SS, a friend and the only one who has visited my farm thrice in two weeks is ever eager to spoil his weekend moving naked feet (“Sir, I love it.. reminds me of my days in my father’s village we visited during vacations,” he tells me) and helping me in cleaning the vegetation which has come up, thanks to the three-month-long rains. In fact, his second visit was with his 10-year-old daughter, whom he homeschools.
There are many who each time I happen to talk to them or appear on my Google chat say that they so dearly want to be on my farm but haven’t been able to. Because who would want to waste a Sunday travelling 40kms from home, sharing a noisy, rickety ST bus and dirtying one’s hands working in a farm.
I still not dare to move naked feet for fear of either attracting a thorn or being bitten by insects. But SS enjoys stepping out from his shoes and moving naked feet as Mangal, my caretaker, does.
‘I feel the earth pulling at my feet,” he says.
Does the earth pull at your feet if you walk bare feet? May be it does. Wanting to tell that YOU belong to earth. So what if you have severed your link and almost forgotten the last time you walked bare foot on earth. Don’t feel the kinship you have with earth. After all you belong to earth and one day will return to it. Living in cities we no more consider that we are inalienable part what is known as web of life. Walking on tiled floors and riding on concrete roads our feet have lost the feel of soil, grass underfoot. As if we were born with shoes on.
Because you have lost the feel of earth underfoot you are not affected when branches are chopped, when a tree is felled or when a road is laid on earth’s breast.
This Sunday when I visit my farm I’m going to try walking without my sandals though knowing well that soles of my foot have lately become very sensitive to hard surface and I move around in shoes with cushion soles. Moreover I have to muster courage for I still remember Mangal being bitten by a scorpion last August and how he writhed in pain.
But then some joys do come associated with pain. That’s life.