I remember the day, it was sometime in the first week of March 2008 when a friend took me to see the farm plot which I planned to buy. It was virgin plot where wild plants and trees were growing in abundance. In fact, these were growing since ages because it had not been tilled. I was taken in by it—a huge tract of land. Having spent my life in a city the plot looked huge though it was just an acre. The plot was beside a running stream. Quiet all around that we could hear the river moving towards south. I was told it’s a perennial stream.
I had never thought that one day I would own a piece of land and grow my choice of fruits and vegetables. And I realized ‘becoming a landowner’ was soon to be a possibility for within a couple of days I made the deal and I became ‘zamindar’. Till recently a kulak and now a petit bourgeois.
Having become a landowner I employed a couple of men to clean the plot of unnecessary vegetation. Only four trees were left while the rest chopped. I hired an earthmover for a day and shifted the soil.too That’s when I encountered something which I had not realized earlier. The plot was littered with stones and boulders. My heart sank at the sight.
As July approached and the sky witnessed the appearance of clouds I made a list of plants which I wanted to keep company with when I moved in with my bungalow standing on the edge! As the first showers of rain wet my plot I planted around 100 saplings of fruit trees.
It has been the second year of my plants. While the plants have taken roots I can see the stones staring at my where ever I kept my foot. I felt disheartened because I have to remove every piece of stone to make my plot worthy of growing vegetables, flowers etc.
Meanwhile I egged Mangal, my caretaker, to pick up stones from all over and collect them. He collected so many that it would fill a wagon and still there were much left.
I made inquiries as what would it cost to clean my plot of stones and received several estimates which began at Rs 45,000. “We will have 10 people working for 20 days. Each hand will cost Rs 200 each,” said one.
Two days latter and sensing my disinterest in engaging him the man was willing to do it for Rs 20,000!
That’s when I turned to Jitendra—a farmer by birth, a yoga teacher by choice and now an entrepreneur—for advice.
“Let the stones remain. The more you remove more will be left,” he said.
“You’re not going to grow paddy or wheat. Just vegetables. Don’t people do farming in rocky conditions,” he reminded me.
That’s when I decided not to alter the natural characteristic of my plot and let it be what it is. From now I have decided not to alter but to follow.