Why everyone should know about Permaculture? You are responsible!

Engaging in Yoga and Meditation sure does have its perks, well if I want to put it that way!

Over the years, my rendezvous with nature has been quite overwhelming, satisfying, mind-boggling and filled with an insane urge to get to know myself better.

Lately, I have been wanting to get closer to nature. I am not talking about travels and treks which I am engaged in already, but this is a calling, deep within to be in touch with the Earth.

Sounds ridiculous eh! Can’t explain to a tee but I wanted to play with soil, mud, plant saplings, grow them and be a part of its growth in a small way.

I have been close to plants all my life, thanks to my parents who are ardent lovers of plants and of course gardening! We have had a garden with innumerable plants each serving its own purpose. The number of plants at home have reduced over the past few years owing to my parents’ physical ailments but we sure have enough to tend to and care for! Dad surely does start by giving the scientific name of the plant and explains everything completely, whenever I ask him a small question about a plant or gardening per say.

So with my passionate folks I have learnt a thing or two about the beautiful beings and it feels like I have grown with them and around them.

But I haven’t quite engrossed myself into the art of planting / growing / tending to them.

Thanks to my inner calling and a suggestion by my friend to do this workshop on Permaculture, I was ready to get my hands dirty the right way! 😉

So this workshop was conducted at the Art of Living premises. This was my first visit to AOL and it was quite a refreshing walk through the premises and to the far end of the ashram where the Permaculture workshop was being held. I crossed by Goshalas (Cow-sheds), banana plantations and numerous fields. The path was narrow, muddy but of course endearing!

The workshop was very interesting and the best part was that we were taught how to make the soil bed with many layers so that moisture could be retained. We also took part in composting, harvesting cabbages and sowing seeds. I wouldn’t want to reveal much about the workshop because I want you to go and experience for yourself if you plan to attend the workshop!

So let me talk a bit about Permaculture.

It is ‘Permanent Agriculture’ which is a means of creating sustainable living by using the natural resources in an efficient way and making use of the resources in hand to the best of our ability. There is no usage of pesticides, artificial chemicals in the process of Permaculture. The produce is obviously fresh, healthy and sumptuous when consumed! 🙂

This would be in line with ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!’

Permaculture can be done by anyone and anywhere. Be it be in homes, businesses, farms, apartments, community centers, yards, window boxes, waste lands etc.

According to my experience, if one is willing, the art can be learnt easily but one can become proficient only by getting involved in the process and continuing it time and again!

The best part about Permaculture is we can grow our own vegetables, fruits, plants etc. at no massive costs but at a minimal or negligible cost!

I feel Permaculture is an art that everyone should learn and experience.

As city dwellers, we have overlooked the importance of Agriculture, plants, food grains and more so farmers. Farmers take pains to get the produce on time or in innumerable cases seek death! We think anything can be bought but the stark reality is that there is dearth of water, natural resources, fertile soil and in a decade or so we might have to beg for water / food grains.

With Population being on the rise and growing by the minute, with the natural resources depleting, we might have to count days for an apocalypse! I am sorry to term it that way but it is the truth staring at us and we have been overlooking this matter.

Let’s get responsible and start using resources in the best possible and minimal way. We are a speck in the universe and one of the species in this wide world. At the rate of our ignorance and greed, we are surely moving towards the inevitable!

Wake up! Let’s use our resources in a better way. Permaculture is an art anyone can learn. Don’t let your identities, likes and dislikes get in the way, for life is more than that!

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Isha Vidhya School: A ray of hope to the li’l angels!

“Teaching children is an accomplishment; getting children excited about learning is an achievement!”

It was a bright sunny day as we drove from Bangalore to Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. We were a group of 20 odd people visiting the Isha Vidhya School.

After about 2.5 hours, the bus took a turn from the highway and headed towards a dusty narrow road. The landscape was a treat to the eyes; green lush fields of paddy and mustard flowers paved the way. There were a few huts, small houses, a few distance away from each other. By and by we came across small villages and then moved further ahead into wilderness. The rolling hills, big trees were a constant companion along the journey.

After about 3-5 kms, the bus stopped in front of a huge building. And the board read…

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I was amazed to see such a big lovely building against the expanse of fields and hills. As we entered, the principal, staff and few students gave us a hearty welcome!

The entrance hall had a beautiful painting of Sadhguru and the Principal did share a few thoughts and vision on Isha Vidhya school, the unique methodology in the curriculum, the innumerable scholarships and of course the stories of bright young kids.

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We were ushered on a school tour guided by a few student volunteers. The excitement and the warmth they put forth while explaining to us about the school, classes and just about everything was truly heartening!

I can’t quite fathom how happy and gleeful these kids were in each of the classrooms we visited.

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The school follows their own methodology from Kindergarten to 4th Std. This is quite an endeavor as many post graduate students come and study regarding the unique methodology and practices taught in the school!

The school has a Math Lab (which obviously was something new to me) where the Math concepts are taught practically with designs and materials. They also have a Computer lab where students are taught on the basics of computers and to make photo stories etc. A student showed us a photo-story of his family and school and it was very creative!

We had a glimpse of their Art and Craft class, Library and also Science labs.

The teachers too seemed to be humble, enthusiastic about the children and very grateful for being a part of Isha Vidhya.

The corridors and classrooms were equally decorated with puzzles, stories, English quotes, alphabets, Tamil alphabets and certain unique concepts were put up on the wall which had me racking my brains for I was learning something new right there.

We later had a tour of the school kitchen where sumptuous, nutritious lunch is prepared for the children everyday. They use the resources in a sustainable manner and the vegetables, grains are grown in the farms nearby. We could not see the farms presently owing to water shortage. The lands are dry and it is a stark reality which needs to be addressed.

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On the whole, it was an overwhelming experience to see these children from poor families in the nearby villages, interact with us and talk about everything from science to computers to art to yoga to things galore!

What really struck me was – these children are the first ones to get educated in their family and they are so talented, humble and so driven to learn more. And they deserve to be given all the opportunities to realize their true potential!

This was quite a beautiful experience to see the children smile, greet you time and again and so eager to show you around on what they are learning.

There were kids everywhere bidding us goodbye as we left the school premises.

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Children bidding us goodbye!

Isha Vidhya is a non profit initiative by the Isha Foundation for educating and empowering the rural children in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. There are currently 9 schools in Tamil Nadu run by Isha Vidhya. Through the support of innumerable volunteers, donors, village communities the schools are creating a strong foundation for the children in education and making them employable on par with any student.

It is an amazing endeavor to be able to provide affordable and high quality education for our future citizens who will take on the world!

If you are willing to visit this school, do let me know or DM me.

Lastly, if you want to donate or raise funds for Isha Vidhya, please go through the below links.

  1. To raise funds or donate – https://letzchange.org/nonprofits/isha-education
  2. If you want to support Isha vidhya, you can be a part of TCS 10k run or Majja run. Link- https://registration.procamrunning.in/tcsworld10k/registration.php
shwethakrish, shoepenlens, isha
The team which visited the Isha Vidhya school

Am I lucky enough to travel?! Aren’t you?

‘Oh you are so lucky, you are traveling?’

‘I don’t know how you do it!”

‘You are living the life!’

‘Keep traveling while you are single! I don’t think I can’

‘You are young, travel more!’

‘You are freelancing, right? You have the time! I don’t have the time with work’

Hmmm, these are a few of the responses/ quip I get from strangers, acquaintances and friends!

These are quite amusing yet annoying at times because it is not big a deal!

So here goes, I am going to give away the other side of the story….. not to make it sound boring or scary but for the fact that traveling is possible by anyone and you need not be lucky but passionate!

  1. For starters, being single doesn’t mean I don’t have responsibilities, family, commitments and work. At the end of the day, I have to work around these for being able to travel. My toughest times have been at convincing my folks for my travel! 😉
  2. I am not rich that I can afford traveling now and then. I have to work, earn and save for being able to travel and explore the places galore. Trust me, my bank account balance hasn’t seen a decent amount in the past couple of years! I am not kidding! Security is far far away!
  3. Being a freelancer, doesn’t mean I am free! It means that I take up work according to my pace, situation and variety and the amount of work involved etc. And of course it is not a fad and is more than a 9-5 job; considering multiple commitments, clients, projects and being a one-woman army is quite tasking!
  4. Age doesn’t have to do anything with travel! If you are interested and want to really explore a place, just get out of your comfort zone- you will surely be able to do it! Well I have seen elderly people from across the globe take to traveling from all walks of life. The smile and gratitude on their face, inspires me to keep traveling  forever- like even when I am way tooooo old!
  5. Frankly, I am not lucky. I am grateful for the things I have and work towards making the best of what I can do and go traveling- for it is my passion! If you are passionate about traveling and exploring the unknown- I am sure, you already know- Luck doesn’t have anything to do with it!

So,  I haven’t written the above because I found the statements/responses offensive but for the fact that ‘I am not lucky’ but I do work towards getting what I want.

I am blessed and grateful to make the best of what I have with utmost passion and reverence!

Or in other words, we are all lucky that we are in this beautiful world! What you make of it or how you explore all depends on what you really want!

Well, next time you think about wanting to travel, think of how passionate and focused are you for wanting to do it(nah nothing about luck) and just get on with it!

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