Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Monday, August 07, 2017

The west Bengal trip- Shantiniketan and more..

The West Bengal tour started with Desi- the cotton story workshop in kolkata followed by Tula exhibition..as always Kolkata interactions throws many interesting characters..so many questions, ideas and ideals..this time too it was full of that..so many exchanges around khadi and muslin and weaving..
Thanks to MGGSS- arup & rubi combo for a very productive and useful time..

Then we went to the weavers place in Burdhman about which we have seen earlier..so we go on to new ones..
next was to shantiniketan..so many attractions there..
first and foremost is the ToTos- the battery run small autos that take people and go all over shantiniketan..




its such a quaint place with so much greenery and am told when rabindranath tagore came in, it was a barren land..like auroville it was turned in to a sanctuary in a few years with a few individual's brain and bran..each building is a beauty..RT is demi god here.. people even forget to breathe when they start talking about him and its all anecdotes every where..and while u r in the museum, there is so much oof’s and haa’s bcos people are over awed at seeing his chair or pipe or glasses or stick or some such thing..oh man, Bengalis and Robindranaath..




Arup our dear friend himself is full of RT stories and so much adoration..
RT himself has tried so much out there.be it the different mud houses or variety of trees or path ways or gardens or the institute itself..the man used to live at diff buildings each time and has tried so many things and like Gandhi has improved up on the construction each time..



 

what a place shantiniketan is..in its full glory days it wud have been such a sight..so many art and craft, students, books, library, hostel…but many say its not the same any more..sadly, like most gandhian institutes this also has gone the mainstream way:-(

Arup is a man with so much knowledge of the terrain and interior Bengal..each time he takes us anywhere there will be so much..food will always be in the most interesting of places.. here too he takes us to a nearby tribal village and a traditional food that one can never stop gaping and gulping..wow..lipsmacking tasty traditional food..served in non-plastic neat ecofriendly cutleries..



and then we are taken to the next village where this Gentleman works on wood..what a work..see some samples here.. on fantastic old wood..mostly recycled..and what all he makes..


We are then taken to a beauty of organic farm..one of the first organic farms in this side.. that of BirendraKumar roy! This 4 acre farm has been organic since 18 years ..Biru da is a great man with a big history..and such a self reliant man with so many sustainable practices..his market?  at his gate..and gate alone..people come from all over and buy.. infact most of it is pre booked..even tribals living here buy from him! he converts most of his products..to squashes, juices, pickles..and has small machines to aid him..simple mostly non-energy dependent machines..he hardly goes out of his farm..so much diverse crops..so many fruit trees. 22 varieties of mango, roseberry, falsa, wood apple & more..What a diversity..all vegetables for the house is grown out there..turmeric too!
cows, the native ones..there is a beautiful farm pond with fishes..surrounded by so much greenery..its all there, thriving..when am overawed and mention about the greenery and diversity he mutters ‘its only the macro and micro climate environment that helps an organic farmer..’
what a man.. the only thing he cant do is travel around, rather go out even.. as they both are busy with one or other activity in the farm..










And his wife is a great lady who was well read has been very much a part of the whole farm activity..she also works with local weavers near by And gets fabric from them and embellishes them and creates market for them..thus better some of the local livelihood..no end to what all one can keep adding if u have the right intent!
And its dark..and we think its all over.. what more one can see or get as the day has come to an end..or so we thought..but this man arup is full of surprises and stuff..and he quietly takes us to an outstanding place in a near by village for staying..
Jayasree’s farm..oh man..what a lady she is..a typical urbanite till recently and worked in travel agency who got bored and burnt out – bored of chasing money..so shifts over to this village and starts farming..yes organically and runs a small beautiful very tastfully done home stay..and food- out of the world..and u think iam deprived bcos I travel so much..infact I always end up adding weight bcos of the sweet hospitality in all these organic places and the amazing persons and the sort of good safe food one is offered..this one rates so high up..

Right from unbelievable welcome drink to herbal tea to snacks to meals..
and Jayasrees experiments, explorations in to farming is such a great story..
Her experiments amazes..what all she tries..be it the crops or the trees or the diversity she has brought in such a short time..
what all she tries..what all she experiments..what all she accomplishes..
her Lorena stove - 3 base mud stove is a beauty..





she has quails (and ducks too I think) which are housed in a caged shelter right above her pond..the base of this is a sieve metal sheet meshed thru which the excreta of the birds fall in to the pond..and in the pond her fish has free food (from this!)..the pond itself is her rain water storage..
Her house, dogs kennel are all wonderful imaginative structures..








She started building a big gallery and see how she starts of..with some cute plates before she raises the wooden columns from the ground to save the wodden structure from the termites which are hungry for anything that they can gobble up..


She has a small canal that is flowing in her land, wide enough that doesn’t allow humans o cross easily..so when she approached architects and engineers they told so many ways to build bridge but all around 10lakhs and above..and our lady is not ready for expensive solutions..she doesn’t have that kind of money anyways..necessity is the mother of inventions, they say..here is the proof.she builds one with her own ideas and a beautiful bridge stays there serving the purpose so well..

 
Jayasree narrated me lots of stories from her corporate days that involved travel..the best was a potato story..(that will be the next post)..she keeps saying money is asuch a menace..it is the source of most problems..people get lost in to chasing that..now am happy am not doing that!
if u go to West Bengal and shantiniketan side, if u don’t visit her, the loss is yours..if u believe in one life time, just go there..enjoy, learn and share..jayasree is such a wonderful soul with so much insights and idea(l)s..