Visit to an organic farm

(A few days ago, I went to the yearly function of a large organic farm near Bangalore. The morning pre-lunch session had many interesting talks about diet, lifestyle, sustainability etc. and it was all very intense and contemplative. At the end, the audience was invited to comment or ask questions and many people spoke up. I missed the opportunity to speak and this post is what I would have said if I had taken the mike that was being passed around.)

First of all I feel very blessed to be sitting here under the trees in the peace that envelops this land. The way you transformed this barren land into this green, natural, tree-filled forest is nothing short of a miracle. All my prayers and wishes are with the team working here. May it continue to be a shining beacon!

My wife and I homeschooled our three children, we lived for some years in a semi-rural area in Kerala, we don’t have any vehicle of our own and in many such ways we also walk our talk of trying to live a sustainable life. I bring this up to establish that the next three paras are not meant to be criticism but friendly advice that you may find useful.

The late Ravindra Sharmaji of Kalashram used to say – Paap ka ghada hai, usse bharne do – his view being that once the paap ka ghada was full it would break and the human race could then heave a sigh of relief and start all over again. You and I have to realize that our sustainable lifestyle has no effect in the larger scheme of things and when we evangelize it in our circles or with strangers, we are not just being ineffective but also rather boring (my father’s eyes would start closing when I used to talk passionately about sustainability related topics).

Another metaphor that I like is that we inhabit a collapsing building. It is falling apart all around us and there is nothing we can do to stop it. It is of course good to carry steel tumblers everywhere and not use paper cups or plastic straws (or, like me, travel in 3-tier sleeper compartments even when it is very very uncomfortable) but we should not fall into the trap of thinking that this is going to ‘save’ the world or is going to inspire other people to imitate our strange ways. In that respect, almost everyone is much smarter than us. 🙂

In conclusion I want to say that when we – (a) lighten up about our mission of changing the world and (b) see that, like the song says, ‘anand srot beha raha par tu udaas hai, ascharya hai jal mein rehake bhi machli ko pyaas hai’ – then we may find that everything is all right with the world and it is we who were holding the wrong end of the stick. My intention is to make you smile, but if you find yourself becoming angry, please read the first paragraph above again and delete paras 2, 3, 4 and 5 from your random access memory.

With much love and respect to all of you, Arun.

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