family. After the land mafia moved in, they all want to sell their land. The wise ones keep the land under agriculture for themselves & sell off the rest of the land, especially the hilly slopes.

The pressure to have ‘cash in hand’, the carrot & stick lure of Pune city beckons them. Every one has aspirations of owning a room in Pune city, no girl is given in marriage unless the boy has a ‘job’ in Pune. The present generation do not want anything to do with their lands that are situated in nature’s bounty. There is a complete cultural break.

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This following story probably will show the stark reality….

Ashok Shinde, eldest son of a family that owns about 40 acres of land, suddenly got hand in hand with the land agent/mafia & decided to sell off 10 acres of the 40 that the family own.

But he had to do it secretly. He did not want any of his brothers to know about it. He schemed & planned to send off his two brothers somewhere for a couple of weeks under some pretext.

But the land was in his mother’s name.

He could not tell his mother that he was planning to sell 10 acres of the land since she would’ve said NO.

So he lied to his mother. He got her thumb impressions on the papers by lying to her that it was required for some bank work !

A 45-year-old son lying & manipulating his own mother just to get her thumb impressions, then capturing the cash and investing part of the money for a room in Pune…

When the other brothers came back home they came to know what happened.

Will they also want to do the same thing with the rest of the land ?

Looks as if everything has been put up for sale in this part of the world, looks as if people think everything can be bought in this part of the world !

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I, on the other hand, wish to see, live & experience all the things money can never buy or sell !

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