When I return to the farm after a break of a few weeks invariably the first few days go by in repairs. 99.9% of the time it’s something to do with one of our pumps. There has been low voltage in the area for almost a month & a half. And we need electricity for two important tasks: 1. with heaviest rains over we can finish remaining work on our cottage. 2. pump the borewell at least 3 times a week to clear and recharge the aquifer.

The repairs do get done but invariably mean long hours waiting to get the concerned people to come and do the work. Since I am punctual I’ve had to redefine punctuality to mean – having to wait for others to come !

However this time my patience has been seriously tested. It’s been a week and repairs are just not getting done. I’m trying to keep my spirits up and saying that this is a passing phase. Come next week things will be better or i will have to do a Vellichapadu.…. (………..be a mediator between a deity and the devotees & then cut one’s forehead and offer the blood to the deity as a symbol of unshakeable faith…………)

Cloudy skies, rain falling in sheets. Let it clear…..when nature goes calm again

It’s been a while since i got down to do one of the most laborious & time-consuming tasks in farming :i.e: weeding. Two days of weeding means 1,000 sit ups & it’s a nice feeling when at the end of two days one has a real stiff knee & even stiffer back !

I only weeded the turmeric plot. The rice fields are different. A critical aspect of direct seeded rice growing is timely weeding. Luckily 10 people came & it took them 5 days to (de)weed our rice fields & 6k was added to our expense account.

There was a tradition earlier in the area of collective weeding. When a group of 10 people got down to do  the weeding- two people would play the “dhol” (a type of drum) to a rhythm & accompanied by singing. I saw this tradition for the first time while passing through village Mazgaon about 3 kms away from our farm. It was nice & refreshing to hear the rhythm of the “dhol” reverberating in the valley. I was thinking it would be nice to do the same on our farm when we do our weeding next August !!

Culturally speaking, this place is dead. It’s been a shock for me as I can catch a rhythm even on the seconds ticking in my watch. Even more so, since i’ve  spend so many years with the Warli & Kokana people- watching, hearing, dancing, clapping & hoping that  the resonance from the tarpa will never stop.  Not just the tarpa dance….. gauri, dhumasya, tipari, ghor, dhol naach, & some which i forget. Usually all fights and egos were forgotten when people came together to dance. It used to be so vibrant & full of energy. Also this was time when the forests would be resonating to the sounds of the tarpa when the children herding cattle for grazing would be practising and learning the tarpa up in the hills. Compared to that  scenario……… the community here is almost on the verge of being consumed by the predators of hindutva.

Just realised i do not have a camera these days as my faithful one has bitten the dust. So walking around the farm these days & not having to see things through the lens of camera has been a different experience. A pair of peacocks seems to like our farm & they are always around. A few porcupines have started to come (our earlier dog Rani had lost an eye while trying to catch one), a pair of Black Ibis were grazing near the river one day (first sighting on the farm 🙂 ) & some lovely looking snails which i would’ve loved to photograph. But it’s an interesting challenge to write without pictures.

I manage to scrawl something on a piece of paper everyday. I also realise i wrote much better when i was younger. Now in the late forties writing has become more & more difficult. When one posts pictures one tends to write around the picture & that even my 3-year-old grand-niece can do !!

Recently i had gone to see an old colleague of mine & after the initial chit-chat, the usual bullet was shot at me :

him: Have you been able to break even ??

me: Sorry, i don’t understand your question ? Can you clarify ?

him: Have you been able to earn anything from the farm ? 

me : (mumble)…. we still have about 40kgs of last year’s rice remaining to be consumed

him: have you sold anything till now ?

me: no

him: have you earned anything ?

me: in terms of ‘money’…. then no

him: that’s why we are very wary of getting into farming……. it is very tedious isn’t it ?

Later on when i reached home, i was feeling like shit and thinking that instead of inspiring people to take the plunge I seemed to have given the wrong message. But the more i think about  the first bullet he shot at me, i realise it was meant to be shot at a different person. I think it’s a question worth asking a “factory farmer” & i am not a “factory farmer”.

Our (me & partner) vision for our farm is oceans apart from a “factory farmer”

Peace, love & what’s the difference?

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