Scholarship winner 2013
I was born and raised in the periphery of a city six hours from Mumbai called Aurangabad. As a child I often wondered what was happening to the surrounding land. The nearby fields, where I used to run around and climb trees, were slowly disappearing and being replaced by housing and industrial complexes. Later when my parents moved into the city I got lost in my studies and went to college to study statistics. After that I got an opportunity to experience life, living and working in a village in Rajasthan, India and Wales, UK through The Global Exchange Program. Later, as a field researcher, I was involved in various projects across the country and I was fascinated by the simple lifestyle of the people in the villages. I envied those communities for the connection they shared with nature.
To connect with nature myself I decided to quit my job and volunteer, learn and teach in a fabulous school called Ashram Pariyavaran Vidyalaya in the Himalayas with meditation, mindfulness and experiential learning as my tools. Anand Dwivedi, a remarkably warm person was spearheading the project. The space and freedom there were terrific, but soon I set out again to try and build a relationship with today’s world, which follows the religion of economics and money. I moved to Delhi and after a few months of working as a program researcher I was completely worn out. This time when I resigned I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I went back to my parents’ house for a few months and decided to just travel around the South and see if there were any opportunities for me to truly commit to something and give it my best.
One day I got into a shared taxi and met Stephanie Garvin, an amazing person and Permaculture teacher. Within two minutes I knew that I was going to take a three-month long Permaculture design course she was offering. The course was happening in Sadhana forest which is a unique community in Auroville attracting many people from around the world and helping them to reconnect with nature and community living through the reforestation project. The course changed my life in many ways. After the course I went to learn and volunteer on various farms in Nepal working with Permaculture leaders like Govinda Sharma and Surya Adhikari. In Thailand I interned for two months in a farm called Rak Tamachat, where I got the opportunity to work with mud buildings and be an animator for the Permaculture design course being conducted there. In the last few days of my time in Thailand I also volunteered in farms like the Wilderness Lodge and Willow’s Land near Pai.
Now I am living in a land in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil nadu which is a space for art, meditative being and farming initiated by the artist Gayatri Gamuz and her partner Ananda Surya who is a writer and poet. Presently I am engaged in the Permaculture design of the place with Ananda and also in practical tasks like the creation of vegetable gardens, composting etc., putting into action everything I had learnt so far.
There is a lot that I need to learn in terms of skills as I am very new to this field, and I am looking forward to taking the Permaculture Tools course.