Last Sunday I was cheated from visiting my farm as the Central Railways had announced a megablock—a situation which lasts around four to six hours when the local trains stop plying from x station to y station leading to crowding of the stations. This time it was between Kalyan and Badplaur. There were no notice put on the board at Thane station and the announcements crackled on the public address system only after I had bought the tickets. I returned home handing the ticket to a commuter who was travelling towards Kalyan. In fact, I had to convince him that the ticket was valid and add that I had spoken to the station master about it. He took the ticket but looked unconvinced. I left him saying, “You can throw the ticket if you want to.”
Yesterday I took an earlier train than the regular one I usually board, as I feared the Thane Monsoon Marathon, an annual event, might jeopardize my plan. I was visiting my farm, located in Chon village in Badlpaur, after a gap of nearly two months. For me visiting my farm is a great stress. Away from the urban hustle and bustle, hearing the music of the flowing river and talking to the plants. Since my last visit Nature had brought in lot of change. Most importantly the monsoon had arrived and all along the way riding the autorickshaw I spotted clouds resembling like a stream of smoke moving close to the hills on the horizon, the Ulhas river no more a tiny rivulet as in May and damp and bald patches of boulders sitting like naughty kids on carpets of green.
Mangal, my caretaker had worked hard in my absence. And it showed. Planted the bougainvilleas alongside the fence, cleaned a lengthy stretch where I came across tiny brinjal plants “It will take another two months for them to fruit,” he told me. Towards the riverside, he proudly showed me three drumstick stumps sporting young leaves. “I got them from my brother,” he said.
He was not happy with the okra plants as they had still not yielded fruit though 3 ft. tall. I didn’t tell him that I suspected it was due to the seeds, which I had picked up from Ratanshi. This is the third time I have had bad experience with their seeds. I’m hoping the kakri, padwal and other vegetables to fruit soon.
Last July I had planted some 100 saplings of mango, coconut, cashew, amla, guava, chikoo, jackfruit, anjeer, lichi, lemon and others. But for three all have survived. I’m looking forward to plant sitaphal, date palm etc.