Sunday, September 13, 2015

Long gap & back!

It’s been quite a while I documented my thoughts. When a friend asked why there’s a gap I casually said my computer was broken but after that when I looked at my last post it’s over 1.75 years!! definitely computer wasn’t broken for so long! It’s not that there was nothing to write, but last 1.75 years have been so hectic, I didn’t realize how quick these months moved!

First there was Vyshnavi II coming back. That’s just after my last post in Jan 2014, then few rotten deals, then some maturity to stick on to Swathi and develop instead of standing on 2 boats at the same time! Though it was a costly affair we have left that behind us and focused all our energy in Swathi!

As we have learnt a great deal in this period, Swathi also has grown and changed a lot. Added many more plants, few of them started feeding us, few have surprised us with their survival capacity, and while others have taught us they are better off without us! Field crops being tried for the first time! lots of physical work has gone in along with planning for long term requirements.

Apart from the development of Swathi and learning stuff, 2014/2015 has been a year of reunions! Met some of my ‘old’ school friends after very many years! Also made some new friends on FB which are surprisingly forging ahead strongly unlike most FB ‘friends’(?) Lots of farmer friends, lots of new farm enthusiasts, many more FB farmers, who even though don’t’ grow much or hesitant to jump into water, feed us through good information about farming, thus helping us cut down our time of I Net.

Lots of new ideas have been looked into on marketing our produce, generating continuous income, conserving the ever depleting resources, mechanization etc.

While that’s been pretty much what was happening around Swathi, my farmer friends were staring at drought back in 2014! Though we lost quite a bit of rain, the coastal areas had enough rain to provide us with water and power. But the situation this year has been so grim that though we got some water from "Lakshmana Thirtha" river, we are short by good 40-60% average rainfall. Power situation is very very poor and seeing this summer through, looks a daunting task!

Looking at the loss of crops around Swathi, it’s a tough to ignore the warning signs all around farming sector. Falling prices, increasing growing cost, labor issues as ever, power issues, pest attacks, untimely rains, changing weather schedules. But still it’s heartening to see the farmers going out every day and trying to grow their food, some cash crop, and some fodder year on year!

While the so called ‘Entrepreneurs’ close their shop after ‘assessing’ the business after few years, farmers go out and try to revive the business of feeding others without hesitation. With each passing year, it’s been clear that the only way we could survive in farming is to be hands on, reducing labor dependency, avoiding crops which consume more resources, etc. I know it’s easier said than done as a farmer told in a seminar “I can grow my own food and live happily, but how do I get my son a motor bike”? Government as always want to help the backbone of the country and has announced drought relief. In my own taluk itself we have close to 200000 acres affected by drought. Our DC has asked for a whopping 55 crore for this.Comes close to 2750/ per acre! How a farmer with rain fed land would survive with this much support I am not sure.

Most farmer suicides have been reported from Mysore district, most of the farmers who couldn’t get the timely support from the government, society have taken the most horrific path to reduce the burden. Yes there’s lot of politics involved in this. Some of the loan amounts quoted by our news savvy media has been outrageous and makes one think it’s a made up story! But believe me the ground reality is very similar. I have seen how a crop loss would affect a farmer family, how a marriage or a health issue force them to sell part of their land, how for even a packet of cotton seeds they have to take loans from loan sharks etc. Farmer’s situation is like this Kagga!

ಹಾಳು ಹಾಳೆಲ್ಲ ಬಾಳೆನ್ನುತಿರ್ದೊಡೆಯುಮದ-  ।
ರೂಳಿಗವ ತಪ್ಪಿಸುವ ಜಾಣನೆಲ್ಲಿಹನು? ॥
ಊಳಿಗವೊ ಕಾಳಗವೊ ಕೂಳ್ಕರೆಯೊ ಗೋಳ್ಕರೆಯೊ ।
ಬಾಳು ಬಾಳದೆ ಬಿಡದು – ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ॥ ೨೪೯ ॥
 “One may say – all life is a waste, futile. But having said so, is there any one smart enough to free himself from its bondage? Misery or battle, happiness or sadness – one has to live his life. Life does not give you a choice not to.” – Mankutimma

And the system does this to farmers! By giving them subsidies, yield traps, paid news about success stories of farmers and loans!

ಬನ್ನಿರಾಡುವ ಕಣ್ಣ ಮುಚ್ಚಾಲೆಯಾಟವನು ।
ಎನ್ನನರಸಿರಿ ಬನ್ನಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿರ ಬೇಗ ॥
ಬನ್ನಿರಾಟವ ಬೇಡವೆಂಬರನು ನಾಂ ಬಿಡೆನು ।
ಎನ್ನುವಜ್ಜಿಯೊ ಬೊಮ್ಮ – ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ॥ ೮೨ ॥
O! Mankutimma, an old lady calls all the kids to play hide-and-seek. She taunts all of them to find her. She will not accept if any one declines to play the game. The creator is like her engaging all of us in this grand game of hide-and-seek called life